Please show at the German Travellers' pub-Site -- Knut 18.104.22.168 04:37, 8 June 2012 (EDT).
Regarding , while I understand why you are removing discussions, the existing site policies are strongly aligned towards preventing any appearance of censorship - see Wikitravel:Using talk pages (talk page conversations are not deleted) - and most users of this site will have very strong opinions on the matter and see attempts to make exceptions to site policy as an abuse of power. Many of us felt it was inappropriate to use Wikitravel as a platform for discussions of forking when the Wikivoyage fork happened, and many will also feel it's inappropriate to use Wikitravel as a platform for a discussion of a fork now, but in both cases I think attempts to censor those discussions are greater wrongs and would ask that you restore the discussions you have deleted, perhaps adding a note that you feel that this is not the proper venue for such discussion to occur. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:38, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
Thank you, Ryan, that is a very reasonable proposition. However, as I have noted at Peter's Talk page, the discussion itself, in this particular case, serves the same destructive purpose to the community, as would touting a fork. You cannot discuss touting a fork without bringing attention to it, which is the point in the first place. Those who are attempting to discuss this are actively seeking to subvert the very site that allows them the platform upon which to discuss it. Perhaps there is no written policy that says "don't try to use Wikitravel to destroy Wikitravel," but that is only because it is self-evident.
In the case of Wikivoyage, absolutely that should not have been discussed here either. Two wrongs do not make a right, and there is no reason a prior grievous error should be used to justify another. I am acting in the best interest of this project, and I stand behind this action. If anyone has a resoned argument to refute that, fine. But we are not going to shoot ourselves in the face simply because explicit policy does not exist to tell us that would be a bad idea.--IBobi 17:49, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
If you want to remove the links to the WM travel site discussion, I could agree to that. But outright censorship of others comments (like mine regarding how this should be discussed elsewhere not here!), is not just a real violation of our project's policies, it is counterproductive. I know well enough from experience that IB is best at alienating the communities whose sites they buy, rather than encouraging their growth. But really, continued edit warring, censorship, and other abuse is not the best way to present your argument that editors should stay here, if another fork emerges. Which is really what you should be doing, and doing fast.
I believe it is within my rights as a member of this community to edit or revert edits as I see fit, is it not? Can you see that the absence of a policy forbidding fork discussion is detrimental to this site? So be it: let's write a policy. Here's my draft:
Discussions of forking the content of this Project are inappropriate and detrimental to Wikitravel. Anyone wishing to participate in such discussions is of course welcome to do so offline; but Wikitravel is under no obligation to provide a forum for self-destructive behavior.
Something like that? Meantime, since the discussion at hand deals directly with the policy above, I move that it be tabled until such time as the passage or defeat of such policy is decided.--IBobi 18:10, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
(edit conflicted) IBobi - I won't pursue this issue further, but please understand that deleting a good faith discussion, rather than responding and providing counter-arguments, is something that will be extremely poorly received within any wiki community. Again, using the example of Wikivoyage, using Wikitravel as a platform for discussing that fork was in poor taste, but attempts to censor those discussions would have been far worse than simply politely asking the individuals involved to raise their concerns in a more appropriate venue. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:13, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
"I believe it is within my rights as a member of this community to edit or revert edits as I see fit, is it not?". It is not. Reverting edits is not done as people see fit, it is done to preserve the integrity of our policies and rules. You are violating those rules, and Wikitravel:Edit war, which I suppose you did not read, directly responds to your current behavior. You are also reinforcing long-standing beliefs that Internet Brands will continue to disrespect the social norms and rules of the communities off which it makes its money.
Also, I think I told you privately at one point that I'm not likely to give you too much help, largely because I have found your comments on Shared arrogant, ignorant, and off-putting. In that same discussion I suggested you should heed Ryan's advice, as it is and will be spot-on, and more polite than my own. You have drawn way more attention to this fork through repeateddefiance of policy. --PeterTalk 18:22, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
You assume incorrectly, Peter. I've read all policies concerning this site and simply disagree with you on this. As I've stated, had those comments been in good faith, I'd have left them be. They were not. I'd like it if you could, for the moment, leave off the repetition of stating yet again how much you dislike this site's host and myself, and focus constructively on the policy points I've made.
I propose as a mid-term solution: that while we discuss an "anti-fork discussion" policy, we reinstate the existing discussion, minus links to or mentions of an alternate site for such a fork (in this case MWF)? Will that serve the purpose you're after, Ryan & Peter?--IBobi 18:40, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
Updating site policies to prevent discussion of forks would probably be most appropriate if proposed at either Wikitravel talk:How to handle unwanted edits or Wikitravel talk:Using talk pages. As to whether restoring a discussion would "serve the purpose you're after", my purpose was simply to be consistent with the principles this site was founded on - open discussion and collaborative effort based on an agreed upon set of guidelines - and I felt it was important to point out that deletion of a good faith discussion, even one that may not be appropriate, was a very serious breach of wiki protocol. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:53, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
I might be amenable to a proposed policy to avoid discussion of forks in Wikitravel's public spaces. I would not, and I assume others would not, be amenable to your deleting other people's comments until said policy was agreed upon. Per Wikitravel:Consensus, which, if you have not read, you clearly have either not understood or simply disregarded in your actions and behavior, mandates that you would need others to agree with you before you take such inappropriate and impermissible action. --PeterTalk 19:01, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
Also, I've tried to make it clear that I think one could argue that the Wikitravel:External links policy would not allow links in the pub to a different travel wiki. You have been deleting my comments, though, so that may have been lost. So yes, I think it would be acceptable to restore all comments as made, minus the links. Scrubbing mentions of the Wikimedia Foundation would not be appropriate, because we do not edit others' words on this site, to avoid people trying to obscure and change other peoples' intended meanings. --PeterTalk 19:06, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
From your points of view, what would constitute a comment NOT made "in good faith" in this case? What purpose, other than an attempt to subvert Wikitravel by fracturing its community -- decidedly not "in good faith" -- does a fork discussion serve? This is way beyond "not in good taste," which basically is meaningless if it is not grounded in policy. There may be members of this community who also have interests outside of this community; but when those interest clearly and directly conflict with the good of this community, there needs to be a WT way of dealing with that, other than simply looking the other way and calling them "distasteful."--IBobi 19:16, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
I think that discussion is outside the scope of a user talk page discussion and should probably be posted in a place where others can contribute. I'd suggest reposting in Wikitravel talk:How to handle unwanted edits. -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:25, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
[edit conflict] I'm happy to explain this via open discussion, but I'm not sure that's what you seem to want...
