To the Ban Committee:
I would like to appeal my ban of 23 August 2013. I have a collection of supporting material, including my appeal from 2013 and testimonials from Bermicourt, Jenks24, and Fyunck(click). Jenks reviewed this document and suggested that I express my willingness to accept a diacritics topic ban, which I am willing to accept. At one time, I was a top Wikipedia contributor. Following a year-long campaign against me by several editors, I was blocked and banned. An article I wrote about Sino-Vietnamese characters was used as a pretext. Other issues involved include Vietnamese diacritics and a parody I wrote about the gender categories issue (made famous by Amanda Filipacchi).
- How it all started. On Scottywong’s admin hopeful list for 4 March 2013, I have a score of 320. This is after 500 points were deducted on account of MSGJ’s block of July 2012. If you add these points to my score, I am ranked No. 12 on the list. (In ictu oculi is No. 184.) Up until this block, I had a clean record going back eight years that included tens of thousands of constructive edits.
- IIO and I used to translate foreign language titles to English together. This partnership lasted until June 2012, when GoodDay was topic banned over diacritics. The editors who had been involved in that case may have seen my case as a way to continue their pro-diacritics campaign. IIO has a surprising amount of time and energy to devote to following me around. He not only goes through my edit history to find people I have disagreed with in the past as well as material to use against me, but he also sends warnings to anyone who might support my position. He is supported by Cuchullain, an admin with no interest in Vietnam or its diacritics. His complaint is that I had a privileged status that I didn’t deserve. As I was never even a rollbacker, I assume this is somehow a reference to the MSGJ block.
- After IIO complained that I had moved the Vietnamese city of Can Tho to a non-diacritic title, MSGJ blocked me. As I had made this move over nine months earlier, I was unblocked almost immediately by Jenks24. Several unsuccessful proposals to topic ban me followed. After I was blocked for opposing the merger of my article on Sino-Vietnamese characters, there was yet another ANI discussion about me. Although this was just a rehashed of old accusations, I was not allowed to defend myself this time around. So the result was a ban.
- It was entrapment. My article on Sino-Vietnamese characters has nothing to do with diacritics, politics, and anything else remotely resembling a hot-button issue. These characters get so little attention that I had to base much of the content on Vietnamese-language sources. Several editors involved had not previously made Vietnam-related edits, but nonetheless developed an interest in this obscure subject simultaneously. I assume this group was assembled by IIO through email. These editors had a curiously vindictive attitude. After an article gets merged, demanding that the author be blocked is not logically the next step. Perhaps the idea was to provoke me into violating the 3RR rule. Although I never exceeded the three-revert limit, I was blocked for “edit warring” all the same. According to WP:3RRNO, page blanking is a form of “obvious vandalism.” So I should have been able to revert without sanction. As a result of the merger, material I wrote concerning character encoding was moved to the Nom article. Yet most of the Sino-Vietnamese characters in Unicode have nothing to do with Nom.
- Diacritics. In July and August of 2011, there was an RFC on diacritics with a very large participation. This RFC proposed that Wikipedia follow the style of Britannica and National Geographic. Although these two publications represent the most diacritic-friendly style models that the authors of the proposal could come up with, neither uses Vietnamese diacritics. Nor did anyone in the discussion suggest that they should be added. I rewrote the Vietnam naming guideline to reflect the apparent consensus of the RFC. I also made various article moves to comply with this rewritten guideline. The changes I made to the guideline, as well as the article moves I made, were in effect for over two years.
- The purpose of an article title is to tell the reader the English-language name of the subject. None of the relevant style guides or reference works support the idea of including diacritics in the English-language form of a Vietnamese name. The situation is thus quite different than it is for European diacritics, as I discuss in detail here.
- Filipacchi. When I posted a draft of my first Arbcom appeal on Wikipediocracy, it unleashed a storm of personal attacks. As these attacks focused on an essay I wrote concerning gender categories, I will comment on this essay briefly. I consulted Amatulic at the time and followed his advice in good faith. That’s a full defense regardless of what anyone might think of the essay itself. Not only that, but the content of the essay is innocuous.
Jenks24 is a Wikipedia admin. On Sunday, September 14, 2014 22:29:46 +1000 Jenks <email@example.com> (Message-ID: <CAHZcm=c8NHiYR0PkmSW6=U4bS=o3wEhzix7PwZkqLc7K2YWsHQ@mail.gmail.com>) wrote:
I'm sorry that being taking time away from Wikipedia coincided with (and arguably contributed to) you getting banned. If it ever came to a community discussion again, I would support your un-banning -- I think you were and could still be a massive net positive for the encyclopedia.
