Roll 'em back, move 'em out

Controversial non-administrator rollback process added

This week, a new user group was created, allowing users to be added to a 'rollback' group, which gives non-admins the ability to use MediaWiki's 'rollback' tool in a limited fashion. So far, 500 users have received the right, but some users questioned whether the process had community consensus.

A poll was started on December 30, and ran through January 8. The poll received just over two-thirds support, with 304 supporting the new right and 151 opposing it. Two-thirds support is usually considered ambiguous consensus, and a previous poll failed to gain consensus with almost exactly the same support. However, after a Bugzilla request to add the right, a developer enabled the right on the English Wikipedia.

Shortly afterward, a requests for rollback page opened, and users were invited to submit their names for consideration for the rollback right. An extended discussion on the administrators' noticeboard ensued, leading to an arbitration request (which appears likely to be denied).

Another poll was suggested by Jimbo Wales, to determine whether the requests for rollback process had consensus; however, persuasive comments by Anthere, indicating that she had no interest in bringing the matter to the Foundation's board and suggesting a time-out with respect to the page, led to the poll's closure for at least the next three months, to see whether the process should be changed or removed then.

The right is limited for non-administrators; users who have the rollback privilege without the "bot" right are allowed just 5 rollbacks per minute, while if a non-autoconfirmed (less than four days old) user were to receive the right, they would be limited to just 5 rollbacks every two minutes. This is designed to prevent the wide-scale damage that some users argued could occur with built-in rollback.

Objections to the process seem to have cooled down, as many users noted that the process was running much better than they had imagined it. Said Ned Scott, who initially opposed rollback but later noted that he misunderstood the proposal:

The situation should have been dealt with better. We should have waited before promoting users. It didn't happen, and for what it's worth, the world did not explode. Still, we need a way of stopping such stampedes in the future.

Still, the way everyone responded, on both sides, was somewhat.. expected/ reasonable, consideration the situations, and how people normally react to such situations (at least for Wikipedia). But I'm still sorry this turned out to be somewhat of a mess. I'm sorry I got mad and that other people got mad. I'm glad that rollback granting itself have gone fairly smoothly despite all this.

However, objections still remain, even though discussion has died down. Doc glasgow, one of the more vocal opponents of the way the process was handled, said on Thursday,

The Christmas holiday coup d'etat has been unprecedentedly successful in forcing through a major change without consensus. All credit to them - I'd probably have tried the same if I'd wanted something as badly and had as little chance of getting legitimate agreement. But, now we effectively have a new status-quo in this crazy process - and I predict we'll rue the day. However, that's what we've got, and the chances of the community obtaining a *genuine* consensus, which could change this status-quo, are as nil as they always have been.

Also this week:
  • From the editor
  • 2007 in review
  • Wikimania 2009
  • Roll 'em back, move 'em out
  • Apple leak?
  • WikiWorld
  • News and notes
  • In the news
  • Tutorial
  • Features and admins
  • Technology report
  • Arbitration report

  • Signpost archives

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