My comments, which you removed, were to the point of avoiding using Wikitravel's public spaces as a platform to advertise other websites, especially those that could be viewed (wrongly) as competition. I suggested more appropriate venues. I can't fathom how you would think that is somehow in bad faith. Unlike your transparently interested removal of others' comments.
I can understand your reaction to Jani's post, and I can even understand how, from the perspective of an interested party employed by Internet Brands, it might seem to be not in good faith. But Jani was trying to alert the Wikitravel community—a community which he helped build—that every last admin active on this site has stated that they are going to fork, if the project does get started. While you have dismissed my comments as chicken little saying the "sky is falling," this is a fact. That is something rather of interest to this community, no? If members of this community, which includes even those who are here because they are paid to be here, want to join a discussion to express their disapproval of the proposed Wikimedia project, they should have a chance to do so.
In my view, which I have stated many times, is that IB has grossly mismanaged the Wikitravel website and its community. This is what has been destructive to our community, nothing else. Forking seems to me the best possible thing that could happen to our community, and for crowd-sourced travel writing in general. I have already stated so on Shared and in private communication with you. I even think it might be good for the quality of the IB-owned Wikitravel! Maybe it will force IB to wake up and take stewardship of this site and its community seriously. Make a case for why people should stay in words and deeds. Actually fix the bugs, improve site performance, take feature development seriously, govern more openly, respect the wishes and polices of the community. This would be great. I have no way to know whether the WMF proposal has been the spur behind increased tech support from IB, or the lack of progress on the booking tool that none of us want. But I do believe and say, in good faith, that the proposed fork will be good for the Wikitravel community, and that it has already brought semi-retired editors and admins who had lost interest, as the site stagnated, back to writing, editing, patrolling, and so on. --PeterTalk 19:36, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
It was not your comments I was per se disagreeing with, Peter; it was Jani's post. It does not. Belong. On Wikitravel. Your post in reply to his became moot, once his was removed (just as your reply to me is now moot, since the original post has been restored -- you should consider removing it). If we need a policy to remove fork discussions, and prevent more of the same from occurring in the future, we'll do that. For now, as both you and Ryan have objected, I have removed the links pending our policy draft.
The "Wikitravel community" is not the same as "the Wikitravel admins," which you mistake as being equal. In fact, the community at large positively dwarfs the small number of hard-working admins that patrol and curate the site out of the goodness of their hearts and desire to see the project flourish. There are *seven million* human beings every month who use this site. The majority of them have never been here before. THAT is the community; that is the basis of "the traveler comes first." Perhaps admins say they support a fork; maybe that fork will happen; maybe it'll even be supported by the WMF, despite what a terrible precedent that sets; does that mean it should be discussed here? To what end? This is not a forum for discussing how to dismantle this project, nor will it become one. If you wish to discuss a fork and its proposed benefits to the 40 admins who support it, in defiance of the 7 million monthly travelers who come here for the best content, by all means, talk about it. Not here. "We talked about Wikivoyage before" is not a rationale for repeating the same mistake again.
As for "fix the bugs, improve site performance, take feature development seriously, govern more openly, respect the wishes and polices of the community," if you want to go back a year, two years, five years, sure. But you and I both know that over the past year plus, everything has changed for the better. And to state that the idea of the WMF supporting a fork has spurred anything is ludicrous; the timing refutes that notion, since the start of the upgrade alone predates the involvement of WMF by at least 3 months. With all due respect, it's disingenuous to keep repeating things that occurred in the past as though they were still happening. You can see on a daily basis how much work is going into this project, very much including this long discussion between us on the fork issue today.--IBobi 20:35, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
An additional note - the principle of discouraging, but not censoring, potentially disruptive discussions is a longstanding one. For example, search for "fork" on Wikitravel talk:Internet Brands, and see the various FAQs linked from User:Hansm as well as his contributions elsewhere on the site, all of which go way beyond a brief blurb in the Pub. Those still editing on Wikitravel today disagreed with Hans, and most of us thought it was highly inappropriate of him to use Wikitravel to advocate for a fork, but so long as his discussions consisted of questioning site policy or summarizing his reasoning, he was given the right to express an opinion. -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:56, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
Without the 40 admins, you won't have the best content to attract millions of visitors each month, and without attracting a completely new community of admins -- completely impossible at your current level of support -- you won't even be able to keep the content you have clean and organized. I find it completely ridiculous to claim that we 40 or so admin are "in defiance of a 7-million-strong community". That is ludicrous. We are the ones who care most about this place, and if you can't keep us happy, how are you going to keep happy all those supposedly-millions-of casual users who don't even care as much as we do? (Granted, you'll be able to keep the spiders and spambots very happy.) Realistically, those 7 million hits will follow the content and the 40 admins who keep it clean right off into the sunset. Instead of repeating your claim that Wikitravel has a vibrant community without us, you need to wake up and realize that IB needs a massive fundamental change in the way they deal with this site-- needed it years earlier in fact, and much more thorough a change than simply updating MediaWiki for once.texugo 21:10, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
