User talk:Abd

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Jump to: navigation, search

Archive

The Barnstar of Diplomacy![edit]

Peace Barnstar Hires.png The Barnstar of Diplomacy
Thank you for the help provided with all the very clear suggestions on my talk page. I really appreciate that someone took the time to answer my questions in a normal and clear fashion. The_Photographer (talk) 21:29, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, The Photographer. Your acknowledgement makes a difference. --Abd (talk) 21:33, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

Bystanders[edit]

See Commons talk:Transfer of copyright. -- (talk) 14:57, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, Fae. That discussion is, in fact, on point. I see the same user arguing very strongly there for the same position currently being argued by him. That discussion appeared resolved as to a specific case because there was an actual conversation over rights. In fact, the actual conversation was weak, common understanding (what any reasonable person would expect) could be legally just as strong. The deeper issue is the definition of "authorship." And that is not settled law, as far as I can tell.
The resolution there is completely unavailable to users with bystander selfies taken a long time ago. It was only of use to "copyright aware" users who would know to ask, and would then be subject to deprecation anyway because the agreement was not in writing.
The process of release in bystander selfies itself is legally clear, and is sealed by the handover of the camera with no conversation about rights and no contact information being provided, etc. It is completely assumed that the subject of the photo, who provided the camera as well, has complete rights to it, and that the one who snapped the photo has none. This is so obvious that it appears to never have been tested: the courts do not rule in the abstract. There would have to be an actual case, and such cases are preposterously unlikely.
All the case law that has been asserted in discussion so far is radically off-point.
This is the practical issue for Commons: shall photos be deleted that have been claimed as "own work," ipso facto, merely because the user who uploaded the photo is in the photo? Do we need to ask about self-timers? In the case of a video, would it matter who pushes Record? Who holds the camera? (That could be in the first case, the uploading user, but not in the second case. The uploader might have edited out the initial frames where the camera is transferred.)
With a sound recording of someone singing a song, perhaps original, does it matter who presses Record on a sound recorder? How about a video of an original dance or some other performance? There is a law review article I found that really addresses all these issues. The conclusion is not what has been so strongly asserted here. But that law review article is not case law, merely advice for courts to consider if they ever see a case!
I think that an interpretation has ensconced itself here that routinely leads to conflict and disruption, and that interpretation is not legally clear. It's an application of appearances from assumptions about the meanings of words (like "author"), but divorced from actual case law, the real situation with copyright in the world. I generally agree with your arguments there; I'm researching the issue, because instead of requesting undeletion of a pile of photos and arguing this with each, I prefer to find a definitive decision by the community, that could be applied to all, so either I give up and advise the user it can't be done, or I make the requests and they are routinely approved.
That discussion assumed that the photographer has rights to transfer! The position that I'm coming to is that the circumstances of bystander selfies never create such rights, unless rights are discussed and steps are taken to secure them. --Abd (talk) 15:25, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Who can be missed?[edit]

I've always respected your opinion, and I want to know what you think about the following:

I would like your input before I start a detailed proposal or RfC. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 15:38, 14 March 2015 (UTC)

Ugh. "We miss you" applied to a collective, a community, must mean that some of us miss the person. It would be an error to demand consensus, and useless beyond useless to revert war over it. Michael, since it is you asking, if you miss a user, tell them on their Talk page. If there is some Commons process to formally ask a user to return, then there would need to be some kind of discussion. Not revert warring. It takes two to revert war. What is the purpose of the "We miss you" page? It looks to me like a setup for people to argue. However, there was discussion on the Talk page (as you point out).
So, you have run into someone who doesn't accept the concept that the page is to be inclusive, not exclusive. For almost any seriously active user, there will be someone who thinks the wiki is better off without that person. So what to do?
First of all, I think you know what not to do. Don't revert war, or certainly not alone. Rather, standard: discuss the change on Talk. Possibly discuss a dispute on the User talk page with the other user. Then, if no consensus can be found, involve a larger community. Perhaps on the Village Pump. A complaint about the user will generally toss gasoline on the flames.
But my suggestion is to have your ducks in a row first. Make sure that you have something that a larger community is likely to sign on to.
Here is what I see on this particular issue. That page, as it is, invites controversy. Because contributions are not signed, they are, as it were, representing the entire community. That is offensive to those who found that user offensive! Hence I'd suggest that contributions to that page be signed. They are then the opinion of the contributor, and not of the community, necessarily. I'm not going to get into details of how to manage this, but this concept (of attributed opinion) is how Wikiversity handles disputes in mainspace, which become rare when people are responsible and attributed for what they write. (And obviously it was their opinion! In this case, that would be the fact, not that the person is "missed" with no performative. Missed by whom?)
Then, others may add their signature as well. For brevity, these would be just user names. Not full timestamped signatures. And if they get long, there are collapse and subpage or "archive to history" techniques. Perhaps to stand on the page, there would have to be a "second." So page process could allow a single "nomination" to stand for a time, listed as a nomination. It could get more complex, but perhaps you can get the idea. If it is at least two users, it qualifies as "we."
So, that's my suggestion, and where I would take it. However, regardless, follow the same, roughly, as Wikipedia Dispute Resolution process. Absent ArbCom, for better or worse.
I am researching a controversy here: see User:Abd/Bystander photos. I have found that some administrators have very strong opinions one way, and are enforcing those opinions in deletion decisions, while a substantial segment of the community, including other administrators, has different opinion. The issue has been considered quite a few times, with varying results, and questions have been asked and not answered, policy is unclear and draft policy is probably in error, differing from WMF legal opinion, etc, users are vastly confused and some have been driven off.
So how to handle this? What I'm doing, before trying to get formal process going, is making sure I have a thorough grasp of the issues myself -- hence that user page -- while, at the same time, inviting others to contribute and maintaining some low level of discussion. I'm getting ready to move, either with a Village Pump discussion, with a "bold policy edit," or with a test case, or any or all of these, but I've learned to move slowly and carefully, to prepare the ground. A premature discussion can often turn into a useless train wreck. --Abd (talk) 18:04, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
I decided to implement your signature idea, but I used hidden comments so that the signatures aren't intrusive and to avoid cluttering the page. I did the bold thing and went ahead with implementation due to the unintrusiveness of the hidden comments. If reverted, it can be discussed and developed further on the talk page. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 14:01, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Um, I don't think that will be adequate, and it's not necessary; it could be said that signatures are already present in history. However, the point I was making was that without attribution, it looks like the Commons community is "missing" the users. And that then sets up possible and unnecessary controversy. --Abd (talk) 14:16, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Oh, okay. Fortunately, I created and implemented Template:Missed, so it would be simple to make signatures visible by simply modifying the template, but I still believe that hidden comments are best approach in order to avoid clutter, and I want to avoid a cookie-cutter, template-ish appearance, since the page should display warmth. I added a disclaimer to the page, and I hope that that is enough. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 14:53, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
I'd look for a different way to avoid clutter. "Missing" is more powerful if signed, but the signatures can be in collapse. I think Commons has collapse templates. Make it easy to maintain and efficient. So someone creates the "missing" listing, and then others add signatures within the collapse. Seems simple, and expresses appreciation for the user. Very much, I'd avoid anything like a vote. Formula for useless debate. --Abd (talk) 15:29, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Commons_talk:We_miss_you#Should_the_people_doing_the_missing_be_listed_for_each_entry.3F – I decided to share your ideas on the talk page, and I agree, having a vote for each new entry to the page would be horrible. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 13:38, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
I'm disappointed by the low turnout. I publicized it at the Village Pump, yet few people commented. Even the sysop who keeps reverting me and threaten to block me didn't appear (not surprising, given that reverts are his only contributions to that page; he only cares for that one person that must be kept off). On the bright side, the lack of people caring means that I can act with more freedom and experiment. Since there was virtually no contention against your point of view, I decided to implement your collapsible box suggestion. Please see Commons:We_miss_you and tell me what you think. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 19:07, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Low turnout fails to explicitly indicate consensus, but it may also indicate that consensus is so obvious that few bother to comment. The vast majority of users pretty much don't care about these central issues, and can be somewhat irritated if they are pushed in their face, so be aware of that. Raising controversial issues in high-traffic zones can be dangerous, as you know. Yet it may become necessary. Make sure it's worth the effort, keep it extremely simple, so that your average user will get the point immediately. Now, what you actually did: I'll look and come back. I may actually edit something. --Abd (talk) 19:59, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Okay, did it. See my contributions. And there are some nifty lessons here about wiki process. We'll see. In my view, few, if any, are true masters at this. Good luck. --Abd (talk) 19:59, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Re:[edit]

Sometimes I'd like to be a perfect guy: reacting with calm to unjustified attacks, to turn the other cheek... However, I'm not such kind of person and when a guy that I've been avoiding for years, the main reason why I left the English Wikipedia, comes here and, when I dare to turn down a wrong speedy deletion notice and turn it into a regular DR, states that I am following him around, still trying to push nationalist agendas of one sort or another and have been stalking his edits for years, well I can't help answering in the same way even if I shouldn't. I can't really stand that kind of toxic behavior that should have been banned long ago but seem to keep on being rampant in the English Wikipedia. No, I can't.

On the other hand, if you wish to read what I wrote down, you can still access it (provided that you can read Spanish) in here. The usual row of check user abuse, admin vandalizing on the grounds of removing content by banned users... I won't tell you much about it, but you can ask if you want :-) Best regards --Discasto talk | contr. | es.wiki analysis 22:53, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