I sincerely wish you all the best with this appeal, but I have to tell you I think it's pretty much no chance of them reversing their ban. I haven't dealt with ArbCom in depth before, but my understanding with these appeals is that they don't actually *want* to go over the old case/decision/whatever and if they think you're rehashing it they'll give you short shrift, as they did before. What they want is for the person to pretty come grovelling and say "I messed up really badly, I'm so sorry, I've learnt my lesson, please give me another chance". Which is of course problematic when the person appealing should not have been banned in the first place, but yeah -- that's how I think it is and I don't see it changing in the near future.
So if you want my advice on how to make a successful appeal it would be to apologise profusely, ask for another chance and say something about how you'd be willing to accept a topic ban from diacritics.
But I can understand if you would rather not pretend to be apologetic and accept restrictions just to edit Wikipedia again. Up to you.
All the best, Jenks
Bermicourt is an experienced user with over 74,000 edits. On Saturday, January 3, 2015 8:31 AM, Paul and Jo Eaton <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I am very happy to support your reinstatement. I am not familiar with the Vietnamese issue, but I know diacritics are a sensitive topic. Even Jimmy Wales has questioned the use of foreign letters like the German ß, but we operate by a sort of consensus. That said, the consensus is often suspect.
In your appeal, in order to raise the chances of its success, I would open briefly by describing your passion for Wikipedia and how you share its aims. I would also suggest toning down or removing any direct criticism of other editors and stressing more how it felt to you. I would reduce the overall length by sticking to what you see as the main points. And I would finish with what you will strive to do on your part to avoid getting into such conflict again. That will reassure the arbitrators.
Whilst this may seem slightly unfair, as if you're taking more of the blame than other editors, you are blocked and they are not, so step one is to get you unblocked.
I have a lot of sympathy as I was subjected to a similar campaign and accusations over the Central Station v. Hauptbahnhof issue. In the end, I just had to accept the consensus went against me and have given up wasting time trying to get people to see sense. Your friend IIO was very much to the fore in that as well.
I have had a go at some wordsmithing along the above lines (see attached) so you can see what I mean, but in the end you need to go with what you're comfortable with. Remember the aim is not so much to justify what you did was right as to persuade ArbCom to let you back on board!
Fyunck(click) is an experienced editor with 18,000 edits. On Wed, Jan 7, 2015 at 1:22 AM <email@example.com> (Message-ID: <1848961404.5736039.1420622555027.JavaMail.firstname.lastname@example.org>) wrote:
Kauffner, Long time no hear.
Not sure wikipedia really listens to me but I would support the lifting of your ban. Were you entrapped by certain users who pretty much gang-tackled your every move? Of course you were. I know those editors well since they tried it with me too. The difference was I eventually ignored them and always let an administrator handle the slightest harassment from them. I realized wiki was a different place than it used to be. I also let the diacritics thing go. Was I happy that Wikipedia was going to allow censoring? Not in the least, but consensus was to do just that so I moved on grudgingly. You probably should have done the same since your work was always exemplary and the project could always use that type of knowledge and fortitude.
Good luck in your appeal. I sincerely support it. Use this as you see fit.
On Dec 13, 2013, I wrote to <email@example.com> as follows:
TO: Ban Appeals Subcommittee
Last June, I was a Wikipedia editor with eight years experience, tens of thousands of edits, and a clean record. I had written several “good” articles, DYKs, and contributed to a feature article. Yet I was blocked and banned without warning or due process. Whether my ban can be reversed or not, I’d like to discuss how I was railroaded in the hope that the episode may contain lessons that others can learn.
On July 8 and 11, I was blocked for “edit warring” on an article I wrote called Han-Nom. (The article is here.) I was blocked for reverting the repeated blanking of this article, something which is specifically permitted under the guidelines. (See WP:3RRNO, point 4). At no point did I exceed the 3RR limit. I was not given a warning prior to either block. This is not only irregular according to Wiki guidelines, but means that I never had a chance to argue my case at ANI. Han-Nom is an extensively sourced article on Sino-Vietnamese characters. I find it hard to believe that it would have been controversial if someone other than me had written it. The involvement of editors not otherwise interested in Vietnam-related topics suggests that the motive was to get back at me over other issues.