Bottom line, I think, is that you still don't trust the only few dozen people who actually do follow every in and out of this site, and you still don't believe us when we tell you that IB's level of support is far, far lower than what is actually needed to keep a healthy, productive, and open wiki running.texugo 21:14, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
Who ever claimed that Wikitravel has a vibrant community without its admins? I claimed the exact opposite: that everyone iss needed here to keep WT awesome. That's the whole, entire point of my objection to this fork discussion, do you not get it? I'm not sure you've been paying attention to the site over the last year, but if you have requests for what you want done, you ought to voice them; they've been getting addressed at breakneck pace for everyone who speaks up :) --IBobi 21:24, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
The fact that you do not know whether I have been here all year making requests speaks volumes.texugo 21:30, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
Texugo, your input, like that of all the other admins, has been invaluable in testing the new 1.17 upgrade. But to point to two bugs you reported a week ago -- both of which have been responded to and are either fixed or in-progress -- and say you've been ignored all year making tech requests? That's just unfair. All I'm asking is that we be given credit for the work we've been doing as the hosts of this site, instead of dwelling on years ago when tech requests were not being addressed in a timely manner. Otherwise, why are we talking? Thanks for your remarks.--IBobi 13:22, 3 July 2012 (EDT)
To my knowledge, none of the 3 bugs I just mentioned have been fixed or even acknowledged with a response from IB (Later edit:To be fair, I have just discovered that instructions to resolve one of these issues was indeed given, not on the tech request page I made for it, but on another talk page where someone else brought up a related problem on another language version), but that is beside the point, which is that even the somewhat increased involvement of IB of late has been of nowhere near sufficient volume or promptness, and I have no reason to believe that they won't return to total neglect once they fix the upgrade bugs enough to meet their monetization goal of getting their dreaded booking bar running. I am not disparaging the job you have done, which has certainly been better than your predecessors, but you are still just a liaison between us and the techs and have the unenviable role of breaking bad tidings to the community when IB ham-fistedly goes against the community's wishes. If IB got a couple of people in here who actually enjoyed doing what we do, who contributed, edited, patrolled, joined in policy discussions, participated in community decision-making in a true Wiki spirit, and really dug into the nitty-gritty of it all along with the rest of us, maybe IB might have a better understanding of the way this community works, and the community would undoubtedly have more respect for IB appearing to actually care about anything besides dollar signs.texugo 13:56, 3 July 2012 (EDT)
I am grateful to IB for all his hard work and partisan support, but I do side with Ryan and Peter's opinions when it comes to censorship.
You do need to keep us `janitors' ( ) on board... W. Frank 17:00, 19 August 2012 (EDT)
You are a spammer
Hi! Your account is effected by the spambot issue . I assume good faith that you are not teaming up with the bots. When do you think you solve this issue? Jc8136 09:34, 24 July 2012 (EDT)
The MW 1.17.2 patch was deployed early this morning Pacific time. Please let me know as soon as possible if it has not addressed the spambot issue and the deletion problem.--IBobitalkemail 13:15, 24 July 2012 (EDT)
Paul, I see that you blocked several other users for leaving talk page messages that you didn't like. That is a clear violation of Wikitravel:How to handle unwanted edits, and an abuse of your sysop rights. I have de-sysopped you for the time being, and given you a 2 hour cooling off period, after which you can make your case regarding restoring your sysop rights. --PeterTalk 21:21, 20 August 2012 (EDT)
I very much agree with Peter's action here, and I imagine I am not alone in that. Pashley 21:46, 20 August 2012 (EDT)
Peter has announced on his page that he has resigned from Wikitravel. Why he is still making changes is a bit of a mystery. The small handful of users who were blocked, were blocked temporarily because they were misusing other users' Talk pages for non-Wikitravel purposes. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask. Thank you,--IBobitalkemail 22:07, 20 August 2012 (EDT)
=The Wikitravel community never gave you the right to police Wikitravel as an admin. It is one you assumed for yourself by right as representative of IB. That goes directly against IB's promise not to interfere with the content and community of Wikitravel. If IB is altering the deal, you might as well come out and say so. LtPowers 22:12, 20 August 2012 (EDT)
Why did you revoke the bureaucrat user right from almost every bureaucrat? (Including Evan, the founder of Wikitravel) –sumone10154 23:34, 20 August 2012 (EDT)
Paul, (iBobi), your approach in blocking my editing here is inappropriate, and quite offensive. The inappropriateness of your behaviour is compounded by your not even bothering to leave a note of explanation on my talk page. Normally, in the case of genuine spam or similar inappropriate behaviour the miscreant is a least cautioned and the matter of concern is outlined, along with an appropriate link or links provided to a suitable WT article outlining the transgression and defining the standard applicable WT guideline or policy seen to be in breach.
You have either just not bothered to do so which casts a rather grim shadow over your perceived role here as a WT Administrator, or possibly you are uncertain of exactly how my recent edits are in breach. If that is the case your actions are hightly inappropriate and you should perhaps consider surrendering your Administrator privileges on the project forthwith.
You have been cautioned by another project Administrator, I note that is a courtesy I was not provided with when you applied the Ban to my further editing.
If I attempt to make an edit on the site, even on my own Talk page I am presented with the following message:
You do not have permission to edit this page, for the following reason:
Your IP address has been automatically blocked because it was used by another user, who was blocked by IBobi. The reason given is this:
Autoblocked because your IP address has been recently used by "Felix505".