I have come to dislike reading the truth about the wikis. The ideals we had were so much better, it seems. Discasto, we can think this is "wiki problems." It's actually the human problem, it is, among other things, the problem of government. An old saying, I first heard in rooms where people are struggling with life and death: "And the reward of patience is patience." I will look. I don't read Spanish, exactly, but Google translate isn't bad. I've been advising a user regarding the Pashto Wikipedia. Now, that's difficult!
As to "can't," you made that up. You can. The question is not whether you can or not, the question is whether you will or not. And "stand" doesn't mean "be a doormat." It means to not turn into a mass of undisciplined and useless reactions because of what someone else does. If you "can't stand" what someone else does, and if they are trolling, they win, you are just a machine and they are pushing the button. Good luck. --Abd (talk) 23:27, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
Do you think that if I describe this or this as systematic cross-wiki harassment I'm just "pushing the button"? Would it be an undisciplined and useless reaction? I assume that, according to you, I have just to shut up and lower my head. Right? Best regards --Discasto talk | contr. | es.wiki analysis 11:20, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
The "button" I referred to is your button. You don't push the button (usually), someone or something else does. Someone does X -- or something that looks like X to you -- and you explode. And you can have "perfectly good reasons." Such as something you learned as a child, "I can't let them push me around." You response is fairly normal, and is one of the reasons why "normal" people often don't reach outstanding levels of performance.
You have it wired that you have two choices: "shut up and lower your head," which is something that someone does when faced with overwhelming force and is afraid, or "fight." It's called the "fight or flight" response, and the amygdala makes the choice in practically an instant, because in the immediate survival conditions we faced when these systems evolved, there is no time to reflect. If you see a pattern of orange, black and white through the foliage in a jungle, there is no time to think. Get ready to fight or run as fast as you can.
Your description of yourself is that you "can't" do anything else. This is just the way you are. This hides the fact that you chose to be this way. Or, more accurately, you could choose to be different.
You are not in a jungle, and nothing is going to eat you except your own responses.
Third choice. Raise your head, look carefully, consider a wide range of possible responses, and choose according to what you are creating with your activity. This is not submissive, it is sanity.
To explain, in English usage, having a button that can be pushed means having a practically automatic response. People who have exposed buttons are easily manipulated by those who can see and choose. But I don't know that this is what happened here. Rather, others have buttons, too, and sometimes they collide. Everyone has perfectly good reasons. I'd suggest you spend some time studying the person you dislike so much, what makes him tick? He is a human being, like you, I assume! We are much more alike each other than we are different. I'm pretty sure he does not sit at his computer trying to figure out how to make trouble for Discasto. He has other motives and goals and practices. However, sometimes people do get into a retaliatory mode, based on past history.
You reported the problem to AN/U. That was proper. At that point, usually the strongest response is to sit back and watch. Trust the community. They will not see everything you see, they will overlook things, but if you fall into a mode where you believe they must see everything, you become obsessed with explaining the situation and yourself. And that obsession is very visible to people, and they don't trust obsessed people. And it does not matter one bit if the person is obsessed about truth or something else. I've been watching on-line "discussion" -- we used to call them flame wars -- for about 30 years. People don't really care what the truth is, they care about what people are "being," and they assess that directly, from "tone." And, yes, in on-line discussion, this is very unreliable! But the habit is very strong, and most people are not aware of what powers their responses.
Being effective on wikis without becoming obsessed can take high skill. If you like, you can consider yourself in training. The good news: it gets much easier if shut down those automatic responses, if you make a choice that there is no emergency. If it is not completely clear to you what to do, you can do it tomorrow, almost always. It's a wiki, anything can be undone. If it's important. If it is not important, then why sweat over it? --Abd (talk) 13:02, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Possibly you watched Kung-Fu and the Little Grasshopper training series :-P
I see you point and seems really wise, but you have to acknowledge that 'defendtoeachother' does not really works always. It's really difficult to watch the systematic cross-wiki stalking tactics and choose not to press the button... but as your reflections seems sensible, I'll choose to stop here. Best regards --Discasto talk | contr. | es.wiki analysis 22:34, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Well, no, I avoided television for most of my life. meatball:DefendEachOther doesn't work always? Here is what that reveals: you have an idea of "work" that depends on shallow thinking. You think you already know the best outcome. Hint: you don't. Nobody does. Unless they do. And that kind of person doesn't go around reacting to people, they create their own life and the life of their society.
Again, the other person is pressing the button, not you. You choose to respond in a predictable way, or to respond in some other way, or to not respond at all. That's choice, and that is where power can be found. It actually is not difficult to not react, that it is difficult is a story we tell ourselves to justify not assuming responsibility for our own actions. It is easy to do nothing, once you recognize the roots of your own behavior. What might deserve the title hard is to actually do something worth doing when we don't want to. But even that is a made-up story, as an excuse for not doing it. I know all too well.
Anyway, good luck with your choice. Let me know if I can be of any assistance. And maybe I'll need help some day. --Abd (talk) 23:12, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Okay, I looked a little. Too much to read more than the beginning. Also too much assumed as knowledge, I suspect. I will respond this much: checkuser data is dumped periodically, I'm pretty sure that happens. However, checkusers may keep data privately, and the checkuser wiki might have some records as well. More: stewards routinely access checkuser data from login wiki, this has never been publically addressed. They use it to globally lock spammer accounts even before they edit anywhere. I'd say that over 99.9% of this is legitimate, i.e., the community would approve of it if they knew. There are a very few examples where a personal agenda of a steward is being followed, but I don't know if that has ever involved login wiki, probably not.
At one point I tested the Wikipedia system. I've only ever operated a single originally undisclosed sock for any time, and I'd been blocked on enwiki, and I was testing a procedure that had actually been approved, allowing banned editors to still make positive contributions. It works when a wiki realizes the significance of "self reverted per ban" edits, that has been demonstrated. However, the standard view is "a ban is a ban is a ban," and so eventually, admins escalated beyond all sanity, through ever-expanding range blocks, to using revision deletion for helpful edits, to using the edit filter to prevent self-identification. So, as a last step before I was done, since they were not willing to allow a banned editor to identify himself, how about the obvious alternative. How about I register a sock and don't identify? So I did. No problems with the sock for quite some time, no disruption, etc. Then out of the blue an arbitrator blocks as a "checkuser block." Yeah, I'd made no attempt to hide the connection, which I certainly knew how to do, I'd been heavily involved in sock hunting at one point. But checkuser is not for fishing. I'd seen this many times, I had very good evidence that a user was a sock, and, no the requests were refused because there wasn't clear disruption.
So this is the reality: if they want you gone, they do whatever it takes. Policies mean nothing because of w:WP:IAR. Except nobody else is allowed to follow IAR. Just those with power. IAR actually required me to do what I was doing. I was breaking a rule, right? All the edits were improvements -- I carefully avoided problematic edits. The legal term is "status offense," i.e., something that is not a crime in itself, but that is a crime because of who you are.
Anyway, that was 2011. Here is the record: User:Abd/Wikipedia/List of self-reverted edits.
That page drove certain users nuts. An attempt was made to delete it, which failed. I was pretty careful, you might notice there is no criticism of any user, just an account of what happened. On meta, though, it has been different. Years ago, meta was highly tolerant. That has changed.
It's pretty funny, the current diversity outreach, especially to women. Most women will not put up with the wiki culture (and many men, as well, academics are famously disgusted by the wikis). Obviously, there are women who do move in the wiki culture, even become prominent in it, but they are outliers. Or those who simply haven't run into the problems. --Abd (talk) 00:03, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

{{PD-NI-exempt}}[edit]

Hola Abd, as the template's author has stated in my talk page he just cut and pasted the template text from other templates, without verifying the actual text of the law. I'll update the template text in order to show what the law exactly says... Best regards --Discasto talk | contr. | es.wiki analysis 12:01, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

The template isn't about that law. That law is merely one source. The research needed, and what that template should show, is the actual situation with public domain in Nicaraguan copyright law and practice. That may take some serious research. Is Nicaragua a signatory to the Berne Convention? That might be where those items really came from, ultimately. I don't know. In other words, that user might not have been wrong, he just sourced the information incorrectly. --Abd (talk) 22 March 2015 (UTC)

File:The Times - Argentine Capture of the Falkland Islands 1821.jpg‎[edit]

Hi Abd, sorry for not taking part in the discussion but honestly, wikipedia (and the like) should be a source of joy and not a punching ball. I won't participate any more as I'm constantly the target of pointless ad hominem attacks. I don't agree with your proposals, but I prefer to focus on productive tasks instead of undergoing the usual verbal abuse by WCM. I guess you'll understand it. Best regards --Discasto talk | contr. | es.wiki analysis 18:37, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

If you are going to refer to an ad hominem attack, diff it. What "verbal abuse"? What was said was that you were responsible for the current protected version, which you were.[1] WCM is edgy, but he actually removed the comment, if that is what you were referring to. I warned him about that edit, in fact, because it might upset Favalli.
As to participating there, that's your choice, obviously. You were invited to participate, you have been invited to explain what you want, and you have, and it has been carefully considered. It's essentially impossible, violating Commons neutrality. Your complaint, I think, is really about the wikis, such as es.wikipedia, which issue we must stay out of; in fact, what you wrote would not be allowed on en.wiki, my opinion, unless nobody was paying attention. It was unsourced original research. If you *did* have reliable source for that, you could point to it, I suppose. --Abd (talk) 18:59, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
Possibly you're right and I'm wrong. But personally I'm not really concerned about the final redaction of the topic, but about the constant personal mentions. Discussion must deal with the topic and not, in any way, with the participants. There's one participant that keeps on doing that, regardless of your 'warnings'. You're right, that's the wiki way and you have to cope with it.... so, I don't want to. As you say, it's my choice and therefore everybody wins. Best regards --Discasto talk | contr. | es.wiki analysis 19:48, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't mind. You could have made the consensus complete there, which could have some value, but you are not taking that opportunity, it seems you would rather hold on to old disputes. Others may be doing this, as well, but at least are agreeing or consenting on something together, which is a step. Good luck. --Abd (talk) 19:53, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
Discasto, of course, that participant complains about you mentioning him.... it's almost always that way. We get stuck in these things and they can take over and ruin our work. I recommend you learn how to drop these ideas. In any case, I deleted the translations from English, but I assume it would be best to have them back. Would you like to make those translations in languages you know well? If so, please stay close to the English, but if you want to change anything, simply discuss it on Talk. This is about the text and if someone attacks you, I'll address it. For yourself, again, meatball:DefendEachOther. It really does work, and if it doesn't there is always leaving. --Abd (talk) 23:56, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
I can translate into Spanish or any other language I can help with, take it for granted. On the other hand, I'm not holding on old disputes. That's the reason why I'm simply getting rid of this discussion (I can live with whatever file description :-)). You asked for diffs, and I can provide them if you wish as a example of harassment across wikis (just for the sake of clarity), but you could argue that I'm just "holding on old disputes". However, I can provide a different example, not related to commons but that clearly shows the regular behaviour of WCM: this (see the absolutely polite and not personal question by Langus and the harsh remark by WCM). I assume that your advice is simply ignoring the personal attack (as Langus has wisely done) but the fact remains: some guys seem to have the "right" to endless personal attacks, verbal abuse and the like while their victims must simply not "hold on old disputes". But, that's the wiki way, isn't it? Best regards --Discasto talk | contr. | es.wiki analysis 14:15, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for any help you can provide.
Discasto, you are not getting it. Commons and en.wiki and many of the wikis are full of incivility. That is maintained by users who hold on to old disputes, and by administrators who have come to tolerate it as long as the user is on "their side" or at least is not offending them.
You are doing it here, presenting that diff as the "regular behavior" of the editor. Notice that I am not saying you are "wrong." I'm saying that your stand does not allow the editor to change. If that user persists in incivility here, there will likely be consequences, which is why I've warned him. The same for you, though you are a more established here, so you may, by the "wiki way," avoid consequences for a time.
I warn to protect the warned person. Sometimes they get upset and attack the warning. That often does not turn out well for them. But I'm not in charge, results vary, etc.
I looked at the diff. Sure. If the user continues in that way, and if this ever escalates, as it easily could (all it takes is an offended user who goes to a noticeboard, or, deeper, files an RfC or takes an unresolved dispute to ArbCom, and I'd say the account would be toast. But that's not Commons, and bringing that here is offensive. Basically, Discasto, you are arguing that you are "right," which will always get you in trouble, because it's not community-oriented. What are we doing here? You did complain about the user, here, and he was blocked, and unblocked on assurances. Now, give him a chance to maintain civility. It might take some time and effort. Habits die hard. He's definitely not been heavily uncivil.
Again, please take meatball:DefendEachOther to heart. You might be amazed at the results you get. --Abd (talk) 16:19, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

A barnstar for you![edit]

Peace Barnstar Hires.png The Barnstar of Diplomacy
Thank you Abd, well done. -- Langus-TxT (talk) 02:31, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, acknowledgements make a difference. --Abd (talk) 02:41, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

The push against banned users[edit]

A ton of users expressed their views, and all those voiced were censored, just because the first voice in the discussion belonged to a banned user. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 21:40, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

