Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Snowspinner 1

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Statement of the dispute[edit]


Snowspinner has a propensity for participating in "block wars" with other respected administrators. He also tends to give out very long blocks for reasons not supported by policy, and while not giving adequate warning or explanation, He avoids participating in early dispute resolution steps, like Wikipedia:Requests for comment and Wikipedia:Requests for mediation.

User:Snowspinner 7-day block of User:The Recycling Troll appears to have been in violation of the blocking policy.

User:RickK posted a note on Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents: "This troll is at it again, stalking me and voting the opposite from my votes on VfD. Has been blocked once before for the same behavior. RickK 00:49, Mar 9, 2005 (UTC)"

01:13, 2005 Mar 9 Snowspinner blocked "User:The Recycling Troll" with an expiry time of 7 days (Repeating behavior that got him blocked last time.)

Snowspinner blocked RT for 7 days. Extensive discussion has taken place on the noticeboard as to whether this block violated policy.

Powers misused[edit]

  • Protection (log):
  1. {list page or pages protected}
  • Deletion (log):
  1. {list page or pages deleted}
  • Blocking (log):
Snowspinner has repeatedly re-blocked User:The Recycling Troll, even when other admins have removed the blocks and many editors have expressed opinions against it.
  1. 12:58, 2005 Mar 9 Snowspinner blocked "User:The Recycling Troll" with an expiry time of 24 hours (Harrassment)
  2. 01:13, 2005 Mar 9 Snowspinner blocked "User:The Recycling Troll" with an expiry time of 7 days (Repeating behavior that got him blocked last time.)
  3. 02:55, 2005 Mar 4 Snowspinner blocked "User:The Recycling Troll" with an expiry time of 24 hours (Disruption - following RickK around is a form of harassment, this is a new user.)
Snowspinner has repeatedly re-blocked User:John-1107, even when other admins have removed the blocks and many editors have expressed opinions against it.
  1. 01:49, 2005 Feb 17 Snowspinner blocked "User:John-1107" with an expiry time of 72 hours (General disruption - refusal to discuss, insertion of rumor and spoiler without it being marked, belligerance, generally a PITA.)
  2. 02:18, 2005 Feb 17 Snowspinner blocked "User:John-1107" with an expiry time of 72 hours (Disruptive user: Removing comments on talk pages, posting spoilers and rumors without proper tags, general abusiveness. 48 hours + 24 for 3RR violation)
  3. 22:20, 2005 Feb 17 Snowspinner blocked "User:John-1107" with an expiry time of 48 hours (Removing of content from talk pages, original research insertion, general meglomania.)
  4. 02:06, 2005 Mar 4 Snowspinner blocked "User:John-1107" with an expiry time of 1 week (Crank inserting speculation and obvious untruth into various pages. Has been warned not to do this.)
  5. 00:23, 2005 Mar 22 Snowspinner blocked "User:John-1107" with an expiry time of 1 month (Claiming non-existant judicial legitimacy)
    • This long block was for an obscure reason, unsupported by steps such as WP:RFC, and given without warning on the user's talk page.

Snowspinner has repeatedly re-blocked User:Everyking, even when other admins have removed the blocks and many editors have expressed opinions against it. In particular, one block was for a period of 100 days - this block appears to have been entered solely to make a point.
  1. 05:03, 2005 Mar 14 Snowspinner blocked "User:Everyking" with an expiry time of 48 hours (Two reverts to Autobiography (Ashlee Simpson album))
  2. 05:13, 2005 Mar 14 Snowspinner blocked "User:Everyking" with an expiry time of 100 days (Everyking has informed me that he has made 100 Ashlee reverts in IRC by the definition of revert, and told me to ban him.)
    • 05:22, 2005 Mar 14 Silsor unblocked User:Everyking (Yes, yes, I know, but this is just stupid. Reblock him for his parole violation if you like. Join me in my campaign to stop petty wiki drama.)
  3. 17:16, 2005 Mar 14 Snowspinner blocked "User:Everyking" with an expiry time of 24 hours (Violation of revert parole.)
    • 20:22, 2005 Mar 14 Tony Sidaway unblocked User:Everyking (Gave his word he will not revert again, #wikipedia)
  4. 17:37, 2005 Mar 18 Snowspinner blocked "User:Everyking" with an expiry time of 24 hours (Reversion on The Ashlee Simpson Show)
    • 23:16, 2005 Mar 18 Merovingian unblocked User:Everyking (Everyking did not mean to revert; the link in question was not relevant to the entire article (and thus had no place as an ext. link for the whole page) and has since been relocated (see current version of The Ashlee Simpson Show) AND everyking has pr)