The reason given for Felix505's block is: "Spam solicitations on WT members' talk pages"
Start of block: 01:02, 21 August 2012
Expiry of block: 01:02, 22 August 2012
"Spam solicitations on WT members' talk pages" is defined exactly where on the WT site?
I do not see it defined here Last_resorts.
To save any need to navigate away to look at the details I will just copy-paste here:
User bans are an extreme last resort for us. They are embarassing, because they are an admission that our community is not strong, patient, and professional enough to deal with unwanted edits using the simple freedom built into the Wiki way. In addition, they are terribly ineffective -- a user can change IP address by moving to another computer, or of course just change to use another user account. Lastly, they make an enemy out of a potential friend. Our project is enough of a challenge; we don't need enemies.
Exceptions to the user ban nomination process include:
Blocks of one day or less when used as a discretionary tool for administrators. These blocks are sometimes used in slowing exceptionally high-volume unwanted edits (e.g., move vandalism) or to halt the vandalism (however temporarily) to create space to clean it up. In general such blocks should be applied for very short periods (two hours or less) and only increased in length if the vandal persists.
So read the detail there Paul, in regard to a Ban being "embarrassing", and "terribly ineffective", well that I am posting here is probably a testimony to that, and best of all, "make an enemy out of a potential friend". I can also not identify even a hint of guideline or policy that any support what-so-ever to your actions. 24 posts on User pages is not a "high-volume unwanted edits", has any of these Users complained about my messages. Somehow I don't think so, indeed at least a couple of them have cordially thanked me. I have never looked at my own stats but I do know that 24 contributions is an extraordinary low level of activity for me.
As you have not cared to actually address my Talk page and outline the problem then I am only left with the auto generated message when I try to edit (without circumvention). All that is useful there in way of explanation is this "Spam solicitations on WT members' talk pages".
During that series of edits I presented facts, they were not embellished by any particular negativity or slights toward either the project or IB, they were just facts. If it had not already been made clear by IB that it was considered to be inappropriate to discuss alternative solutions for the continuation or adaptation of the project on the IB hosted servers then it might not be so necessary to suggest to users that the project was discussed at an alternative venue. Remember now, it is your own actions that have been blocking that open discussion occuring on this site.
There is no presumption on in the WT policies and guidelines suggesting that posting anything on a Users Talk page needs to be solicited by that user. Indeed posting on another Users Talk page is pretty standard WT daily conduct. There was nothing 'offensive' in the content. Indeed it addressed the opportunity to be informed concerning the current problems, or for the User concerned to have an opportunity to express their own opinion in the matter. In preventing project contributors from doing that you may actually be alienating and gagging those contributors that may be reluctant to move the project elsewhere. I never suggested in my messages that people should take off somewhere else or abandon the project, or IB, merely that if they wanted to find out about it, or discuss it then they could follow the link provided. Where more detail was provided it was done in response to a prompt from that User. It was then provided in a matter of fact style and the contributors ongoing project involvement and article editing was encouraged.
Where more casual or lapsed contributors were addressed they were not being solicited or 'coached', just provided with appropriate information. If they were a yet ungreeted contributor they were properly addressed with a formal standard WT new user Welcome greeting, customised with their name and if possible an encouraging reference or guideline regarding their recent edits. A brief note was appended advising there was a Project community issue outstanding and providing them with a link where they could learn more about it.
One of my principal reasons for doing that was to assist in their understanding of why their work may be compromised by vandalism or unwanted and unfiltered content encroaching into an article. Some of the Users concerned are also current WT Administrators. Suggesting an engagement in discussion on policy or project development with a Project Administrator should not be view as "Spam", rather it is entirely legitimate project behaviour. In taking the action you did you have indicated a serious misunderstanding of the project aims and exhibited behaviour entirely inappropriate to the WT community.
You have just taken it upon yourself to 'censor' me. This is not a role prescribed in the project policies and guidelines.
If it is there and I have not found it then I invite you to draw my attention to it.
Surely it is obvious that in the absence of normal filtering, patrolling, guidance to editors and corrective editing the project will stumble, and it is doing so in a dramatic way at this time. Indeed it is filling up with garbage at an escalating rate.
Other contributors, like myself are seeing a considerable body of committed and focussed work become severely compromised by incompetent IT technical management and an apparent lack of appropriate investment in the project. IB is destroying the project, not commited contributors who are providing countless hours of unpaid contribution. In applying a Ban to someone like myself your are just further ensuring the project will fail.
You should be ashamed of yourself spending time blocking my own access (and obviously doing a pretty poor job of it) whilst leaving vandals, (genuine) spammers, advertisers and other assorted miscreants to run wild all over the site. Additionally you seem to have done a lousy job of even doing that. Previously I was ensuring I used a neutral tone and approach concerning this matter. Having been treated in such a rude and dismissive manner I find that considerably more challenging than it was previously. Why on earth are you shuffling deck chairs whilst the ship sinks under the waves. Can you really not see what is going on here, do you have nothing better to do, is this perhaps what 'fiddling whilst Rome burns' looks like?
At this point in time it might be best for the project if you resigned from it Paul, at least temporarily, as your behaviour is not appropriate to the community spirit it embodies.
Most certainly you should immediately hand in the Administrator keys as you have shown unequivocally that you are unaware of the policies and guidelines, or are just ignoring them and acting in an entirely inappropriate and draconian manner.
Can you really not find someone more appropriate to apply a Ban to, what about the hundreds of vandals, nutjobs, advertisers, pill pushers and personalised ball point pen salesmen that are descending upon the site like swarming locusts.
I am neither a vandal, nor a spammer and I really do resent the slight against me in your applying that label to my account.