On enwiki, standard. Process started by a banned user may be deleted; unless someone not banned has commented. Then it cannot. The original comment may be struck and noted as appropriate. Quite routine. So what's happening here?
This is just more disruption over the issue, which is likely to continue until Commons gets off its collective duff and finds an actual consensus, which won't happen as long as the sides keep yelling at each other. There is some possibility that a skillfully presented policy clarification would do the trick. I've already suggested policy that would (1) allow the WMF to ban and (2) allow Commons to ignore it without harm. But the real problem here is lack of consensus over a major issue. If someone wants help facilitating a discussion on that, I'd be happy to help if asked. I'd need support. --Abd (talk) 23:16, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

In this case, the photo was renominated and failed. If that close followed policy, this is done. --Abd (talk) 23:16, 26 March 2015 (UTC) The concern here would be the possible majority for featuring in the first discussion, and the still-close balance in the second. If this were skillfully handled, the second discussion would be more representative. There were 22 votes in the first, and 21 in the second. (as I read it.) This is not a poster child for a demonstration of the problem. I'd be careful. You have a discussion open. You may not remove that template. The Commons listing is deceptive, it currently says that the Voting period ends on 4 Apr 2015 at 21:03:47 (UTC) Not if someone doesn't support it and remove the template, it won't. I'm not going to do it. My goal is community consensus, not pushing one side, though some on some side or another may think otherwise. --Abd (talk) 23:31, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Not allowed to speak to you[edit]

**sigh** According to a few, people aren't allowed to share their feelings and opinions with others. We're apparently supposed to keep our opinions to ourselves and not use our talk pages for anything besides warnings, deletions request notices, and other cold, soulless, "neutral" messages. They probably believe that even this message is some heinous crime, even though our messages to each other hasn't harmed anyone. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 11:48, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Michael, of course you are allowed to speak to me. You may do so on-wiki or off. If you do it on-wiki, there can be consequences. That's reality. Watch out for this "supposed" or "allowed." You are reactive, is the word, and what you are referring to is the reactivity of others. It's common, to be sure, and it is disempowering. What "they probably believe" is, first of all, not our business, and, second of all, may be a fantasy. A least my crystal ball was out of order last time I checked. While I might or might not be good at reading minds, in any particular situation, it may be more empowering to pretend that I can't. This, then, gives more room for another to shift their position, or to clarify it.
Reactivity comes from primitive survival responses, mediated by the amygdala. This is basic human psychology. These responses are designed for emergencies, immediate decision, where delay could be fatal. Humans have developed the capacity for something else, and when we awaken to this, life transforms. It becomes creation, not merely reaction. We begin to operate on a very different level, and not only is this level more intelligent -- because the frantic reactions of the amygdala have been quieted; detachment isn't possible when we believe in "wrong" -- but it also appears to connect with the same in others. As one person calms, so do others, and collective intelligence, which is far deeper and more informed than possible for any individual, begins to function.
Trust it! This is not about "truth," it's about a choice that works as a stand. I have made this choice in situations that seemed completely impossible, and miracles happened. They were not really miracles, they were merely unexpected and were actually created, by something larger than my conscious mind (but I did know what I was doing). So, fasten your seat belt! If you actually pay attention to what I'm writing, your entire life could transform. Are you ready for that? --Abd (talk) 17:02, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

RE: Wiki process[edit]

A lot of people, especially on the Internet, believe that arguments are "won" with quippy remarks. "tl;dr, <whatever>" is an expression of quippiness. People often see this ("one-liners") in comedy and action films and imitate it. Even I'm guilty of it. I'm a 90's guy, so I grew up watching films and TV shows by people such as Josh Wheldon. TV shows of my era have obnoxious characters who are likeable, and comedians of my era (Dane Cook) adopted obnoxious personae during their routine (yes, people pay money to watch and then cheer on obnoxiousness). Now back to point: People care about being looking cool during online arguing, and the easiest way to look cool is to put others down with quippy remarks. That's why the comments section of online news articles are so toxic.

I'm not fond of the ArbCom election process. The current election system is Plurality-at-large voting, and the second sentence of that enwiki article reads:

Although multiple winners are elected simultaneously, block voting is not a system for obtaining proportional representation; instead, the usual result is that the largest single group wins every seat by electing a slate of candidates, resulting in a landslide.

Since every Arbitrator is elected by the majority, every Arbitrator represents the majority. None of the Arbitrators represent a minority. None of them represent the unpopular, the down-trodden, or the disenfranchised. People keep calling for more diversity, yet they don't seem to understand that the system itself prevents diversity. I've seen the single transferable vote proposed many times as an alternative voting system, yet the people keep rejected it, even though such a change would create a diverse ArbCom and benefit the community.

Patience is good. I'm trying to become more approachable and less combative. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 18:23, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

On the election method, they have confused support with representation. Every arbitrator, in some sense, represents the community. STV is better, but still makes compromises that are not necessary. STV, by the way, is famous for electing disreputable types. In the United States, in New York, STV was dumped because it elected Negroes and Socialists. Obviously a bad election method, eh? The reality: it elected representatives of more of the public, which happened to include Negroes and Socialists. What was suggested on enwiki was an experiment, w:WP:PRX with delegable proxy, if users were allowed to designate a "proxy," who was given no actual representative ability, it was just a test of the system. Delegable Proxy as an article, which had existed for years, was deleted immediately when PRX was proposed. I was a major theorist of DP, but that article had existed from before I was active on the wiki. The related Asset Voting followed. Asset Voting is a way to create a fully representative assembly with a desired number of members (Delegable Proxy was early on called Liquid Democracy, because it is so ad hoc and unpredictable). Asset Voting was invented (though not called that) by w:Lewis Carroll in the 1880s. He was a major theorist of STV, and Asset Voting is STV with free delegation of votes. He realized that the method solved a major deficiency of STV. Voters need only vote for their favorite, they do not need to create a list, and the ranked list aspect of STV has major problems, though if there are enough representatives being elected, they lessen.
Yes, the method used for Arbitrators is called approval-at-large or the the fixed number of votes version is called plurality-at-large. It is well known to create a very biased assembly. Suppose that people vote by political affiliation, and a district has a majority party, say 55% Party X. Approval at large will produce 100% Party X. That's an extreme case, but I think you get the idea. So if there is some general issue that is important to Wikipedians, and if they assess candidates by that issue, the majority position is 100% elected to ArbCom, and the minority position is not at the table. At all. So consensus cannot be negotiated at the ArbCom level. The positions are not represented.
Asset Voting creates representatives who are actually chosen by voters. In a good Asset system, every elected representative is chosen as representative either by a quota of voters or a group chosen by a quota of voters. Further, Asset systems can be designed to be 100% representative, i.e., anyone who wants to be at the table may at least vote on proposals being discussed by an Assembly, if they don't leave their vote to their chosen representative. To have that privilege, they must be registered as a "member," or "candidate," and thus eligible to receive votes. I'm assuming anonymous voting. The voters on issues and process cannot be fully anonymous. (They can be accounts, but, in fact, I'd suggest real-world identity for representatives in such a system.) If open voting is used, Delegable Proxy is simpler. Asset is designed as a secret-ballot method.
For centuries, we have thought of elected representatives as representing the voters, when, in fact, they have been elected to represent districts. It's quite common that such representatives would not be approved even by a majority. But few people think about the structural foundations of democracy. Asset Voting would radically transform that. And that scares the hell out of some people, who believe that most people are ignorant and would wreck the place if they get the chance. I've even seen opposition to full representation in organizations working for democracy. Basically, "We know better than the ordinary members, we have been working for this cause for many years, they really don't know, and we certainly allow people opposed to our Favorite Cause to participate!" Hence the w:Iron law of oligarchy. It's not actually an iron law, there is a fix, but it's rare that the elements are in place and the community realizes the problem.
I know of only one large organization that has handled the issue reasonably well, and that is Alcoholics Anonymous, which does it with a hybrid organization. There is a corporation and there is a community which supports the corporation, but which maintains rigorous independence, the organization has no power over the community. The corporation has a policy of not accepting large donations, it is continuously dependent upon the voluntary support of members and local intergroups. It never supports local groups, beyond serving them, mostly by providing publications that have been approved by wide consensus. Local groups may publish their own material if they want. What does that sound like we thought we had? But AA managed the trick with some invented traditions that prevented what we have seen from happening. Our own little project was unaware of the problem -- unlike the major founder of AA, who studied organizational history -- so it was a sitting duck for the routine. --Abd (talk) 20:42, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

RE: about bringing an issue to broader attention[edit]

Thanks for the advice; I'll keep it in mind. We're a long way away from "make or break" time, and there's still time to prepare. As I've stated at the Village Pump, I'm mainly just interested in having ideas bounce around at the moment. The time for a concrete proposal will come later. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 19:10, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Well, the Village Pump is pretty much the top-level discussion space on Commons, short of something site-noticed. Be careful of a common wiki phenomenon: burning out the audience. When they see the same topic come up more than once, attention often begins to be suppressed. Basically, large-scale discussions get more difficult, for finding genuine consensus, not easier. Yes, you may get more ideas, but there are other ways to do that. --Abd (talk) 20:14, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

RE: Among the missing[edit]

Thanks for the message, but it's Jkadavoor who you should really be reaching out to. After all, it's his message, not mine, and aside from removing stuff that should obviously be removed, I would rather not override someone else's comments. If I override Jkadavoor's opinion with my my own, then I wouldn't be any better than the people removing Penyulap's entry from the page. I'm not here to impose the "correct" POV on the page. Jkadavoor is passionate, yet reasonable. Please speak to him.

I'm already aware of Ottava's tendency to switch from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. The relationship between Ottava and me used to be pretty smooth, but that changed in May 2013, when I decided to defend a user that Ottava was (wrongfully, in my opinion) interrogating. Ottava persisted in his interrogation activities, and since the moderators here aren't really proactive (most moderators here avoid issues instead of stepping in), I decided to moderate the discussion myself. After that, Ottava went ballistic and started attacking me. In order to keep the peace, I conceded.

In July 2013, Fæ attempted to convince the community to ban Ottava. The discussion grew into a giant mess, and MichaelMaggs decided to start the discussion afresh with a cleaner format. Ottava complained, but I supported MichaelMagg's decision. For some reason, Ottava felt that the chaotic mess of a discussion favored him (when it clearly didn't).

Ottava retaliated against my defense of MichaelMaggs by reopening age-old wounds and trying to have me banned. I was afraid that one of my enemies (e.g. Russavia) was going use Ottava's postings as an excuse to have me banned, so I responded out of fear and self-preservation: I sought to ban Ottava before he could ban me. I shouldn't had done that, although I was technically right: Ottava was forbidden from creating AN threads about other users, and Ottava created a thread about me in violation of that provision.

Fortunately, a sysop stepped in and moderated the discussion (a very rare event, as I mentioned earlier). After several days of clearing my head, I let the community hear my final position on Ottava Rima, and that position didn't involve banning Ottava; I'm simply reminded the community that moderation is a great tool when used rather than avoided and that Ottava should be reminded of his restricted access to AN and the reasons those restrictions were in place.

In August 2013, Fæ made a second bid at having Ottava banned. I didn't participate in that discussion. I don't recall if my lack of participation was the result of not knowing about the discussion while it was in progress or if I intentionally avoided participation in it. Whatever the case, Ottava was banned, and I doubt that my participation would've prevented that.

Soon afterward, former Meta sysop Nemo_bis swooped in and attempted to have Ottava globally banned. I defended Ottava against the proposed global ban.

In December 2014, I defended Thryduulf against a vicious accusation or remark (I don't remember exactly), and Ottava responded by giving me a "warning".