Snowspinner second-guesses a block against User:KingOfAllPaperboys, who was blocked for disrupting User:Netoholic. On this occassion, rather than ask the original blocking admin to re-consider (both were in IRC at the time), Snowspinner reduced the block significantly.
  1. 04:30, 2005 Mar 26 Mark blocked "User:KingOfAllPaperboys" with an expiry time of 24 hours (vandalism and 3RR)
    • 04:36, 2005 Mar 26 Mark blocked "User:KingOfAllPaperboys" with an expiry time of indefinite (disruptive behaviour and page move vandalism)
  2. 04:49, 2005 Mar 26 Snowspinner unblocked User:KingOfAllPaperboys (Indefinite blocks are not to be used for disruption. Come up with a better reason for this one.)
    • 04:50, 2005 Mar 26 Snowspinner blocked "User:KingOfAllPaperboys" with an expiry time of 24 hours (Disruption on User talk:Netoholic.)

Snowspinner blocks User:Irate after the user created an RFC (Snowspinner 2). Snowspinner repeatedly marked the page with a speedy deletion notice, against WP:RFC procedure.
  1. 20:57, 2005 Apr 7 Snowspinner blocked "User:Irate" with an expiry time of indefinite (Insane amounts of disruption. There's an arbcom case pending, but it's sat for days without being opened. Will unblock when case opens.)
  • Rollback (anti-vandalism tool):
  1. Wikipedia talk:Long term abuse/Willy on Wheels 00:24, 2005 Mar 22 - Snowspinner rollbacks a signed talk page comment.
  2. Wikipedia:Requests for adminship 03:57, 2005 Mar 20 - Snowspinner rollbacks the addition of a relevant link to a de-adminship proposal
  3. Multiple rollbacks to further his edit dispute on natural health articles (natural health, rolfing, Metamorphic Technique. Orthomolecular medicine. Body work (alternative medicine), Magnet therapy, Osteopathy), specifically also to harass User:John Gohde

Applicable policies[edit]

  1. {explain violation of protection policy here}
  1. {explain violation of deletion policy here}
This matter should have been referred to RfC, mediation, or arbitration. At least 4 factors create reasonable doubt as to whether RT's edits merit a 7-day block:
  1. RT is not a new user account; RT's first edit was in September 2004[1].
  2. RT has explained his intentions behind his username, refuting the presumption that he is using that name to indicate he is a troll[2].
  3. A perusal of RT's contributions reveals RT's edits that, at most, RT appeared to make "a mixture of disruptive and useful edits"[3].
  4. RT has stated that the monitoring of RickK and other users was in good faith[4].
Wikipedia:Controversial blocks states "Block wars, in which a user is repeatedly blocked and unblocked, are extremely harmful. ... If no consensus has emerged after several respected Wikipedians have reviewed the matter, the user should be left unblocked."
Always explain your reverts.

Evidence of trying and failing to resolve the dispute[edit]

  1. Snowspinner disagrees that the block violated blocking policy, as evidenced by Snowspinner's comments at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents.
  2. Just as a side issue, Snowspinner blocked me contrary to policy. I emailed him with an explanation of how my edit was not contrary to policy and he refused to remove the block. Editors ought to be assured that if they are unfairly blocked, the admin who does it will answer them fairly. Simply saying "you weren't editing in good faith" is not enough. Our policy also says that even apparently bad-faith edits, if not openly so, are not to be considered vandalism.Dr Zen 01:48, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Users certifying the basis for this dispute[edit]

(sign with ~~~~)

  1. User:Rad Racer
  2. Netoholic @ 17:11, 2005 Mar 9 (UTC)
  3. Mark Richards 17:12, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  4. Dr Zen 01:40, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Other users who endorse this statement[edit]

(sign with ~~~~)

  1. Mrfixter 17:15, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  2. Refdoc 16:08, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)


This is a summary written by the sysop whose actions are disputed, or by other users who think that the dispute is unjustified and that the sysop's actions did not violate policy. Users who edit or endorse this summary should not edit the other summaries.

When a user shows up with troll in their username, begins systematically following another editor around the Wikipedia, and, when given a warning block regarding this, proceeds to rant on the mailing list about how the sysops are abusing him and not letting him "verify" another user's edits, there are a limited number of conclusions that one can draw. Chief among them are that the user in question is a problem user who's actively harassing RickK.

There are no plausible good faith explanations for this. To say that The Recycling Troll is a good user who just happens to identify as a troll, rant about sysop abuse just like the banned user 142, and stalk RickK, one of the sysops most devoted to fighting trolls is, quite frankly, ridiculous. I think he should be permablocked, frankly, as the 142 reincarnation he fairly clearly is. Instead, I blocked for a week. When Theresa suggested 24 hours, I agreed with her and made the 24 hour block.