Indeed I have contributed a considerable body of work to this project. Certainly your ridiculous action has clarified to me that the hosting of a project such as this on a server run by an entity with a commercial agenda is not appropriate for either party to that agreement.
You own actions as a representative of IB in applying this Ban upon my activities on this site is entirely unconscionable and reprehensible.
As an outcome of this my own concerns regarding the appropriateness of the travel Wiki project leaving IB are now entirely clarified.
The irony here is prior to this entirely inappropriate behaviour I actually harboured some sympathy for what must be a difficult situation for you, well you have taken care of that now by entirely alienating yourself. Nice work Paul.
You really should be entirely ashamed of yourself, best just climb up onto the wooden horse now, it is time to ride out of town. felix 01:40, 21 August 2012 (EDT)
Following felix, I also demand that you explain yourself. Your recent actions violate basic principles of Wikitravel. They also violate your own comments here, where the importance of a broader survey of Wikitravel was constantly emphasized. I do not see how your words on meta could match your actions here. -- Atsirlin 04:24, 21 August 2012 (EDT)
A perfect illustration of why IB is an inappropriate host for Wikitravel. The bridges are burnt, exeunt omnes. • • • Peter (Southwood)Talk 14:53, 21 August 2012 (EDT)
Last one to go, please turn off the lights, consumatum est. 22.214.171.124 16:14, 21 August 2012 (EDT)
No wonder every one wants to leave for Wikipedia :-) 126.96.36.199 17:44, 21 August 2012 (EDT)
Explanation of changes
Let me explain the series of events that led to these changes, and open up a discussion with the community for how best to resolve this.
Over this past weekend, Wikitravel’s email and User Talk Page systems were misused by a small group of users to spam dozens of Wikitravelers with unsolicited messages. This was done without notifying the host of Wikitravel, Internet Brands, whose accounts were deliberately excluded from this messaging. It had been made clear that the host, along with several Wikitravel administrators, considers using Wikitravel for those discussions detrimental to Wikitravel to be out of bounds. IB has previously taken action to ensure that those discussions take place off site, and has participated in them earnestly and in good faith.
Since, by early yesterday, the email and Talk Page messaging had stopped, no action was taken against those senders.
Late yesterday, one or more of the above mentioned users began to spam Wikitravelers’ Talk pages again, with the same cut-and-pasted text. I instituted a temporary block of those user accounts, and they have since been notified to cease and desist such behavior. In response, user Peterfitzgerald, who had on the 8th of August deleted the content of his own Talk page and resigned from Wikitravel, reverted the temporary blocks and then used his remaining Bureaucrat privileges to remove sysop functions from the host account (IBobi). This abuse of the bureaucrat status that he had resigned from caused his sysop privileges to be removed, as were those of several other Bureaucrats who were either inactive or had left word that they were no longer participating at Wikitravel. This is an appropriate security measure for a host to take.
I’d be happy to answer any further questions or engage on any level with members who still believe this was somehow inappropriate. Again, the host – whether it be Internet brands or the previous owner – must always act in the best interests of the site, for the sake of all its members. On rare occasions this means acting without prior community consensus. We remain entirely committed to this project, the community, its policies, and Wikitravel’s millions of users. Please don’t hesitate to contact me, either via email or this Talk page. Thank you,
--IBobitalkemail 15:15, 21 August 2012 (EDT)
As I said above: The Wikitravel community never gave you the right to police Wikitravel as an admin. It is one you assumed for yourself by right as representative of IB. That goes directly against IB's promise not to interfere with the content and community of Wikitravel. If IB is altering the deal, you might as well come out and say so. LtPowers 17:21, 21 August 2012 (EDT)
Nice threatening to sue editors is really going to build this community. 188.8.131.52 17:40, 21 August 2012 (EDT)
Not at all, LtPowers. Deal is in place. As to patrolling the site, I certainly hope that reverting spam is not being seen by anyone as detrimental? And protecting the site from malicious use of its tools as well. As a representative of the host of Wikitravel, I have an obligation to act in the site's best interests. While some of Wikitravel's administrators are on a temporary hiatus while they await the outcome of offsite discussions, someone must mind the fort. I'm not the only one, but there is more of a workload than normal at the moment. I'd welcome your help a great deal in that regard, as well as in policy discussions, as I have always found your contributions to be excellent.--IBobitalkemail 18:03, 21 August 2012 (EDT)
You haven't threatened to sue LtPowers yet? I am sure that will come. 184.108.40.206 18:05, 21 August 2012 (EDT)
I have not resigned from Wikitravel, nor am I "inactive" (defined in policy as not logging in over three months). What is your justification for removing my bureaucrat privileges, which were granted to me by unanimous community consensus? jpatokal 19:25, 21 August 2012 (EDT)
IBobi, you should update the community policies page to state that they do not apply to IB representatives, who may act on the site and ignore or change policies as they wish. It should also state that the consequences of not complying with IB wishes will be legal action against the community volunteers. They're your cpu cycles, and your disk space, so go for it. Just don't come here and act all "community" while unilaterally blocking, removing privileges, without following a single one of the policies defined by the community policies as to how this should happen. Of course all this whilst threatening legal action against community members. --Inas 19:59, 21 August 2012 (EDT)
Can we all calm down a bit?
Of course the WT comunity never made IBobi an admin. Nor did we make the founders, Even & Maj, admins; they granted themselves that status before the discussion of who else should get admin status even started. Now IB host the site so naturally their system admins have complete control of it. It is quite natural to make the main representative of the company on the site a wiki admin, a position far less powerful and less dangerous than what their sys admins already have. We really have nothing to complain of there, so long as the admin privileges are used within policy.