My experience with Ottava hasn't been very pleasant, but I sympathize with a him a bit. I don't believe that he should be banned, and I would welcome Ottava's unbanning. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 03:03, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

Hmm; I just glance through his comment at Michaeldsuarez's talk. Most of it is off-Commons matters which are not relevant here. I still believe that block was out of process as there was no prior discussion on his talk page before proceeding to AN/U. I saw many place, ABD argued for satisfying formalities before a block. The process should be uniform. Otherwise it will be called "double-stand".
I'm not a person keeping grudges against people who have problem with me. I don't care what they did to me in past. I always want to remember people by the time when we both use it as our Heavenly Father intended to be. BTW, I just added two more people, today. We disagree on the topic about the need of allowing non-commercial licensed works in Commons; but it is not a reason to suppress his memories here; I think. Please don't expect more comment about this types of topic from me as I'm heavily uninterested. Jee 03:18, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Jee, I've known and interacted with the person extensively for many years, starting in about 2008, as I recall, originally supporting him, and still, even later, advising him so that he could remain a productive user, he simply argued against it and kept up his attacks. This is not a civil user, overall. He truly hates other users, and carries grudges for years, attacking them whenever an occasion presents. I once saw him appear to recognize this, and he apologized, in general. Then came right back to the behavior in fairly short order. I recognize the behavior, understand some of the roots of it, or could, and how to transform it, but the last person he'd listen to could be me.
Yes. Users should be warned before being indeffed. If there was a restriction in place, a warning might be accompanied by a short block, but in this user's case, if you look at the block log, it's not like there was no warning.
In any case, here, his talk page behavior when indeffed the last time showed no intention to respect the community. He argued tendentiously with a user who was trying to help him. Number one rule when blocked on a WMF wiki: do not attack the blocking admin. It almost never works, unless one has a supporting faction that wants to get rid of that admin. By this time, the user had burned out any possibility of that. He is only indeffed on enwiki and here, but those are both discussed bans, he would be already be eligible for a global ban discussion. But who is going to start it? It would create more heat than light.
He has most recently edited meta, over three months ago. contributions. Notice his last edit, responding to a warning from a steward. His behavior there has not been much different from before, when he was indeffed based on a discussion on meta. If he doesn't start that behavior up again, nothing will happen. But if he does, he could become the second user to be globally banned by the community. Or not. It's like he has nine lives. Sure, he's strong on "child protection." Except he attacks people who actually have children and who know the realities of life, which he doesn't. If he ever has a child, I'd be worried about the kid, unless he goes through some transformation. He believes that nudity is intrinsically sexual, as one example. Anyone who actually has expertise in human sexuality, and real child protection, he will attack if they disclose what is known about pedophilia, etc. He's totally sincere, I think, but not sane. He routinely lies, except I think he doesn't realize what he's doing, he believes what he writes, but it is radically incautious, because he's not capable of caution when his emotions are engaged, which is not uncommon. Unfortunately, he hasn't matured, it's not going away, his extreme reactivity. He is much better off not editing, he had a PhD thesis he was working on. If he ever wants to do it, he'd be welcome back at Wikiversity, he could create resources on his favorite topics with complete freedom and not be molested. But I don't think he could handle it, he'd see my name and it would drive him crazy. I'd love to be wrong about that! --Abd (talk) 04:41, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
"Number one rule when blocked on a WMF wiki: do not attack the blocking admin." I disagree. Jee 04:56, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
The exception proves the rule. There are users who do get away with it, for a time, and they often end up banned or indeffed. Jee, you apparently don't know the long term trends on this.
You linked to a block log. There was no talk page conversation on that block visible. The block was not noted on the user's talk page. It was reverted by another admin apparently without discussion. That's called "wheel warring," and it is a sign of a dysfunctional wiki. (And yes, I've seen that here.) It doesn't show anything of what you might be claiming. This doesn't mean that the block was proper. It means that admins don't trust and respect each other, enough to consult. Unblocking, properly, should never be an emergency. And, yes, I've been abusively blocked, and the admin properly consulted the blocking sysop, as I suggested he do by email. So it took a day. Big deal. Far better to set up functional process than to immediately go after an abusive sysop. Rather, trust the community; if one doesn't, it's only a matter of time before the bell tolls for thee. --Abd (talk) 05:22, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, if I didn't provide enough diffs. See this and this. Jee 05:47, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Jee, I think you may have misunderstood what I wrote. I did not write "do not attack the blocking admin," as a general rule, I wrote "when blocked, do not attack the blocking admin."
The block log shows that Michael was, first block, blocked indef, email and talk page access disabled, with no explanation, other than edit summary, (Please contact me directly for information)
This, on the face, was a classic "privacy protection" block. It is used for accusations of pedophilia, as an example, but is not limited to that. Many ArbCom blocks on enwiki are like this. The block reason is not given. It will be disclosed privately, generally to a highly trusted user, often 'crats will serve this way. On enwiki, it's ArbCom that does this.
The block was undone by another admin, with no evidence of discussion with the blocking admin, and with summary (no reason specify, abusive block). That was wheel-warring. If an admin considers a situation serious enough to make a full block without giving a reason, that should be respected, and if it was a serious mistake, or abusive, as described, desysop process would then be in order. Not wheel-warring. The community would decide on the block through discussion (privately if needed), not wheel-warring.
So, then, the block was restored by another admin, with ((restoring block, see details on AN) long term harassment). This was, again, wheel-warring. Restoring the block could be proper, but not supplying "long term harassment" as a reason. That would not be an emergency (either way), and for harassment to result in an indef block without violated warnings and shorter blocks, improper, again. However, there is no coherent sysop training in WMF wikis, and no generic policy or understanding.
So, then, a highly respected user, WMF wide, restores talk page access, with (This is some sort of joke. The guy has *never* been blocked before, the block is dubious anyway, and he's been utterly silenced. Restoring talk page/email at least while discussion is ongoing. I see no "long-term harassment" here). That was proper and moderate. This admin might have a possible COI due to off-wiki relationships, but the action was so clearly reasonable that it could be moot. If Michael deserved a full-on total ban on one wiki (he could still email users through other wikis), there would be time to decide that in a more leisurely fashion. However, restoring email access could have been problematic, if the unknown abuse or harassment involved email. (That I consider unlikely, but I'm thinking generally, not just about this case.)
Finally, another admin reduced the block to 2 minutes, effectively unblocking while still respecting the original block reason(s), with (Reducing penalty to time served. [2])
In that AN/U discussion, as linked, the edit has been revision-deleted, the summary was (→‎Blocking of Michaeldsuarez: This damages admin community on Commons as a whole).
This is leaping out at me. There were involved issues that require revision deletion or suppression. The original blocking admin was, then, almost certainly correct in refusing to discuss the block openly. Those who claimed that an unexplained block must be overturned do not understand real block policy in difficult situations. en.wiki has thousands of unexplained blocks, that that does not make them abusive. What is truly ironic here is that the original blocking admin was later globally banned without explanation, and some of those who supported immediate unblock have later supported the unexplained global bans. It's obvious: it depends on whose ox is being gored.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Administrators%27_noticeboard/User_problems/Archive_44#Blocking_of_Michaeldsuarez] was the full discussion, except for whatever has been removed by revision deletion. The original discussion was on the admin's user talk page, [3]. There, the admin refused to openly provide information. He sent an email.
The admin's behavior was what could be expected from a Child protection block on enwiki, only probably was not "child protection" directly, but was related to accusations from Michael over that, which will also lead to immediate block on enwiki. I have seen recent editing from Michael, that, if anyone were paying attention, could result in the same. The block would be indef and could very well shut off talk page access and email immediately. It would be appealed, then, by proxy. Not by wheel-warring. (More likely, email access would still be allowed. That's classic, because it still allows appeal to admins, while stopping possible damage from outing or other on-wiki behavior. Email cannot actually be stopped except by a global lock, because a user will have access through other wikis; and even with a global lock, users can register socks and use email before they are detected.)
Again, we could say that this admin was the wrong admin to do this, because of prior conflict. That's true, but Child protection policy and the like trump recusal. Even though the block was indef, that would mean "until the matter is resolved." This affair demonstrated that the Commons community was fractured and not working collaboratively, on critical issues.
This is what should have happened, if Commons had this together. The original blocking admin might block if there was imminent danger, but this would immediately be placed in the hands of oversighters and/or bureaucrats. Ordinary admins would back off. Now, the admin who ended the affair, and who ultimately intervened, was a 'crat. Apparently he was not impressed by the private email? What that means, I don't know, except that I've seen some of his recent activity, and it did not demonstrate a deep understanding of child protection issues and how to handle them. The blocking admin never did, as far as I know, disclose the reason for the block. If it is what I suspect, disclosing it publically (as demanded by many) could have caused harm. That same 'crat apparently tolerated similar accusations against another user, by Michael, and repeated by others, then, in a discussion he just closed. Commons needs policy on this, and needs to wake up and recognize that the community is badly divided and that disruption will continue until the community handles this.
Now, the original point. Michael did not, blocked, attack the blocking admin. In fact, he "retired." Notice that he is not blocked! If, when Alison allowed him talk page access, he had exploded with accusations against the blocking admin and the other admin who blocked him, the outcome might have been quite different. The diffs you gave, Jee, were to the blocking admin's talk page and the AN/U report, which I have linked above. They do not show the reason for the block, there is only speculation that it was retaliation. From the final block reason from the 'crat, it was agreed that Michael had done something problematic, but I don't think the real reason was addressed. And still has not been addressed.
Michael is a critic of wiki process. He has strong opinions, but he is also cooperative. If he were warned by an admin, he is very unlikely to continue a problem behavior. He has not been warned, as far as I can tell, on what the blocking admin possibly had in mind. Hence I would not suggest a block or ban.
The blocking admin's handling of this was possibly correct but not skillful, given the politics. His public response was inadequate, not strong enough. I.e., instead of just saying " as much as I would like to be able to answer this question, I simply can not," he could have made a positive statement. As an example, "I have disclosed the reason for the block in an email to all Commons 'crats and oversighters, the matter is now in their hands." Further, if there was material needing oversight, that would have been the first thing to handle, and that is always done privately, at least by skillful users. One does not create an on-wiki red flag encouraging everyone to look at what should be hidden!
Once the oversighting has been done, there is no policy preventing disclosing a block reason of "outing," or "making edits requiring oversight," but, then, a warning would be appropriate first (and is often issued when edits are oversighted). Hence the admin acted without a deep understanding of how to handle such issues, and that can be traced to missing policy and community supervision of administration. We do not expect admins to be perfect, or at least shouldn't. --Abd (talk) 17:13, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
I thought about replying earlier, but I was curious about what conclusions Abd would draw up without my intervention. Abd's conclusions, although wrong, were a useful window into his idea and opinion of me and my habits.

Anyway, the May 2014 incident didn't have anything to do with pedophiles or the safety of children. It was actually about a comment I made on a Request for Checkuser rights discussion. During that discussion, Fæ was interrogating the candidate Krd. As stated in my initial post in this thread, I'm not fond of interrogations or interrogators (it was my stance against interrogations that led me into a conflict with Ottava). I knew all too well what Fae's motives were at interrogating Krd, and I'm not a fan of secrecy and dishonesty, so I revealed those motivations to Krd. Fæ overreacted. Fæ's comment has been RevDel'led, but I can explain it to you via Email.

