User talk:Hans Adler

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TUSC token 47d96d71d3886bb90ad09498589340b7[edit]

I am now proud owner of a TUSC account!

TUSC token 5fd1bd45730bb7b534fc29e28f98d918[edit]

I am now proud owner of a TUSC account!


Hello Hans Adler.

Why did User: Spartaz delet my user talk page on Wikipedia? My account was blocked indefinitely by User:Fram and I left a polite message thanking him or her and adding an image of Nikos Kazantzakis' grave with short quotations from John Banville's The Sea and Jon Stallworthy's The Future Guest and I was surprised to find the entire page deleted by him or her the following day.

What was the reason for that?

I should appreciate an explanation. You will appreciate that I can't use Wikipedia itself to contact you.

I understand you think I am mentally ill, a view I take it shared by your community since I saw no repudiation by any of them rather than a warning to you not to be uncivil in expressing that judgement and risk a block. How does treating me like this help? Would that be some sort of Austrian therapy then?

Thank you.

Rinpoche (talk) 10:11, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

Hi, I was actually thinking about sending you an email about this because I think you most likely are a good-faith editor, although a bit hard to get along with. You have broken some bright-line rules and received Wikipedia's standard treatment for that. A lot of people, especially with anonymous accounts, misbehave rather severely on Wikipedia. And then there are the trolls who create new user accounts again and again after they are blocked, to have all kinds of "fun". I am still not entirely sure you aren't one of them, although there are some subtle things that indicate you are not because it would be too much effort for most trolls to fake them. On the other hand, there are some details that are more than enough reason for suspicion.
The goal is not to treat you but to protect the encyclopedia's inner working against the disruption caused by your presence. There is a general principle that we don't leave "memorials" for trolls, and you have received the troll treatment.
It appears to me that you have enjoyed the conditions of anonymity rather more than was appropriate under the circumstances. It is also clear to me now that in many situations you had a completely wrong mental image of what was going on, and have relied on it too much. This is a normal thing for beginners at online communities and a big problem for Wikipedia. One of the most fundamental, and most ignored (although frequently quoted) behavioural guidelines is "assume good faith". What it really means is that in the absence of intonation and non-verbal cues we must be more positive in our interactions with other editors than we think they deserve. Otherwise there are always escalations that spiral out of control.
I think in our interaction there was an additional element of having an incorrect image of the other that doesn't necessarily have to do with good or bad intentions (the usual reason for this problem). My first working hypothesis about you was that you were a woman who had been involved with a lama at some point and had now adopted a fundamentalist feminist position that allows her to reject her share of responsibility. I was in principle open for other explanations, but may on occasion have relied too much on this one. In any case you have done a very good job of keeping me in principle open-minded about your background throughout.
As you can imagine, it's easier to deal with a person you know a bit about than an anonymous person whose behaviour is hard to judge because you have no idea whether you are dealing with a gang member from Los Angeles or an Anglican priest from Saffron Walden. That's why I am so open about my personal background. So long as nobody abuses the information as a resource for personal attacks (I don't remember an earlier case even half as blatant as this one from my over 3 years with Wikipedia), it reduces stress and contributes to a more harmonious environment.
Since it's very hard to tell on Wikipedia whether someone is consistently delivering dead-pan jokes or just very, very wrong, I still don't know whether you have understood that [[1]] this was a blatant violation of the rule described wikipedia:WP:SARCASM, audaciously presented in front of Wikipedias "Supreme Court". If you really didn't get the joke, read it again, and you will understand that you had a very wrong picture of me. If you did get the joke, read this to see how some other people reacted. How am I supposed to get your meaning if you aren't clear about it?
I also guess that from the beginning you had some funny ideas about my motivations. If you read wikipedia:Talk:Sogyal Rinpoche with an open mind you will see that the main thing I did there was remove a minor instance that had been blown out of all proportion and turned out to be a misquotation and probably about a completely different lama! This is routine work on Wikipedia. If someone says: "What I did is right because that article is even worse", and the editor is actually wrong, then we go to the other article and fix that, too. Wikipedia is not finished, and you can never rely on an approach being correct just because you have seen it in other articles.
If you are really a Buddhist, I suggest you now practise what is called "Loslassen" in German. I don't know the English expression: "releasing"? "letting go?" "detachment"? I learned about this from my brother (who is a Buddhist) and found it very helpful, including in Wikipedia contexts. Although I haven't looked very closely, your contribution history looks very promising contentwise. I am sure it would be good if we could retain you, so long as there is a reasonable balance between the content and the unrest you produce. But you have broken a lot of glass, and at this point you will either have to restore the trust of admins starting from an almost impossible situation, or have to start again anonymously. The latter is not allowed under these circumstances, and if you do it too soon or behave in a similar way again, you will be found out through technical and behavioural means. The best approach if you are really hooked and want to continue editing Wikipedia is to follow wikipedia:WP:Standard offer and contact me in six months so that I can support you. That ensures that some grass grows over the matter, that you will have a relatively clean conscience because you are following the rules, and that you don't have to start immediately with a new conflict because someone else is still angry at you and tries to prevent you from returning. (It may still happen, but if you just make use of the standard offer they will not be taken very seriously.) Hans Adler (talk) 11:46, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Hello Hans,
Thank you very much for this. I do appreciate the time you have taken over this. I can add your English is impeccable. My impression from your SG editing was that it was slightly Germanic.
I understand your remarks about anonymity. I usually contribute to forums under my full name (the short from conflicts with a well known English novelist) but in Wikipedia I wanted initially not to but I can see it's not tenable to continue. My name is William Reid Boyd. I live in Wales, UK and I 'run' a vanity website [] but I haven't done anything with that in months. To describe myself as a 'mathematician' is perhaps a bit vain but I do turn my hand to it from time to time. I might read your Wikiarticle some time but it's a bit more fundamental than what I like in Maths. The joke about O(0) chance of a Rinpoche number is acttually that's it's a 0 chance - of course I've never had a paper let alone a collaborator. I don't even discuss my maths - part of my 'onanistic vows' ;-)
I saw your comment about tenure. I didn't mean it as threatening but then I saw of course it was and re-edited it. I do apologise for that, thoughtless.
I didn't know what a 'troll' was until I read about it in Wkipedia. I have no intention of trolling whatsover. I am largely indifferent to losing my Wiki account though there were projects I had in mind
I lived and worked at the Samye Ling Tibetan Centre in Scotland 1976 - 1978. This was a community that had been notoriously been involved in scandal a decade earlier but was free of those issues at the time I was there. I'm afraid you're quite wrong in your discussion of power relationships in religious communities. They can be very strong indeed and the first academic reference I cited in the article is a notable effort to describe them in two American Buddhist communities tainted by abuse scandals..
I'm afraid I don't have the strength to continue arguing the case for my article. I don't doubt there will be a major scandal sooner or later, possibly even a paedophilic one, and I will be vindicated. Of course the abuse in Asian monasteries is endemic but there are no sources at present, though some are beginning to emerge for the Sri Lankan monasteries.
Thank you for your attention.