Nor is there much to complain of when he revokes privileges from users that have been inactive for some time or have stated on talk pages that they have left the project. As he says, this is a reasonable security measure for any host to take. There seem to be cases (see jpatokal's comment above) where he has been over-zealous in this; if so, they can presumably be discussed and dealt with.
On the other hand, I would say that IBobi is wildly out of line in some of this, well outside the policies. He has been blocking other admins for messages he calls "spam". They are not unsolicited messages, but messages to users who have deliberately provided their email addresses for messages relevant to Wikitravel. The messages were indeed relevant to the project and its goals, if disturbing to the current host. Peter was perfectly correct to unblock those users and temporarily remove IBobi's admin privileges in hopes he'd come to his senses with a cooling off period. Pashley 21:42, 21 August 2012 (EDT)
As you know, the policy on de-admining is at Wikitravel:Administrators#Ending_administrator_privileges. Anybody can make changes or suggestions on changing this policy by consensus, as has been done many times in the past. It is clear in this case the policy has just simply been ignored. It is difficult not to conclude from this that IB do not feel the need to follow community policies at all. And of course the legal threats are just way out of line. --Inas 22:02, 21 August 2012 (EDT)
I have no problem with IB staff gaining administrative status for site maintenance and such. And although I don't agree, I can see a defendable rationale in some of the actions IBobi has taken. However, some of his actions and decisions are so well out of line, and the legal threats go so directly against everything a wiki-community is, that I too have lost confidence now. You always seem to think community and reader base are the same thing, IBobi. For a wiki, that's just not true. Just after these few days it's becoming painfully clear what happens to a wiki - especially a popular one - when it has ample readers but no real community left :-( Justme 07:27, 22 August 2012 (EDT)
Quoted from iBobi above
"Over this past weekend, Wikitravel’s email and User Talk Page systems were misused by a small group of users to spam dozens of Wikitravelers with unsolicited messages. This was done without notifying the host of Wikitravel, Internet Brands, whose accounts were deliberately excluded from this messaging. It had been made clear that the host, along with several Wikitravel administrators, considers using Wikitravel for those discussions detrimental to Wikitravel to be out of bounds. IB has previously taken action to ensure that those discussions take place off site, and has participated in them earnestly and in good faith."
Paul (iBobi), you have alluded in general terms to the User Talk page edits I made over the weekend. You have given an odd sort of an outline of explanation of your subsequent action in applying a Ban upon my own account access and that of several others. You have heralded your statement with several highly subjective and judgmental assumptions.
A standout is that "User Talk Page systems were misused". Communicating with other contributors on their Talk page is not "misuse", communication between contributors is the primary purpose of the Talk pages. That such a basic precept needs explaining here is a quite disturbing aspect of the discussions of your recent actions. Attributing the content as"Spam" is simply ludicrous and a quite factitious construct.
You also mentioned that IB accounts were "deliberately excluded from this messaging". Why would you be included?
Surely you are already aware of the outstanding matters. The aim of the messages was to contact contributors who were not already aware of the issues so that they might be able to appraise the situation and act in a manner appropriate to their own informed POV. Since you do not want that to be done on the IB controlled servers then clearly that needs to be done elsewhere and you are well appraised with that already, and indeed have contributed to the discussions there yourself. Do you perhaps think it is OK for you to participate there whilst other Project participants are denied that opportunity?
You are not making much sense to me and I doubt you are making a lot of sense to many others as well. Your statements appear to be riddled with inconsistencies and fundamental contradictions.
Since when did a contributor need to seek permission from IB prior to communicating with another contributor. Perhaps IB need to place a Sitenotice and outline the changes they wish to make to the existing polices, otherwise we are all in the dark here and iBobi is going to continue run about creating potentially unresolvable conflicts apparently at the behest of his somewhat miguided employers. IB own the servers, they can do what they like with them, including turning off the power supply if they wish.
However if they continue operate in a manner that is in many ways entirely in opposition to the aims and objectives of both the WT community, the travel related Wiki Project and the goodwill of the community then they need to spell out the scope of the new relationship they seek. I for one would like to see a clear announcement made by IB that all future Talk page edits require solicitation from the account holder, and a detailed outline of how that might be done if it is an IP User. Then at least this new condition of use will be made apparent whilst the matter is properly clarified.
Any 'new deal' should of course be re-negotiated with the community, just slapping on ad-hoc new conditions and terms of participation is unworkable and ludicrous.
Perhaps IB are driven by some of the new age deconstructive thinking now so in vogue in a few extremist pockets of the western world. The clumsy cyber shock-and-awe approach they are inexpertly tinkering with is leaving the majority of us shocked, but without any of the no doubt anticipated awe. Rather it comes across as inept management, poorly communicated and inexpertly applied. Similar to a slowly deflating party balloon at a funeral it is both inappropriate and the eventual 'pop' is turning out to be quite ineffectual when they poke it with a very small and misguided pin.
If IB do not want any further discussions about the future of the project occurring on their servers then surely contacting users and providing them with a link to a more suitable venue is entirely appropriate. Indeed I believe IB's actions and statements readily lead to that conclusion. Indeed that is what prompted my own actions in leaving the quite passive, benign and neutrally phrased messages that I was responsible for.
Certainly any messages, content or discussions already contributed to the site prior to a properly executed formal announcement of changes to the site use should remain, and iBobi and other IB participants should cease filtering and deleting and otherwise censoring those made prior to that being appropriately formalised. -- felix
Thank you all for your thoughtful replies.
I think perhaps what we’re hitting upon is a difference between a community-appointed admin and a host admin. I had always thought that the distinction was fairly clear – if exceedingly rarely applied -- and was in fact stated explicitly by Evan on more than one occasion (though I fail to be able to include reference links at the moment). But maybe I’m wrong and it’s murkier. There are times when the host has to act in the interests of the site, and yes, that means temporarily going around the stated community policy that we all agree on.