On the next day, Fæ's friend / patron Russavia used Fæ's outburst as an excuse to block my account. Although i disagee with how my enemy and Fæ's friend seized the opportunity to have me quickly and quietly banned, I admit that I was too abrasive and confrontational. I took what Túrelio to heart, apologized, and retired. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 20:20, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

I sent you an Email. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 20:34, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict with above) Emails are welcome. Michael, if that were the cause, Russavia's secrecy was very odd, and his block a drastic over-reaction, for basically nothing, i.e, for something that would deserve a warning, under those conditions, not an indef block. It still should have been handled as I suggested. The principle that that series of events would seem to establish would be that all blocks should be explained on-wiki, openly, which is very bad policy. Jee pointed to that sequence here, in which he was involved (on the "blocks must be explained" side.) I know, Michael, that your positions are not necessarily simple and not necessarily self-serving. If someone wanted "quiet," they sure picked a strange way to do it.
I've watched conflicts grow over the years, as history expands like a weight. My training tells me that's not only not necessary, it's essentially foolish. People are complicated, not Good and Bad. A sane wiki will bring out the best in people, and avert damage from what is less skillful and cooperative. Instead, it becomes a game of identifying and blocking the Bad Guys. It's very primitive social structure, common with mob rule. I can see attempts to create other than that, on enwiki, for example. Half-hearted, frustrated attempts, because the defacto structure got too large to fix, without intervention, and those who could have intervened were, I think, worried about the tiger they had caught by the tail. What if the community stopped working for the wiki? What if Valuable User, a hard worker, who was also an abusive administrator, goes away insulted when advised to stop? Can't have that. The price? A few bad blocks, so what? It's only a wiki. Let them eat cake.
The problem is not that abusive admin. The problem is us.
If we accept that we are the problem, we can then fix it. Until then, it is "them," and damn it! They won't cooperate! --Abd (talk) 20:43, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Like I said, I sent you an Email. You should read it. It contains one detail, but it might change your view of the situation and how it should've been handled. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 20:59, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
I've responded, on this and that. Yes, better that was not on-wiki. Feel free to consult or inform by e-mail. I treat it as confidential. I.e., you can make mistakes! As to how the situation should have been handled, my comments above did not assume that the blocking administrator was correct. At all. What I pointed out was that a blocking admin who says "Can't explain," should be respected, but not assumed to be correct or incorrect. Rather, if there is a claim that the reason must remain confidential, the wiki has users who are chosen for reliability on that. These are not ordinary administrators, this would be the oversighters, most of all, and checkusers are chosen for discretion, and also bureaucrats. Those users have private communication channels, and can be emailed. Any admin should know how to do that.
The actual facts behind the block in the case described are not the point. I speculated and speculations can always be wrong. However, what I was pointing to was that it is not correct that all blocks must be explained on-wiki, and what is remarkable here is that those who now are very happy to accept unexplained locks (far more disruptive than blocks, they disallow all access to the account, including the watchlist, email settings, etc.) were very upset when that admin made an block for secret reason. It really is the same issue, only the decision made by a different party or organization.
In fact, the matter was turned over to at least one 'crat. Before that was unnecessary mess, creating more conflict, taking sides, etc.
One of the weirdnesses of the WMF wikis is that blocks are a Big Deal. In fact, a block should be like the chair of a meeting removing a member from the assembly room. This happens all the time in real organizations, because people get upset, and won't shut up, disrupting the meeting. But the member is not banned. The expulsion order is just for that meeting (and usually the member may return after he or she has calmed down.) There is no record kept, generally. Obviously, if this happened every meeting, someone might propose the member be expelled. That usually takes supermajority, at least two-thirds vote, and with other safeguards against abuse.
If a block is No Big Deal, just an enforced stop, the problem is? The problem is that there is no consistency and no predictability. It's been called "instruction creep." So nobody really knows what to expect. There is little or no guidance. Users are supposed to figure out how to handle being blocked with very little advice. If they are lucky, someone notices and tries to help.
And wikis punish, a whole other level of problem. Theoretically, no, as to enwiki policy. In practice, very much yes. Same here.
By the way, I blocked a user with whom I had established conflict. He was threatening other users that stewards were going to show up and block them as soon as they could get around it, attempting to intimidate. I blocked and immediately notified the community, because this was an involved block, done as an emergency. The block was immediately undone with no consideration of the block reason and no consultation. And the result was much more disruption. And looking through his history, one can find many examples of such unblocks that didn't consider the block reason, but only the person of the blocking admin. What he had done was to create many conflicts, such that most admins who might block -- the most active admins, who would see the situation -- would be under a recusal obligation. I wrote policy on Wikiversity to handle that situation, it was reverted by him and his friends. It all became politics.
I will eventually go back and restore that work. It's not urgent, current Wikiversity administration is very good, understands due process, etc. But these things should be documented. One of the Wikiversity goals (for a long time) has been to develop training in being a WMF sysop. One can see, on meta, the consequences of poor training: useless and unnecessary conflict. --Abd (talk) 21:49, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

Missed 2[edit]

Commons_talk:We_miss_you#Memory_footprint_of_missed_users – Looks like there'll be an edit count requirement (1,000 edits) in addition to voting now. I was never fond of the obsession with edit counts that many wiki users seem to have. The only wiki that utilizes edit counts in a meaningful way is dewiki (the German Wikipedia). There, users are automatically granted "Editor" ("Sichter") rights when they cross a certain threshold (de:Wikipedia:Gesichtete_Versionen#Vergabe). "No questions asked" promotions are a neat way to operate a wiki and should be adopted by other wikis. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 13:17, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Well, 1000 is fairly high. This is an attempt to regulate expression of feeling based on "notability" of the object of feeling. There is no recognition of quality. I.e., a user could readily create 1000 edits by watching Recent Changes, or even by just being incautious in editing, i.e, making many edits in place of one, which some users do.
However, this kind of blunt opinion is not uncommon. There is no consideration of efficiency, again not uncommon, though I'll grant the proposer this: it is an easy standard to apply, and if the user wants to maintain the page by removing listings with less than 1K edits, it's the user's waste of time, not mine.
I will note one error: the edit count for Tisane does not consider his known socks. Because Tisane only edited with one account at a time, at least normally, because he never again used accounts once he abandoned them (and he abandoned accounts *before* problems, on occasion), i.e, he was not violating Commons policy (AFAIK), he has quite a few more legitimate edits to Commons, merely using his currently active SUL, and, in any case, "legitimate edits" is not the standard. Socks are easily found on Wikipedia, and the latest account, used for probably the longest period of time and most widely and legitimately, was Leucosticte, 48 edits on Commons. Tisane[4] had 17. Sarsaparilla had 5. There is another former account known to me (and noted on Wikipedia, but not easily accessible), quite old, with 10 edits to Commons (this user actually dates back to early in WMF history, the earliest account I know was not his earliest account, by far), but privacy policy would suggest not pointing to that account. The others are openly linked on Wikipedia. There are many other Wikipedia socks, all short term, not worth checking for edits to Commons. So, not counting that old account, the edit count is not 17, it's 70. For what it's worth, which isn't much.
I would assume that if someone wants to list an account and include known socks, they should specify them. I did add Leucosticte to the Tisane listing, but apparently that wasn't noticed.
I'm not going to vote on the count. And the importance of this is?
I see currently 3 in support, including the proposer, one opposed, you. There has been little time for consensus to gather. I would make no assumptions. I'm not seeing a response there that is directly on point, basically a claim that the user must be "notable." Before, the proposer of this limit was content with three users supporting listing. If three users support a listing in spite of a "limit," can they propose it? 1000 is not going to be Commons policy, it would be a page guideline, and exceptions can be made. So then the exception is debated. Thus defeating the purpose of keeping it simple. All just to stop what is at this point four listings out of 25.
1000 is high. Someone can have an impact on the community, and even be reasonably well known, with much less than 1000
Okay, I'll make a suggestion on that page. Notice, Michael, that page is on my watchlist, and I get email notification of such. I'd have seen this and so your note here is not canvassing. It is simply consultation. --Abd (talk) 15:14, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Ban appeal reference[edit]

I mentioned you as a reference for this year's ban appeal. I sent you a copy of my appeal to them via Email (please check your inbox). ArbCom might ask you about your thoughts on allowing me return and ask you to recommend restrictions and such. I recommended you since I worked with you more closely than any other person here. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 20:24, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

Aw that's really funny. I'm still banned, but at least one arbitrator might consider me a good reference. Yes, I saw the appeal. Nice. Good luck. I'll respond if they ask. --Abd (talk) 22:27, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
Cool, thanks. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 22:47, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

Has an attempt at rapprochement ever gone so wrong?[edit]

After same routine work at Meta, I saw the following:

I was like, "Whoa, two people are using my name and my past to advance their arguing," and not only that, it appeared as if Jkadavoor was claiming that I said something that I know that I didn't say. People using me in their dispute and possibly stirring a misunderstanding about what I said?

I stepped in. I told Jkadavoor that I didn't say such a thing and told him not to bring into his arguments with others. Then I told Fæ to go easy on INeverCry. I told him that INeverCry had a similar experience with retiring under pressure that Fæ once had in hopes that Fæ could see things through INeverCry's eyes and understand how he felt. I also told him that I was sorry and that I, too, retired under pressure. I was attempting rapprochement between the INeverCry, him, and me.

It turned out that Jkadavoor, who's Indian, wasn't putting words in my mouth but simply didn't say what he meant quite right.

Meanwhile, Fæ failed to understand what I was getting at, and turned his offensive away from INeverCry and towards me: Commons:Village_pump#Requested_move_of_File:Pussy.jpg. Knowing how passive and unwilling sysops are to step in and moderate discussion, I decided to moderate the discussion myself. If the sysops weren't going to end the disruption, then I figured that I had to do it myself, but Fæ undid my closure.

The initiator of the thread eventually expressed displeasure at how his thread was hijacked.

