Prosecution and de-adminship

Proposed new processes for prosecution, de-adminship provoke uproar

The proposed addition of some new elements to the dispute resolution system last week prompted some often heated debate. By the end of the week, it seemed that a new association to act as a prosecuting body in arbitration cases might survive objections to its existence, but an attempt to create a new de-adminship process had been rejected.

A proposed new prosecuting agency

Acting on a comment by arbitrator mav that, "It may in fact be a good idea to create an official prosecutor office to counter the AMA", an idea also endorsed by Raul654 and Ambi, Snowspinner started the District Attorney's Office last Tuesday. The organization offered to help deal with problem users and the "prohibitively difficult and stressful nature of bringing cases before the arbcom."

The original structure of the organization had Snowspinner as "dictator", with other participants being designated as partners. The page noted some of the arbitration cases its members were working on, including Grunt's request (since rejected) against Snowspinner himself. Snowspinner later explained that the title of dictator had been intended as humor, acknowledging that the joke did not go over very well.

The backlash and parallel VfDs

As originally constituted, the organization quickly acquired a vehement critic in Mirv, who said it could "create an unaccountable clique of bullies". After an edit and page move war, Mirv created another organization called the "Sacred Office of the Inquisition", either as a fork or a parody criticizing Snowspinner's project.

One of Snowspinner's partners, Blankfaze, nominated this for deletion, which was overwhelmingly supported, although some people found it funny enough for BJAODN. Mirv responded by nominating the District Attorney's Office for deletion. Reflecting the split in the community over the issue, votes were roughly equally divided between those wanting to keep it as having a useful function, and those who supported deletion (the split in the voting continued even after multiple rewrites of the page).

Based on additional discussion, the DA's Office went through a few more names before settling on its current form, Association of Member Investigations. This gave it a name similar to the Association of Members' Advocates, of which it was intended as a counterpart. The renaming helped mollify some critics, although others questioned whether the two needed to exist as separate organizations.

Meanwhile, Mirv withdrew his "Sacred Office of the Inquisition" and moved it to his user space. Instead he set up the Association for Unbiased Prosecution to offer as a more serious alternative to the AMI, but this too was nominated for deletion. Eventually Snowspinner decided to modify his own title to "intern", along with some significant revisions to the AMI page. Based on this, Mirv announced, "I consider all my specific objections dealt with", and proposed to merge the AUP back into the AMI.

Resurrecting de-adminship?

In another attempt to revise the dispute resolution system, Netoholic had suggested a new procedure for removing administrator status and offered a draft of the procedure on 14 March. The proposal would have required ten users to sign a petition in order to "nominate" a user for de-adminship, after which a vote would be held on the question. Eighty percent of voters would need to agree in order for adminship to be removed.

The idea was touted as a counterpart to the process at Wikipedia:Requests for adminship. dab commented, "Adminship is granted by the community, it should also be revoked by the community." A few expressed support for the general principle while remaining uncertain about whether the proposal was ideal.

A number of concerns were also voiced, arguing that existing processes were adequate and that a de-adminship page would be a magnet for vendettas and harassment. Korath said he couldn't imagine the proposal actually generating any results, as an administrator with so little support would already be removed via arbitration.

In spite of a straw poll running roughly two-to-one against the proposal, Netoholic decided last Thursday to give part of it a trial run. He started a petition calling for a vote on the admin status of Snowspinner, but said it was outside the de-adminship policy proposal and explained that it was "only a petition at this stage." The petition received two additional signatures, then was nominated for deletion, a move that was widely supported. Other alternatives, such as moving it to Netoholic's user space or converting the petition into a Request for comment, were tried but Netoholic reverted them.

Finally, on Saturday the main Requests for de-adminship page was returned to its previous state as a redirect to Wikipedia:Requests for comment. The proposed petition procedure was moved instead to Wikipedia:Requests for de-adminship/Old proposal.

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