Rinpoche (talk) 13:55, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

I can understand your motivations for that list, but Wikipedia is very much limited in what we can do. We can't do our own research but must rely on reliable sources. Newspapers etc. often write things up in such a way as to vaguely imply certain things that they don't actually say. Usually that means that it's not literally true, or that the reporter couldn't verify it. In such cases we are severely restricted in what we can do. In blogs and forums people like to play a huge game of wikipedia:Chinese whispers in which a story gets bigger and bigger and gradually turns from a rumour into a well known, undeniable "truth". The more responsible editors at Wikipedia take great pains to make sure that we are not part of this game. As an encyclopedia, when in doubt we will sometimes understate things or leave them out, rather than provide all the complicated details of a situation that is so complicated that it can't easily be summarised.
If these things exist they should of course come out, but Wikipedia is not a place where they can come out first. We can summarise what has come out already, but must do so fairly. Our standard for fairness is the balance of available reliable sources, not the facts, which we usually can't verify. (There was a case where The Register reported blatantly false things about Wikipedia admin "Sam Blacketer", and some people nearly got away with putting them into an article. This shows how deeply ingrained the principle is for most of us.) A lot of people don't understand this at first, because it is so tempting to think that since you can edit one of the top ten Google hits for a search term, then you can also make sure that the truth about it comes out. But that's not how Wikipedia works.
Interesting to note that you were in fact involved with the Kagyu school – that's what I had guessed from the way you mentioned Ole Nydahl.
Are you aware of the other Wikimedia projects? See . They are much more quiet than Wikipedia, work in similar ways, and you are not blocked from them. We even had a popular blocked editor once who rewrote a big article at one of the other projects, and his friends transferred it to Wikipedia. Perhaps you could enjoy providing images for Commons, scanning or proof-reading books for WikiSource, or even write a little book on something you are an expert about on WikiBooks. But make sure not to write news reports on Buddhist sex abuse for WikiNews! I don't quite understand how they work, but I guess you would get into similar trouble there. In general you should stay clear of the topic until you understand how a project works and have some friends whose advice you will trust when they tell you you are wrong. It's always dangerous in an environment in which you feel free to ignore all negative feedback because you trust none of it.
There was an IP address from Denmark who seemed to be interested in the topic and to have a sufficiently cool head. In fact, I am also a bit interested now. If I find any useful sources I might in the end write a weaker form of "your" article. Hans Adler (talk) 22:14, 21 October 2010 (UTC)