Are online attempts at rapprochement and reconciliation feasible? Or even worthwhile? Are all such attempts doomed to fail? Do you have any experience in this area? I hate the idea that my attempts have only made things worse. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 18:52, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

I haven't checked the specifics yet, but some people are hypersensitive, right? The first step in dealing with that is to notice your own reactivity. It might not be as extreme as what you see, but, Michael, it's obvious that you are reactive. We all are, to some degree or other.
Again, to emphasize, I haven't looked yet, but that Pussy discussion I already noticed, of course, as an example of wiki idiocy. Problem. People argue about whether or not problem is a real problem. Obvious it's a real problem to someone, but if it's not a problem for me, it must not be a problem at all. So, then, someone fixes the problem. And then many argue about whether this was the correct fix or not. And, of course, the other side is Wrong. OMG, they are SO WRONG!
It's a common compulsion: if we see something Wrong, we *must* fix it. Hey, that's a wiki concept: see a problem, w:WP:SOFIXIT. Commons must have restricted file moving, because of massive file linking from the other wikis, but ... taking a file move issue to the Village Pump? Really bad idea. But this kind of thing is done all the time. Chalk it up to poor impulse control and poor understanding of how to get things done with minimal disruption.
Okay, again I haven't looked, but you closed a discussion. Cool. Fae undid that. Have you notice that I've closed discussions here that have then been re-opened? It happens. At that point, usually, I walk away. Not my problem. I've done many non-admin closures on Wikiversity. They get reversed sometimes. The future of those who reverse a good closure is not great. It's a bad sign. It's not bad because they disagree with me, it's a problem because I only close in anticipation of consensus. So if I know what I'm doing -- I usually do -- and someone reverts such a close, well, they are taking their chances, and in the long term, people become visible for what they are.
This doesn't mean that Fae was wrong. I haven't looked, remember.
I find it very weird, myself, but I've seen this weirdness for almost three decades.
(None of this means I don't make mistakes. I make plenty of them. I do hope to learn from them. If I do, there is a way in which some of them are not actually mistakes, they are devices for learning.)
I will look, later today or tomorrow. My goal will be to see if there is harm that can be remediated. Fences that can be mended. My goal will not be to figure out what is wrong, but rather what might be "missing, the presence of which would make a difference." That's my training. It works.
People may still get upset with me. I see someone sawing off a tree limb and they are sitting on it. I tell them. Sometimes they get angry. Now, I could then get angry with them for getting angry at me, but my purpose in the first place was to Save Their F---ing A--. So how about I just keep that purpose, but understand that their consent is a necessary element? Maybe they will get it and maybe they won't, and this really applies to all life on this planet. Good luck.
Ah, one more thing. Your question! Can it work. Yes. And it can be very gratifying. It takes skill. It's worth developing the skill. And you will make mistakes while you are in training. Are you up for it? --Abd (talk) 19:19, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
I want to be, but everything seems so dismal. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 20:02, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
Okay, in spite of how things "seem," are you ready to throw your hat over the fence? "I want to" is no commitment at all. It's as weak as "I'm trying." No "try. Do." Ready? --Abd (talk) 20:07, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Okay, I looked, Wow! I'm actually shocked at what happened. This is obvious: there is a deep well of unexpressed resentment there. It's coming out. Because you are now taking full responsibility for the impact of whatever you did, you will simply hear it. Stop defending, period. If you are asked for fact, supply it, but let others be "wrong." Let appearances settle where they settle, don't attempt to fix them, unless someone *else* will be harmed if you don't correct an error. This is the fast path, Michael, you haven't consented, but I'm assuming. This is about "listening."
  • What were you thinking when you put that "joke" on meta? Reminds me of our friend L. Can't they take a joke? (They can't. So now what?) Look, I can easily think how you would imagine it was "okay." w:WP:NOTCENSORED and all that. Did you actually believe that WP guideline? I've got a bridge you might be interested in. Seriously, that is about *content*, and even that is actually censored. But the meta page was a community page. Not content. An opportunity for users to get sappy over love. And you tossed a bomb in the middle of that. It stuck for two days, I'm a bit surprised. The Gloeden photo lasted longer. Actual child porn (by current definitions).
  • Come on over to Wikiversity and take a look at wikiversity:en:Sexual_politics and especially at Mirkin. Society is in Phase 1 with respect to certain topics. It is obvious that we are in Phase 2 with respect to homosexuality, and many other issues. Thirty or forty years ago, there would have been a lot of content removed from that meta page! (Mirkin is not advocating that any Phase 1 topic move into Phase 2, he was misunderstood. He was a political scientist, describing political realities.)
  • Responses to Phase 1 topics are not rational. They are visceral, emotional. Reason then serves only for practical strategy, argument, and rationalization, backing up the reactivity. It's just the way it is. --Abd (talk) 20:53, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm an idiot, and like Tisane, my sense of humor is the provocative sort. I've heard of the Phrases from Wnt and Tisane. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 12:06, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Okay, I'm really displeased now. I told Fæ to be easy on INeverCry and that INeverCry retreats under pressure. The Russavia-Fæ coalition just caused INeverCry to retreat. They don't seem to realize that their actions cause pain and suffering. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 12:06, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Start here: just stop. Notice your reactions. You have a set of beliefs. Set them aside, interpret less, observe more. You told Fae something. Absolutely unsurprising that Fae paid little or no attention to it. After all, you only yesterday did an about-face. You expect the universe to turn around like that? Further, whose actions caused pain and suffering to whom? Who created the "pressure"? In my training, "pressure" is identified as an invented story (in situations like this.) Start to understand how people function. What was driving INeverCry? And Fae? And you?
INeverCry was acting, using tools, over a controversial matter, and did not find consensus; the discussions I saw were mostly and about evenly divided. Why did he do that, continue to use privileged tools without consensus? It's obvious, Michael, but you tell me. And then tell me the normal and usual result of this. I've seen stewards resign over this.
INeverCry seems to have been a responsible checkuser, and a responsible admin. I don't see a pattern of problem behavior (though, as usual, I haven't looked at everything). However, he was never *trained* on a central point, and that's normal. The wikis don't train admins, not really, nor are users trained, not deliberately, usually. Hence we will continue to bleed users and even highly privileged ones. The only place where admin training is actually set up, as far as I've seen, is Wikiversity. You want to be an administrator? If any permanent custodian agrees to mentor you, you can be an administrator there. That's pretty easy.
Then starts real training. And what commonly takes down an administrator? When they believe they are right and know better than the majority. When they don't trust consensus. They are then pushing the river instead of serving it. If they are not removed, as they might be, sometimes, if they are far enough from consensus, they burn out from the constant struggle to maintain what is "right."
I'll look around, I haven't reviewed today's activity yet, just INeverCry user and talk and what's linked from there. --Abd (talk) 15:08, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
Abd, I've been here for years. I've witnessed everything and observed much. I know their strategy. They've banned Pieter Kuiper, they banned Ottava Rima, they caused Penyulap to leave, and now now they've caused INeverCry to retire. It's the same story again and again: They see someone who disagreed with them, and then they do whatever it takes to force them off the wiki. I know because I was on the receiving end of those attacks. And do you know what? They're still at it, even now. With INeverCry gone, Dschwen is now their target. They don't stop. They never stop. It doesn't end. I tried reasoning, negotiating, and appeasing, yet they're never satisfied. They're going to chase the people they hate off of the wiki, and they still won't be happy because they'll always find a new target to chase. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 17:41, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
You've been here for years? Michael, you were not born when I started working with on-line community. You do have much more experience on Commons. However, there is nothing particularly unusual here. Just what could be expected from site history.
Drop that story, Michael, immediately. The belief in "haters" is part of the problem. I am responding to this, in a way that will either start to heal the situation, or won't. But it's possible. Back up. Watch. Be very careful, make sure that every comment you make, if any, is consistent with the stand you are taking. Your reactivity will lead you to other than that.
Congratulations on your comment on that user talk page. That was a huge step, but it's not going to turn the behemoth around immediately. What if you need to walk in this way for a year? 5 years? Our friend L just sent me a copy of The Alchemist. I suggest reading it, and stop jumping around like a grasshopper.
INC was not "forced off the wiki." Someone can only be chased if they run. Consider this: what if the community wakes up and starts to act coherently? What's possible?
How many people does it take to change the world? It's a question I have considered for years. My conclusion has been "Two." Think about it. --Abd (talk) 18:07, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Thank you[edit]

Thank you for picking up my concern about the bulk upload of fish pictures. I knew an experienced Commons person was needed and am grateful that you have tried t engage with the editor concerned. I think, so long as copyright is obeyed, their actions here are fine. On en WP they are, currently, perceived as disruptive because they appear either unable to engage or to refuse to engage with editors who have tried to guide them. As usual, lack of engagement causes instincts there to cry 'vandal'. Here, a valid picture is a valid picture. Timtrent (talk) 08:53, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