As for the blocking policy, the blocking policy is not a suicide pact demanding that we twiddle our thumbs while good contributors are driven away.

As for John-1107, the unblocks were not objections. Dante misunderstood why I had blocked, and thought I had blocked for a reason that he'd already sorted out. I explained to him that I had not, and reinstated the block. Nobody has said a word until now about the most recent block of John-1107. Or the second most recent block, as it happens.

As for Everyking, I blocked for 48 hours for a pair of violations. Following his expressed desire on IRC to be blocked for 100 days, I indulged him. This block was removed by Silsor, which I had no problem with - I was about to remove it myself after it became clear that there had been a misunderstanding. He then reverted again, and I blocked again as per the revert parole. The only one of these that is of questionable policy is the 100 day block. To that, all I can say is that Everyking should probably avoid trolling for bans.

Users who endorse this summary (sign with ~~~~):

  1. Snowspinner 17:16, Mar 9, 2005 (UTC)
  2. Wile E. Heresiarch 04:49, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  3. RickK 06:15, Mar 10, 2005 (UTC)
  4. Cyrius| 16:56, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  5. iMb~Mw 06:10, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  6. Calton | Talk 06:56, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  7. Radiant_* 14:41, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)

Second response[edit]

As this RfC has been derailed from its original purpose of discussing a specific block and become the "Netoholic complains to an audience of nobody about things that had nothing to do with the original complaint, which he's now completely rewritten show," I have no particular response, beyond noticing the surprising lack of clothes presently being worn by the emperor. Snowspinner 02:55, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)

Outside view[edit]

This is a summary written by users not directly involved with the dispute but who would like to add an outside view of the dispute. Users who edit or endorse this summary should not edit the other summaries.

{Add summary here, but you must use the endorsement section below to sign.}

Users who endorse this summary (sign with ~~~~):

I was defending Snowspinner's actions on WP:AN/I as based on blocking policy for disruptive behaviour. Note that the 7 days' block was for repeated disruption, the first block having been for 24h. Up to a months' block for repeat offenders is put within admins' discretion, Wikipedia:Blocking_policy#Disruption. I do not see how "making a mixture of useful and disruptive edits" is any excuse for disruptive edits, particularly when the useful ones consist mainly of the odd wikification. In my opinion, the upshot of this all is that we need clearer specification of when blocks for disruption are admissible. I'm trying to assume a bona-fide basis for this rfc, such as well-meaning admin-watching to prevent cabal-forming, but I really cannot see much merit in it. dab () 17:28, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Users who endorse this summary (sign with ~~~~):

  1. →Raul654 17:32, Mar 9, 2005 (UTC)
  2. Snowspinner 17:33, Mar 9, 2005 (UTC) (I'd love clarity of policies. I've been trying to get it for months.)
  3. I agree that we need clearer rules on blocking disrupters. Carrp | Talk 17:34, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  4. David Gerard 17:39, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  5. Theresa Knott (ask the rotten) 20:49, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  6. Mackensen (talk) 23:10, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  7. Wile E. Heresiarch 04:51, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  8. RickK 06:16, Mar 10, 2005 (UTC)
  9. jni 08:53, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  10. Filiocht 14:41, Mar 10, 2005 (UTC)
  11. Smoddy (t) (e) (g) 19:49, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  12. Neutralitytalk 07:07, Mar 11, 2005 (UTC)
  13. Tony Sidaway|Talk 16:30, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  14. Exploding Boy 18:24, Mar 12, 2005 (UTC)
  15. InShaneee 03:41, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  16. Jayjg (talk) 04:41, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  17. iMb~Mw 06:11, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  18. Calton | Talk 06:58, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  19. BlankVerse 11:39, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  20. Bishonen|Mi talkpage es su talkpage 04:03, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  21. →Iñgōlemo← talk 23:03, 2005 Mar 27 (UTC)
  22. Jeremiah Cook 21:41, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  23. El_C 08:43, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  24. Radiant_* 14:42, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)
  25. SlimVirgin (talk) 00:49, Apr 25, 2005 (UTC)
  26. Zora 01:39, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  27. Tεxτurε 22:18, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  28. Geogre 13:23, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  29. Rje 15:04, May 2, 2005 (UTC)

Opposing Outside view[edit]