I stand by my actions in removing sysop privileges from inactive/retired admins. It’s both a somewhat unique situation (I can’t recall ever seeing an active Bureaucrat just announce a retirement from the site before), and at the same time it’s a community issue that’s been raised before (the removal of privileges from inactive admins for security purposes) and not received a lot of traction. It’s probably time to revisit that policy discussion – if not now, then when the current offsite discussions have reached their conclusion.
The other actions I took were the blocks. I have to make a mea culpa there, to a certain extent, and apologize. I felt it was necessary to halt certain user behavior for a handful of users for a short period of time while we internally sorted out how to handle that. I acted hastily to place a temporary block on those accounts while restoring my account’s admin privileges. I intended to remove the blocks myself after a short period of time; meanwhile that was done by another admin. I apologize for not messaging those affected by the blocks, and will endeavor to do so in the future, in the (I hope) unlikelihood that a similar situation should ever arise.
One issue that must be clarified – whether by explicit policy or, as has been the case, I believe to this point, mutual good sense understanding – is that the host’s accounts must not be acted against by the community, unless there is strong evidence that they have been accessed by an outside entity. This has never been the case, but I suppose it’s possible in today’s Internet. It simply has to be understood by the community that the host’s representatives must retain a certain measure of administrative privilege in order to manage and protect the site and its members, and that the host will always act in the site's best interests, even if the reasons for that cannot immediately be spelled out explicitly. I assure you that, as now, I will not fail to explain myself after the fact.
These are all extraordinary situations, and all arising from the same overall unique and unprecedented offsite issue. It is my great hope that in the near future, we can return to business as usual, in continuing to keep Wikitravel the greatest travel site on the Internet, and work together to put any lingering technical issues to bed, and forge ahead on new site features that are the envy of the wiki and travel worlds. IB has the internal resources to do so, and I ask you to help me put them to work on the best projects. I have been working with other admins to sort bug reports and prioritize feature requests, and I ask your help there. Anyone who can resume patrolling edits would receive my great thanks, for I’m doing quite a lot of that myself at the moment. Wikitravel will put all of this in the rear-view mirror, Wikitravelers at all levels of contribution will continue to Plunge Forward, and I hope that each of you will be here to help them!
Yes, I don't think it makes sense without personal apologies and restoring all admin privileges that were expelled. Atsirlin 01:50, 23 August 2012 (EDT)
IBobi, once more: I have not resigned. I am not inactive. Why did you remove my bureaucrat status? jpatokal 19:19, 22 August 2012 (EDT)
Good heavens Paul you really do like to talk in riddles.
Perhaps when you write "when the host has to act in the interests of the site" you are trying to express that Internet Brands will take any action is deems fit to protect it's own commercial interests, regardless of any outstanding agreements with the Wikitravel community and without regard to previously established protocols for discussion or disputation.
You refer to the block on my account as "temporary". Applying a block of one week is a measure used for extreme cases here, if you feel the need to place some sort of 'gag' or 'suppression' upon a user then surely the standard 2 hour block provision is sufficient, thought the intent is still highly suspect.
Instead you applied a 1 week block to my account "01:02, 21 August 2012 IBobi (Talk | contribs) blocked Felix505 (Talk | contribs) with an expiry time of 1 week (account creation disabled) (Spam solicitations on WT members' talk pages)" (Special:Log/block)", and to the others as well. It took two removal actions by at least two separate administrator actions to get my access back.
Are you by any chance now occasionally changing my account settings to a non-specific user group to create an ad-hoc edit block?
Last night I could not contribute to any discussion on this site for an extended time, despite cache flushing and browser relaunching. Yet when I logged out and established a new user account (a sock puppet) I had no access problems at all. When I then quit that user and logged in again under my regular account, I was still blocked. I repeated that several times. Now I guess that was just another odd co-incidence. As Gore Vidal once said on CNBC, "One can’t call it a conspiracy, because then one must believe in flying-saucers, so I’ll call it a coincidence."
Paul, don't quit your day job as a "Community manager" just yet. Your recent apparent forays into quasi legal work and this recent spin doctoring effort leaves some rather large question marks hanging in the air precisely at the location where the credibility you seek is meant to be displayed.
You state above; "my great hope (is) that in the near future, we can return to business as usual", yet in the rest of your statement you appear to be outlining a complete deal breaker. IB will apparently do anything they wish if they even fleetingly see it to be their advantage, the established policies and guidelines are apparently now being printed on rubber sheeting and may be contorted in any manner desired. The wonderful new-vogue notion of preemption also seems to have found it's way into the clammy hands of the team at Internet Brands.
If you keep this up your will finish up with a bunch of servers doing nothing much other than warming up a work space and providing a venue for a range of suspect internet marketing schemes. You should not confuse 'community' with ownership, ownership has responsibilities, communities have legs. When the Dutch boy put his finger in the dike he sought to stem the flow, IB seem to think shoving a stick of dynamite in there will do a better job of it. If much more of this silliness goes on you can expect the WT community to just walk away en-masse. Do not confuse community with page hits, that sort of thinking will see you knocking on a door to a room packed full of hungry circus clowns.
You have quite absurdly suggested that your behaviour in blocking accounts was "in order to manage and protect the site and its members".
This is palpable nonsense and you insult the intelligence of those who may come to this page and read this drivel. We are not stupid children that need some discipline or be sent to stand in the corner of a room wearing a dunces cap.
The spin doctoring is inept and flimsy, and the stated threat to institute a claim for damages and prosecute several project participants, (including myself) looks like the work of complete idiots.