Yes, this user and Wikipedia were headed for a collision. It happens thousands of times a year. Very predictable. The user will also get into trouble here, if not assisted. As well, if we attempt to assist the user, and the user is incommunicative and fails to understand Commons procedures and policies, trouble. The goal on Commons is "freely usable media files." Everything else is, in theory, serving that goal. But people do get confused. Socking is "bad," etc. We are concerned about socking where it makes it difficult to communicate with the user, or where a user runs into a problem with one account, as one of the socks of this user did, and then creates another account doing much the same thing. If the first account were blocked, everything after that becomes offensive, and to be blocked without further consideration, until and unless the first block is resolved. But the user understands nothing of this. They were editing Wikipedia under one account name, and SUL gives them the same name here. When they socked on Wikipedia -- very bad idea, but this very bad idea is often the first thought of a naive blocked user -- they automatically used the new account name here. It is not necessarily an intentional offense. So, please also watch the user's Talk page and assist. We are not going to tolerate real copyvio, but we can assume good faith and give full opportunity for positive performance.
The one point I want to get across to the user is that if something is deleted, they need not give up, if there is a way to satisfy policy. The images are not actually erased, the file is still there, in the database, it is merely hidden so that only administrators can see it. Many naive users assume the worst: not only has their work been erased, the administrator who deleted it is against them. Occasionally we see an administrator become attached, but most are simply following policy and reasonable opinion. If the file is legitimate, we can get it back.
This user received notices of deletion discussions and did not respond. So of course the files were deleted! That is all easily fixed, it just takes some time and process.
If what I think is likely is, here, the actual case, this case is easy. I'm dealing with a much more difficult one .... and I'm afraid that my mentee is ill, he's almost eighty years old and abruptly stopped responding, a drastic change from earlier behavior. --Abd (talk) 16:01, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
I've asked them on en WP to visit their talk page here. Like you I used machine translation into Thai. More is impossible.
Your 80 year old mentee does give cause for concern. We all die, of course. I'm just not looking forward to it hurting when I do! Timtrent (talk) 17:32, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
Ancient wisdom: Suffering is intrinsic to life. That is, old age, disease, and death are the "Three messengers" (that came the Buddha). Pain is just pain, it is not necessarily even "suffering," it depends on our reactions. Yeah, easy to say when I'm not in pain! Except I am in pain. Or am I? I'm 70, and I routinely wake up to pain. I've been a midwife: birth involves pain -- usually (not always).
Pain is mysterious, it tends to disappear when we don't fight it, when we accept it. A couple of years ago I had w:Pleurisy. It felt like I'd been impaled by a spear, I don't imagine a spear being more painful. Yet it was just pain. I didn't "suffer" (which I connect with worry and a sense of something being really wrong, unfair, blah blah) but it hurt. Let's say it got my attention. I made a choice whether or not to call an ambulance, I was living alone at the time. I decided I could always pull over and call 911 from my car, so I took the risk of driving to the hospital, and walked in. Lots of drugs and an MRI later, I had the diagnosis: a spot of pneumonia, leading to pleurisy. "Walking pneumonia." Pleurisy is famous for extreme pain. I had no other symptoms. I did take an antibiotic, but probably it simply resolved. After that day, it was basically gone. The worst thing that day was vomiting from all the pain-killers they gave me. And, in a way, that was fun. Long story!
Last year, my daughter, who was 12, developed w:Complex regional pain syndrome, stemming from a knee injury. She was disabled for months, could not move her knee or allow it to be touched at all, I had to carry her to the bathroom, and she rented a wheelchair to get around outside the home. (Yes, she rented it, long story.) CRPS is also famous for extreme, disabling pain. She lived with it, she was, I'd say, about as happy with CRPS as without it, aside from the moments of extreme pain. She made choices that still made her happy. It's amazing how many orthopedists did not recognize the CRPS, but we finally got the regional expert. He was amazing to watch. He would listen carefully and, obviously, meditate on the patient. Standing there, just grokking her, and then he said, "I believe I know what this is." What he was doing while meditating was touching her knee, and she was grimacing in pain. But he was just touching very, very lightly, minimal contact. w:Allodynia. Diagnostic. Why had nobody else done this? He created a physical therapy program that began the resolution in one session. What did my daughter have to do to recover? She had to accept the experience of excruciating pain. Bottom line, when she did that, the way I interpret it, her nervous system reprogrammed. It was still painful for her, as she did physical therapy, for a few weeks perhaps -- and, after all, she had not walked for two months -- but ... by the end of the second session, she was walking, and returned the wheelchair. "You've been great! She said. "But I don't need you any more." She loved that wheelchair! But ... she didn't want to pay another $45 for another month and it was return it that day or pay more.
So: there are far worse things than pain. I have seven children, the last two adopted, and the children who have had the most pain in their lives are also the most self-expressed.
So, my friend, go figure. Don't worry about pain, it will take care of itself. What I worry about, if anything, is missing all the incredible opportunities life presents, by just sitting in my comfortable habits and excuses. And then I remember that saying, "Don't worry, be happy!" and then "Just do it!" --Abd (talk) 18:21, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for the Allodynia link. My wife suffers from w:fibromyalgia, and I will show her the link. Do you have a link for your expert? We may have one in the UK. Timtrent (talk) 18:32, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
He works for w:Shriners Hospitals for Children in Springfield, Massachusetts, so he specializes in pediatric orthpedics. I'll tell you some more about that story, because it's Saturday and I'm chatty. However, first, what's most important, what relates to your wife.
Allodynia is a symptom that shows that the pain is not coming from physical damage in the place where the pain is experienced, it is originating in the nervous system, which might be in the spine or in the backbrain, probably not in the cerebral cortex. CRPS was first described in gunshot wound survivors in the U.S. Civil War. My understanding of at least one cause of it is that the nervous system develops an automatic protective response. It programs itself to experience intense pain when there is a stimulus to the region -- any stimulus that might represent movement or incipient movement. We could call it a fear response, but it's not that simple. Fear is not the experience of the patient, pain is. It hurts! And so the patient will protect the area and avoid all movement, and react to any touch from anyone else. My daughter was able to suppress the response enough to allow the doctor to touch her. She really didn't like it. Other doctors, examining her, had simply and grossly moved the leg, checking function, causing her extreme pain, and uselessly, and making her angry. When an X-ray was first taking, the technician was in a hurry, and simply forced the leg straight, with her screaming. For a long time after that, she refused to go back to that hospital. I don't blame her, but ... it was just an unskillful technician, needing better training.
This orthopedist was Dr. John DeWeese. He was very respectful, he maintained eye contact, and he kept asking her questions while he was touching her knee. (Later, she had a possible broken arm, so we went back, and I saw the same meditative presence, this is someone who does not jump to conclusions. He several minutes in complete silence with her this time. Later, he personally made a splint for her, spending about a half an hour. He could have delegated that to somebody. He didn't. He just kept telling her she'd be fine.)
We had first gone to her regular pediatric practice for this. They hurt her, but they were thoughtful and caring. They recommended a regular orthopedist, so we went to see one. She was horrible. By the time we had that appointment, Daughter had rented the wheelchair, and the orthopedist said, "You have to get rid of that!" We understood the idea, but the orthopedist had no diagnosis. Just "there is nothing wrong with your knee!" But, in fact, she didn't know that, there were possibilities that had not been ruled out, and that would not show on the diagnostic films. We were told, however, to get her into physical therapy. So where? They told us of possibilities, and added that Shriners Hospital was an option. It was a much further drive. But I knew Shriners, my youngest daughter from the first litter had surgery for scoliosis in San Francisco, when they still had a hospital there. Best care available, anywhere, for kids. So ... even though it was a nuisance to drive there, that's where we went. Daughter still loves the place. Among other things, they have a great cafeteria!
Point: whenever possible, find the experts. I do not worship experts. They make mistakes, I've learned to become knowledgeable myself, so that I can ask the right questions and, as well, tell the difference between experts and ... those merely well-established.
From my own research, CRPS is not well-diagnosed and understood. I cannot know that my daughter's CRPS was similar to that of others, but I have a strong suspicion that CRPS would often respond to what was done with my daughter. Most people, though, would not allow the treatment. Before we would have allowed it, we needed a clear diagnosis, because it's normally a very Bad Idea to cause someone excruciating pain. It might actually be breaking something! But the allodynia, combined with all the thorough work that had been done to rule out direct local causation, gave us intellectual confidence that pain wasn't due to anything breaking. And my entire history led me to know that pain, itself, is healing.
So I'm proud of my daughter. The pain of CRPS is real pain. That is, to the patient, it is indistinguishable from intense local or regional pain. We could say that it was in her head, but we'd need to include the spinal column -- it appears that sometimes CRPS is spinally mediated -- and we'd also have to understand that all pain is in the head. I.e., it's an experience interpreted in the brain.
As soon as DeWeese made his diagnosis, he then said, "You are going to be fine. Here, meet Maureen. She has worked with CRPS. She will start today, and I want you back here every day (i.e., 5 days a week) until this is better." They did not mess around.
So what did Maureen do? She straightened the leg. Daughter was afraid she was going to bite her tongue off. Her leg had not been straight for two months. Maureen bent the leg very slowly and carefully until Daughter reached the limit of what she could tolerate. It was all done with full communication. Nothing was a surprise. She would reach that limit, and then wait. And then go a little further. Then, with Daughter laying on the exam table, leg straight, she said, "Take a photo of this, because when you get home, you won't believe that this happened." She was right. She gave us a splint to hold the leg straight, but told Daughter to take it off, only wear it for a certain time. When we took it off at home, I was able, once, to get the leg straight again, but Daughter got really angry with me (seemed like I couldn't do anything right!), I gave up at one point, then, she said, No, please do it.
The first session had been Friday, so we didn't go back until Monday. On Monday, Maureen straightened the leg again, and also had Daughter put her weight on the foot. And gradually more weight, and in that same session, she had Daughter walking. So we saw what would often be considered a complete miracle. Intractable pain, disabling. Now healing and only needing therapy to recover normal leg function. But not terribly mysterious, to me.
What allowed Daughter to heal was her own courage. It took great courage to trust me, and the doctor, and Maureen. This is what I already knew: when we accept pain, something happens. It is not always predictable, but I've relieved migraine headaches this way and it's a known technique among some.
So ... fibromyalgia. First thing your wife needs is support. Then she needs more support. What to support? First of all, her experience is real, as real as pain gets. It hurts. Make sure she knows that you fully accept that.
I'm not sure the allodynia associated with fibromyalgia is like that of CRPS. Daughter's allodynia was truly sensitive, the lightest touch triggered the pain. But you will find out.
You will want to find out as much as possible about your wife's actual physical condition, beyond how it feels to her. With my daughter, we needed to know that not only was there nothing currently out of place with her knee, the pain wasn't about her knee, even though the feeling of pain was there. (One of the things DeWeese told us was that she had probably had a subluxated kneecap, as the triggering condition. It can be very painful. It had then gone back into place, so the X-rays and MRI showed nothing. Part of the treatment, she was given a knee brace to wear when she exercises, to avoid such a subluxation, because it appears she was prone to it. Her prior complaints had been ignored by those in her life that thought she was faking, overdramatic, and, in fact, she was dramatic, very dramatic. I interpret that differently from them. It isn't bad or wrong. She is just dramatic!
So I'd suggest starting with yourself: accept your wife's pain. Accept all the consequences of it, how it impacts you. If you do this, if you practice it (and this takes practice!) you will then be able to be present with her in her pain. Your acceptance will encourage her acceptance. She will experience it as love.
"Acceptance" never makes pain worse. Okay, I've had an experience where it seemed to. Almost thirty years ago, I was having a headache, and, as I'd learned to do, I noticed my own reaction to the pain, my pulling away, the fear reaction, the raised shoulders, etc., and let go of it and just felt the pain. I was quite spoiled. For years, the pain would just disappear. I would also take ibuprofen and niacin (not niacinimide, the flush is probably part of what is functional in treatment of migraines). I did the same this time. But this time, the pain got worse and worse, became totally intense, until I actually started screaming.
And then it was completely gone. What had happened? I don't know. Maybe I needed to scream! There are rules against that, you know, men screaming. We are not supposed to scream! I'm glad my kids weren't home!
Since that time, I still get migraines, but no pain with them. I get the visual symptoms, the w:scintillating scotoma, and I've become fascinated by it. I take niacin, if I can get to it, because the headache indicates to me that I might be niacin-deficient. Maybe. Who knows? I'm a little bit blind when the scotoma is at peak intensity. The brain is an amazing thing.
That Wikipedia article on the scotoma is much better than I remember. The first image is punk, but the others are quite good. The article claims that "Many migraine sufferers evolve from scintillating scotoma as a prodrome to migraine to scintillating scotoma without migraine." That would be me, starting in my teens. However, the source given, as far as I could tell, doesn't support that. Ah, Wikipedia. I'm glad I'm banned! An endless source of distraction.
I know little about fibromyalgia except I had a wife with it (possibly, the diagnosis was never certain). The adopted mother of the CRPS Daughter, in fact, who thinks I'm crazy as a loon. Hmm....
My experience with that headache that "got worse" actually proved the rule. It didn't get worse, it resolved, it merely went through a crisis. I am quite convinced that if I'm dying, and accept it -- which, by the way, does not mean not doing anything about it, acceptance is accepting what is, which can include limitless possibilities, including those of healing, even miraculous healing -- I will know much better what to do, how to be, in the situation, than if I'm upset.
So good luck, and my best wishes for you, your wife, and your health. --Abd (talk) 21:02, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