I find Snowspinner concern with stalking, disruptive edits, blocking under the pretense of 3RR's, etc., rather amusing. I am, also, again sad to see that the actions of the alleged evil doer are being supported by the usual cronies. I have had my own horror stories with Snowspinner [5] and I am concerned with Snowspinner's abuse of sysop privileges. Frankly, I think that Snowspinner's perception of reality is not suitable for an effective and neutral administrator. -- John Gohde 21:50, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • From Snowspinne's comments in Talk, I have conclude that Snowspinner has committed stalking and harassment against me and according to Snowspinner's own words "actively disturbing and upsetting" me. John Gohde 13:43, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Users who endorse this opposing summary (sign with ~~~~):

  1. If Recycling Troll is "disruptive", how is Snowspinner not? If you invent a policy to deal with RT, who is harmlessly taking the piss out of RickK, who needs a bit of deflating frankly, then are you guys above it? I urge the more experienced admins here to step back from endorsing a guy whose attitude is "shoot first, worry about the policy later". Do you want Judge Dredds, who invent the law on the spot? Really?Dr Zen 01:56, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  2. Agree, way too much violence against John Gohde. In general I think wikiadmins need to stop powertripping. Klonimus 01:17, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)


John-1107 has claimed responsibility for edits made by anonymous user This user's often inexplicable additions to articles were usually complete fabrications, and as such fell under the definition of vandalism. That he's been doing so since late November and shows no signs of learning to distinguish reality from fantasy justifies increasing the block. -- Cyrius| 16:54, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)


This complaint verges on the nonsensical. "The Recycling Troll", by his writings on wikien-l, is either the hard-banned user 142 or someone doing their best to imitate 142. As such, I will be blocking on sight indefinitely as a reincarnation. I've already blocked them from wikien-l as a querulous waster of electrons. "Assume good faith" does not mean "to the point of stupidity". I seriously doubt the good faith quotient of this RFC - David Gerard 17:39, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Why, every time an RfC is brought against a rogue admin, do the same names line up to defend him? Dave, he broke your policies. You know he did. Why are you defending that?Dr Zen 01:46, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

In my view, this raises the following issues, none of which are nonsensical:

  1. Is it "stalking" to display a pattern of editing where one edits "the same" articles as another member, or votes on the same VfD votes, etc? How much does the voting pattern/editing pattern have to overlap between two editors to constitute "stalking".
  2. Is "stalking" a form of "disruptive behaviour" per the blocking policy?
  3. In general, what powers does a regular administrator (versus the Arbitration Committee) have to impose disciplinary sanctions, such as blocking, on established members?
  4. If regular administrators have full powers to impose penalties such as blocking under the various Wikipedia policies that mention penalties, then why do we have an Arbitration Committee? Where is the line where regular administrators powers stop and Arbitration Committee powers start?
  5. There was no consensus for regular administrators to be able to block regular members for "personal abuse". On what basis is it claimed that there is consensus for regular administrators to be able to block established members in other cases besides the 3RR or vandalism?
  6. If established members cannot be blocked by regular administators for "disruptive behaviour", do they become subject to such blocking if they are alleged to be "trolls"?

--BM 20:18, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

In order:

  1. Yes it's stalking. There is no simple answer to the second part of your question, we'd need to take into account the time lapse between edits, the nature of the edits, the willingness to talk in a reasonable way with the alledged "victim". It's a judgement call (as it is in all cases of trolling) Fortunately, in this particular case, it's a very simple judgement call to make.
  2. Yes. The dusruptive behaviour encompasses all bad faith edits.
    So all an admin need do is claim that behaviour was in bad faith and they can block whoever they like?!Dr Zen 01:52, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  3. They can impose whatever the policy says is the maximum. in the case of disruptive edits that would be up to a month.
  4. The AC is needed to sort out difficult cases. I.e. cases not like this one.
  5. The blocking policy for disruptive behaviour.
    There isn't one. There's a policy that allows blocks for breaking policies, Theresa, but none for you to just rid yourself of people you don't like. The policy BM cites is clearly to prevent editors from doing "bad" edits, like making you say what you didn't say or, for instance, putting a "You've got a message" box at the top of their user page. It's no way intended to use to browbeat users into norms of behaviour! But hey, you guys have the power, so who can tell you what the policy is? You're making it right here. Dr Zen 01:52, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  6. Hmm finally you ask a difficult question! I need to think on it. Theresa Knott (ask the rotten) 21:03, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

You guys are making it up as you go along, aren't you? Here is what the blocking policy says regarding disruptive behaviour:

Sysops may, at their judgement, block IP addresses that disrupt the normal functioning of Wikipedia. Such disruption is to be objectively defined by specific policies, and may include changing other users' signed comments or making deliberately misleading edits. Users should be warned that they are violating policy before they are blocked. For dynamic IPs, such blocks should last 24 hours. For static IPs and user names, such blocks should initially last 24 hours, but repeat violators may be blocked for a maximum of one month. Blocks under this provision are almost always controversial

It says, first, that blocking under this section is for actions disrupting "the normal functioning of Wikipedia". How did stalking do that, given that all the edits were, in themselves, unexceptional, and the only thing objectionable about them was the selection of articles/votes that were edited? RickK himself said that he was only "annoyed". Is the mere fact of RickK being annoyed sufficient to constitute "disruption of the normal functioning of Wikipedia". If one user being annoyed is enough to disrupt Wikipedia, then I'm afraid Wikipedia is in a permanent state of major disruption, and one more user being annoyed is not going to change "normal functioning" in the least. Next, it says that disruptions for which people can be blocked are to be "objectively defined by specific policies". Where is the specific policy objectively defining "stalking"? For that matter, where is there any policy objectively defining any form of disruption? This looks like a paragraph which has no effect, at present, because it has not been followed up with specific policies objectively defining forms of disruption. Finally it says that blocks for disruption are almost always "controversial". That is a link to Wikipedia:Controversial blocks, which has more to say about the procedure to be followed in the case of a controversial block. Did Snowspinner follow any of these steps? For example, in what venues, and with which other administrators did he discuss this decision? --BM 21:53, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

At least they're being open about it. They are defining "disruptive behaviour" as "anything Snowspinner doesn't like". As a consequence, no action can ever be taken against rogue admins! Dr Zen 01:46, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
First of all, I am taking a little offense at being counted among the "usual cronies" by John Gohde. This is the first time I am taking an admin's side in an RfC. Also, naturally, just because I think Snowspinner's actions were justifiable in this case does not mean I automatically endorse everything he has ever done (or will do in the future). What I am opposed to is assuming good faith to the point of ridicule. I do think that the voting process is a sensitive spot of WP, and anybody who undermines the validity of VfD, such as voting mechanically, is disrupting Wikipedia, and should, after fair warning, be blocked. Nobody was blocked for making a few sarcastical remarks towards RickK. As far as I can see, RT was blocked for abusing WP procedures for some sort of private joke, or private crusade. Since we are here for an encyclopedia first, and for an experiment in direct democracy only secondarily, I do think that is fair enough.
re, "established users": where does it say they may not be blocked for disruption? admins may block new accounts forever, but they may block any account for up to one month for repeated disruption, established user or no. dab () 07:21, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
"usual cronies" okay, have it your way. New cronies, or how about, promoters of wrong doing on Wikipedia by admins? -- John Gohde 04:54, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I also object to this label and, in general, agree with dab's comments. Another question; why exactly do we allow user names that clearly flag the user in question as a troll? Filiocht 16:21, Mar 10, 2005 (UTC)
Why do we allow Admins to use names like Theresa Knott (ask the rotten)? -- John Gohde 04:54, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Because it is her name and an anagram thereof. Now do you have an answer to my question? Filiocht 09:49, Mar 14, 2005 (UTC)
I would agree with dab that bad-faith voting on VfD is more disruptive than the annoyance caused to RickK by following him around and making minor grammar and spelling edits on the same articles as he was editing. Note that this is a different argument than "stalking". The problem with the VfD votes is deciding whether they were indeed bad-faith. Are there any examples of him voting "Keep" when everybody else (including RickK) was voting "Delete"? Do the votes form a pattern where the only logical explanation for them is "If RickK voted X, then vote NOT X". Voting Keep a lot when RickK was voting Delete might just mean that RickK is generally a deletionist, and TRT is an inclusionist. Are there any examples where RickK departed from his general deletionist tendencies and voted Keep, and TRT by an amazing coincidence chose that vote to depart from his inclusionist tendencies to vote Delete? A few examples like that would help to convince me. I notice that many of the votes were accompanied by short explanations that at least made some kind of sense. I actually remember being a bit annoyed with TRT myself before any of this came up, because he seemed to always be voting the opposite of me. I thought he was just another crazy inclusionist. --BM 16:27, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Voting in some sort of counterpoint to another user isn't the only kind of bad-faith and disruptive voting. I think the 34 separate "Keep" votes that The Recycling Troll clocked up in 19 minutes on 1 March are obviously bad-faith votes, in the sense that to vote at that rate, you have to do it mechanically, taking no account of the merits of the cases. That's misuse of VfD. (Given the unresponsiveness of the servers in early March I'm amazed and envious that it was even possible, but that's another story.) --Bishonen|Mi talkpage es su talkpage 04:45, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)


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