If your employers can read then I suggest they might like to focus in on this; your current behavior is highly inappropriate, alienating, deceitful, and divisive, you are looking like purveyors of snake oil at a cheap travelling carnival. I also doubt many will believe the contrite nonsense you have provided to explain your actions.
Paul, I assume the motivation and direction for your actions is coming directly from your employer, Internet Brands, and you are not just making up all these threats to prosecute myself and others for perceived transgressions of as yet still undefined US Federal and State laws.
The last time I received foreboding and clumsily crafted communications similar to these it was from a group of highly dubious multi-level marketing operators.
The mind set here seems strangely reminiscent. It often makes me feel like giving my hands and extra wash with some very strong soap after having any dealings with this murky subset of the corporate world.
These sorts of machinations with the attendant threats and clumsy statements of authority and legalistic innuendos, the hire purchase bling and all the big talk is a fairly standard feature of flimflam operations. The activities are often transitory, things come to an untidy end and the main players quickly scurry off to pursue other similar activities when the room they are sitting in becomes too hot. Often their hurried departure leaves their employees short a few paychecks.
In times past people like this often rode into town on a horse, and then left very quickly and unceremoniously a few days later.
Now operators like that tend to head off out of the parking garage in a shiny near new automobile leaving only a subtle aroma of burnt rubber, often moments before the truck arrives to tow the vehicle away.
I do not like being threatened with legal proceedings and prosecution, when this has been done by such people in the past it has ultimately led to their own undoing.
Why on earth do you think any of us would want to return to patrolling, active content contribution or editing when the site is still being filled up with an ever escalating mound of excrement.
Do you really expect the remaining contributors and the few who have quietly retuned using anon IPs to keep on taking care of the glaring inadequacies of site management whilst blessed also with the potential of a threat of being sued as well if they do not comply with some ad-hoc unannounced change to the site policies.
Really, pull on the other leg, that one is getting tired. You are new to patrolling and content editing here, you probably don't even yet understand the tide of garbage content that will further cascade into this site when an assortment of well know opportunists discover the gates are swinging open. I have previously patrolled a wide range of articles that are subject to such attacks and trawling through them to clean out the rubbish arising from these miscreants is painstaking and very time consuming. They will arrive soon, I am only surprised that a good number of them have not turned up yet.
I guess the collective and determined efforts of several editors here over a period of several years eventually had some effect.
If I were in your shoes I would stop the games with phony online petitions, the seeding of discussions with 'oppose' votes by Wiikitravel 'contributors' who have never appeared before, never made a contribution to the project and yet mysteriously seem to arise from IPs in the close proximity of the offices of Internet Brands. The more of this silliness that happens the worse IB looks.
Perhaps you should apply your own efforts to making the still broken site workable and apply some effective firewalling to the spam attacks. You need to block that activity out of the site rather than focusing your efforts upon the creation of entirely implausible fantasies and locking out several of the most prolific and useful project contributors and admins. That is just plain dumb. You are killing this project, if that is not your purpose then you need to step back and reappraise, as was suggested several days ago and then get your act together, and the IB management team need to turn off the snake oil font.
The explanation you have provided for your actions is a flimsy and absurd spin doctoring construct. -- Sincerely felix 05:04, 23 August 2012 (EDT)
Felix has addressed your behavior very well. I will just add some brief comments: Understand, we are volunteers. We have spent lots of person-hours of our own time, with no pay, just because we wanted to try to make this site the best it could be. We are not employees, so when our working conditions become increasingly untenable because of chronic problems with increasingly terrible bugs, out of control spam, and just plain poor functionality, we are perfectly free to leave if we so choose, go wherever we like, and tell our co-workers (other contributors to Wikitravel) where we are hanging out now. Wikitravel has no policy of censorship on user Talk pages and can't suddenly create one and then threaten volunteers with ex post facto legal action for violating such an absurd policy, worthy of a totalitarian state and not a site on the free internet. And understand this: We not only are not employees, we never signed any contract with Internet Brands, so threatening us with legal action as if we violated some kind of "do not disclose" or "non-compete" contract or something just means that you and your legal department friend (sock puppet, whatever) are acting like the worst kind of employer - toward people who have been volunteers, giving our work freely. And you think this will have what result, exactly? Warm allegiance toward you and full confidence in your behavior and wisdom? You have only yourself to blame for destroying this site. Ikan Kekek 04:48, 25 August 2012 (EDT)
Recent revert of Bucharest page
I have added a brand new hostel on the Bucharest page - the Hostels submenu.
As far as I've seen you reverted the edit.
Can you tell me the reason of the revert and how can I adapt the text so that it follows the guidelines?
As the e-mail notifications on wikitravel.org do not function correctly I have decided to post this here.
If you want to reply you can e-mail me at :
reverts at ldcore dot com
(comment unsigned by Ldanicel)
No, not spam at all! But he ought not to have approached you in that way and we're routinely reverting such posts. No fault there on your part at all. Please feel free to contact me with any other questions or issues, and I hope that your contributions continue; you look to be an excellent future Admin candidate, if you're so inclined.--IBobitalkemail 17:37, 31 August 2012 (EDT)
Re your question at User_talk:Pashley#Spammer.3F. I have not looked at this user in any detail, and probably won't. The first thing to do, which I don't have time for, is go to his page, hit "user contributions" and examine them some. If he/she is obviously a spammer, do some reverts and a user ban. If it is not completely obvious, give him/her the benefit of the doubt. REvert the problematic ones and leave a comment on his/her talk page. There are quite a few new users who seem to be spamming at first, especially the ones who are enthusiastic marketers. Some of them can be turned around. Pashley 23:12, 31 August 2012 (EDT)