Thank you. All I know about her pain is that it is 'pointless' in that it is just pain, and pain without a constructive use. It comes after a surgical injury where pain relief failed, so has great similarities with what you describe. I will do more research. Timtrent (talk) 08:49, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
Great. Now, my suggestion. "All I know ... is that it is pointless." That is not a knowing, it's a stand, and it is a disempowering one. Rather, I suggest, reframe. Recognize that "it is pointless" is meaningless, practically by definition. Ontologically, both meaning and pointlessness are inventions, we make them up. They are either created out of choice or as a reaction. I suggest that you *choose* that there is a point, you just don't know it, and you might never know it, at least not consciously. But the attitude, the approach, that there is a meaning to pain and, in fact, to the entire panalopy of life, leads to openings that cannot be predicted, except that I know, from long experience, they have always come, when I took this kind of stand. Perhaps the point is to discover something profound about pain, about love, about critical life skills, about what it takes to be a parent, should that come around.
When my pain is "pointless," I can't stand it! But if there is a purpose, I may gladly endure it. The same pain. So ... consider that your wife is on an adventure. She is climbing Everest. It friggin' hurts! But, ah, the view from the top!
I mentioned I was a midwife. There was a standard sign of transition, the point where the head is crowning and is about or starting to descend. That sign was that the woman says, "I can't do this!" She is right. She can't. The birth process is not a conscious function, and what a woman who knows how to give birth does is to get out of the way. When I was studying to deliver my second child (my first was born in a hospital), the obstetrician who loaned me his copy of DeLee (w:Joseph DeLee, looking at the bio now, it's totally ironic), told me this: "The woman gets out of the way and the obstetrician is the Messiah." He was being sarcastic, but I knew what he was talking about.
The obstetrician who delivered my first baby made major mistakes, but when that boy was born, in spite of his craziness, the world was full of light and I was effusively grateful to him and everyone. (He was prepping the mother for a C-section, overreacting to a lowered fetal heart rate, not understanding that this was caused by cord compression from the baby descending, not checking for transition (like, actually put your finger in and feel the cervix!), and there were multiple signs that, later, I could look back and, from them, know what was happening. He simply panicked.) It's not rational. She may push, it's instinctive. So when we heard a woman say "I can't," we could tell her, confidently and reassuringly, "You can do this, you are doing it, and it is only a little while now."
As a parent tells their child, screaming in pain, bleeding, while they are on the way to the hospital, and the parents are worried about concussion or whatever, "You will be fine. It's okay. Yes, sweetie, it hurts, I know. And he or she touches the child, gently, soothingly."
A sane parent does not say, "This is stupid. You shouldn't have been climbing in that tree. Didn't I tell you not to? Maybe now you will learn your lesson," angry, blaming, and, in fact, simply reactive. If a parent was aware of what long-term damage can be caused by speaking to the child that way, they would restrain themselves. (It can take much of a lifetime to recognize what was encoded through this, if it is ever recognized. I've seen people in their fifties or later discovering how their entire life was programmed through their response to an angry parent, how it set them up to fail, again and again. And then, once it was distinguished, they could begin to move beyond that.)
The lessons of pain -- if any -- are learned by experiencing the pain, not by being explained by someone else, and certainly not by being told something is wrong.
So the approach that I learned, at first by myself, and then in formal training much later, is to identify and drop my reactions (the knee-jerk responses, they are not wrong, they are part of basic survival mechanisms, including what we have learned as children), and turn toward the experience, to, as much as possible, just experience it. To become curious, what is this? Exactly where is it? Is it constant? Is my body tensing up, cringing from this sensation? Can I let go of that, relaxing?
Sometimes it seems "hard" to relax. So there is a trick: identify the "holding" or "cringing" and deliberately do it. Just hold that for a while and see what happens. What we do we can undo. And we do. We will only hold a response like that, consciously, for a little while, in my experience. And without thinking, we take a breathe and actually let go. It sometimes happens at this point that the pain entirely disappears. Sometimes not. But almost never does it get worse. And, for me, when it did, it was the harbinger of a breakthrough. Perhaps it's the same with a woman in childbirth. Shall we say, giving birth is quite a stretch? So when she starts to rapidly stretch, because this large object is forcing it, it's leverage, of course it could hurt! In yoga training, though, I would hear this: "Aaahhh.... hurts so good!"
So support your wife. How? First, by handling your own reactivity. When you do that, you will find, you will know what to do. The parent with the child in their arms on the way to the hospital must first quiet themselves, before they can quiet the child. What they tell the child is what they are telling themselves. "It's going to be fine." But ... what if they are wrong?
There is a question: "Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?" Life is fragile. It ends. Daughter is learning this, she has rats, beautiful, cuddly, intelligent, lovable rats. And they die. She started with mice, she had one extremely beautiful mouse. It died before one year. No known reason. It just died. She was hysterical. "Life sucks! I'm terrible! I let my mouse die!" She was suicidal. Did I mention she is dramatic? I made sure that she said goodbye, she tossed the first shovelful of dirt in the grave I'd dug (having made a casket from a jar, with Buddy, We Love You, written on the outside). She broke down, dropped the shovel, crying. She learned about grief. And she learned that life is precious, as well. She didn't buy any more mice, she bought two Blue Dumbo Rats. Hey, this is Commons!
Americanblue.jpg
She spent a lot of money on them, for her. Later, she bought two hooded rats, beautiful, rescuing them from being snake food. And then she bought a white rat, who grew and grew, he's enormous, he's about the size of a guinea pig. And then one of her Blue Dumbos developed a strange condition with his eye, I have found no description of it on-line, but he had clearly become blind. She arranged for a vet to see him, and the eye started bleeding on the way to the vet. The vet prescribed three medicines. She bought what the vet couldn't give her as samples. She still puts eye drops -- standard human eye drops -- in the eyes of that rat, twice a day.
And then one of her hooded rats died. Very fast. She was, again, beside herself, and guilty. She had been at a friend's house, I called her and told her he was sick. She decided not to come home, and he was gone when she did. She still regrets not having said goodbye to him, except that she did, on the phone, ask me to hold the phone close to him. She told him she loved him. He had been laying still, breathing hard, clearly having trouble, very unresponsive. He lifted his head to the phone. It makes me cry to remember it. It was clear to me: he felt more comfortable being closer to her. That is, by the way, part of normal pet rat behavior. They love to be close to humans. They feel safe when they are.
And then one of her blue dumbos died. Similar symptoms, except he was much more active right before dying. She was home, half-crazy with helplessness, but then able to quiet herself.
So when she's feeling bad about herself, she brings up how life sucks. After all, her rats died. Yes, daughter, your rats died. And I just sit with her and her grief.
So there is pain in her life. Is it meaningless? I don't think so, at least my stand is that it is a powerful medicine.
She is more careful, now, to spend time with her rats every day, even though she has a rapidly expanding social life. Among other things, she is learning to be a parent, besides what she gets from me. I knew, when I had children, that to have children was to be exposed to pain and grief. It's the same about the choice to be born. I could apply this to some metaphysical idea of pre-existence, but it's enough to me that we choose, every day, to live or to not-live. To risk failure and pain and regret, or to avoid these (and risk the regret of never having fully lived.)
I choose life, and struggle with all my habits, built over a lifetime, that are not consistent with this stand, or I let them go.
Best wishes, Tim, and greetings to your wife.
You make a persuasive point. I was using shorthand. The main thing I understand at present about her pain is that the pain itself has no point in the manner that pain has the point of warning us that we are about to burn ourselves, are cutting ourselves, have broken a leg, are muscle fatigued, etc. As a simple man I see a pain which is pointless. We are, together, working with it, the pain. Meditation has a point, as does self hypnosis. I think they may be slices of the same cake. I know the pain is highly real, and unbearable for her, and that I am, sometimes, impatient over it. I know that all pain is in the mind because that is where pain is,, not in the affected part, but that this is not a mental affliction, albeit made worse by stress and lack of sleep
We understand small creatures well. In our lives we have been owned by four cats, seven English Setters, innumerable guinea pigs, all of who have died. We were particularly sad for one of our dogs. We had not finished with her, but the x rays showed that waking her from anaesthetic would have been a selfish act, so she died all unknowing and calm. We were also sad in a different way, an angry way, for a cat ripped apart by a neighbour's dog, for whom we could do nothing except help her be quiet as she died, while hastening to the vet just in case. Timtrent (talk) 16:42, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes. I respond based on impressions that arise. I am not claiming that my impressions mean anything. Yes, we use shorthand (all the time). Sometimes they indicate something, sometimes it may be just accidental. Sorry about your dog and cat, and sorry about the guinea pigs, as well. Now, this is what I'll suggest from the shorthand above. The pain is not "unbearable for her." It is intense. There is a difference. Do what you can to comfort, support her in what she needs, and she will tell you. When I say that is not unbearable, I'm not making her wrong for saying it is. It is an expression of intensity, just don't believe it. She is bearing it. Stay with her. Our tendency, if we love, is to try to stop the pain, easily we can think there is something wrong. (That's that basic reason for pain you talk about. However, this has moved outside of that, as far as you know. This is a point where, if there were a Pain Off switch, we might throw it. That choice is up to her.)
There are choices. We have choices. You make your choices and she makes hers. The common disempowering position is, "I have no choice. This is the way it is and there is nothing I can do about it." But, notice: we could never possibly know that. Never. All we could know is that we "tried" X and Y and the pain is still there. Or seems to be still there. Is it? How continuous is it? Does it vary? The claim is made in certain trainings that if an entity is fully experienced, it disappears. (It's complicated, and I don't know the system where this is said, not well, but that system is widely accepted, by some, because they are onto something. Is that true? How would we know?
What about Z? We haven't tried Z. Maybe we think there is something wrong with Z, and, besides, it couldn't possibly work.
And then behind this, there is something else. That we are trying X and Y and maybe Z has an obvious motivation. We want to stop the pain. We have not accepted it. We are rejecting it, i.e., we are rejecting a segment of our experience.
Remember, I'm 70. My body isn't working like they used to. When I'm in pain, I know -- from all I've been writing here -- that my task is to accept the pain. Sometimes I will go to the doctor, and, in fact, I'll be doing that next week, I've avoided it for something like two years now. Overdue. However, this is a part of my method: What if this condition, whatever it is, lasted for the rest of my life? Could I handle that? The pleurisy was tough. It's just that it was so intense and I wasn't accustomed to it. Further, it was a sign of a condition that could possibly have become fatal -- even though it basically resolved on its own. Part of my healing was assuring myself that there wasn't more to be done for the pain, and for a possible underlying condition. You are already very aware of that step. Still, for the rest of my life? This is what I know about the mind: it is unable for focus on a single thing for very long. We regret that when we try to meditate, but maybe it's not a bad thing. It means that "this too shall pass," in the language of the twelve-steppers.
One more story. I was assisting at an "advanced" training. I had the freedom of the place, I could be inside the room, watching the training (which I'd already done, but it was great to see it again, in the hands of one of the pioneers of this work, who actually trained the much more famous "founder"), or I could go out for coffee, whatever. I only needed to be there at certain times.
So at one point, a regular member of the team was on the outside door duty. This is supposedly the worst job in the place, because there you are, you have a true master in the room, a rare opportunity to see her doing what she does (and watching this is sometimes more transformative than being in the training as a paying customer), and you are sitting outside, mostly with nothing happening. Your job is, when someone opens the door, hold it so it doesn't slam. And when someone approaches to enter the room, make sure they have a badge on, and open the door for them. Most of the time, you are just sitting there in the hall.
So I relieved that person, and sat there. The door opened and a woman walked out of the Center. A few minutes later she came back and stood across from the door, apparently perplexed. So I asked her if I could help her.
She said, "I can't do this, I'm not Mahatma Gandhi." I engaged her with full eye contact and a presence, that, in fact, is much of what that course is about -- at least it was for me! I said, "You are doing this. You are here." It was like she dropped a huge weight. I opened the door for her and she went in. On Sunday, at the end of the evening, the leader called the assisting team to the stage to be acknowledged. I hesitated because I was not on the regular team. The Production Supervisor saw me hesitating and motioned for me to go, so I did. And there this woman was, sitting in the front row, beaming and applauding. She did it, it was completely obvious. I won't say that she was Mahatma Gandhi, but she was now living in the space in which he (and many others) lived, the full human space, a space of limitless possibilities. --Abd (talk) 21:23, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
I have long believed that our pain threshold, a silly term if there ever was one, is related to the pain we have at that moment. As our pain increases our ability to tolerate it increases. As it decreases the same happens. Thus the threshold is always 100% of th pain we have now, because that is precisely what we are bearing and feeling now. I have persistent low value pain on an absolute scale, but, on my own personal scale it is at least 7 out of 10 because that is how I perceive it. But it varies daily. It is the persistence of it that I find hardest to accept, and yet accept it I do. I cannot change the pain, but I can change how I hold it in my mind. I do this in part by simple mindful meditation, considering the pain and the effect it has on me, and placing it somewhere 'useful'. I an;t think of a better word right now than useful. Timtrent (talk) 22:22, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, "useful" is a generic empowering response. You don't have to know the use yet. Just trusting that it exists then opens up new realms of possibility. "Useless" programs us to see no use. In fact, the entire universe could be seen as useless. After all, it doesn't help us to live forever. Or does it? In the training, it becomes second nature to recognize stories as stories, to distinguish them from "what happens." In a way, everything is a kind of story, but the distinction works. It is useful. It's a very good word. "Good?" Ah, "very useful." --Abd (talk) 22:37, 12 April 2015 (UTC)