My block was made permanent in August by a community ban. The Han-Nom block prevented me from participating in this discussion, yet the issue is barely mentioned. Writing articles is what Wikipedia is supposed to be all about. It is perverse that this article could be used against me.
Disciplinary discussions I have read typically consist of allegations, diffs to support these allegations, and a discussion of the seriousness of the alleged misbehavior. But there is nothing like that in my case. There is one clueless post that accuses me of multiple voting in RMs, and another one that indirectly mentions a parody I posted on my user page back in May. Otherwise, there are no specific allegations, much less diffs to support them.
I know there is a lot of hard feeling about the Amanda Filipacchi matter. But I consulted admin Amatulic at the time and I followed his advice. You follow the advise of people who are supposed to understand whatever problem you have, and what else can you do? When I checked the ANI archive, I noticed that my remarks have been redacted, not only from the archive but also from the page history. So an oversighter may be manipulating the record. In any case, the original discussion is still in Amatulic’s page history.
Cuchullain was the admin most active in seeking to get me banned or sanctioned. In the banning discussion, he writes that I, “dodged sanctions so many times before” and that I “have been disruptive for years.” In other words, the editors who banned me considered the discussion to be a continuation of earlier disputes. These earlier disputes were about Vietnamese diacritics, not Han-Nom or edit warring. As I was able to defend myself on these occasions, none of them resulted in a block, ban, or other sanction. So blocking me prior to the discussion was essential to allow a different result.
Let me back up at this point and explain some history. In July and August of 2011, there was an RFC on diacritics with a very large participation. This RFC proposed that Wikipedia follow the style of Britannica and National Geographic. Although these two publications represent the most diacritic-friendly style models that the authors of the proposal could come up with, neither uses Vietnamese diacritics. Such diacritics are “distracting,” according to National Geographic’s Style Manual. The proposal was opposed by editors who considered it too diacritics friendly, and was finally defeated. Although this discussion suggested that opinion was divided on the issue of diacritics in general, I interpreted it as an indication that a consensus existed with respect to Vietnamese diacritics. I then rewrote the naming conventions for Vietnamese and moved various articles to comply. The version of the guideline that I wrote was in effect throughout this controversy, and it was not rewritten until Sept. 2.
The purpose of a title is to tell the reader the common name of a subject. The common name plus a French or German accent mark is still pretty close to the common name. But Vietnamese diacritics are more intense than those of any other language.
No major reference work uses Vietnamese diacritics, as you can see from this chart. The Chicago Manual of Style recommends following the spellings given in the various Merriam-Webster dictionaries, so note the column on the far right. “Follow the general usage in reliable sources that are written in the English language (including other encyclopedias and reference works),” according to WP:DIACRITICS.
In ictu oculi and I once worked as a team, translating Hebrew and Latin titles. But Arbcom’s decision to sanction GoodDay over diacritics in June 2012 changed all that. The Vietnam project had been my pond up to this point. But IIO and other editors soon arrived and turned it into a hotly contested area. IIO, who has an extraordinary amount of time and energy to devote to this issue, researched my edit history and wrote lengthy complaints day after day, often presenting old moves as fresh outrages. To me, these complaints were transparently vindictive, provocation done in the hope of getting a scalp, and because this strategy had worked with GoodDay. I was blocked by MSGJ in July 2012 in response to one such complaint. On this occasion, Jenks24 intervened on my behalf. Unfortunately, Jenks24 stopped editing in April 2013.
This RFC may give you a sense of IIO’s methods. It is filled with pictures galleries, heated attacks on the validity of the RFC, bitter recriminations, and other disruptive tactics. Each post sounds more angry than the last. IIO later posted a series of Vietnam-related requests. These were attack RMs that focused on bashing me rather than on any article title. Bullies who are not necessarily concerned with the underlying style issue are attracted to this area by IIO’s aggression. This has triggered a chain reaction of anti-social behavior, forcing a series of editors to leave Wikipedia, including MakeSense, LittleBenW, and JoshuSasori.
On Tuesday, December 17, 2013 3:38 PM, Anthony (AGK) <firstname.lastname@example.org> (Message-ID: <CAMLtR47s5dXuAyChksdC7hF-vaG5n2y1vZLKJDUyq_P+yKU6xw@mail.gmail.com>) wrote:
The Ban Appeals Subcommittee has carefully considered your application. We have decided that it would not be in the interests of Wikipedia to unblock your account, and that we are not satisfied the block of your account is no longer required. Therefore, we decline to unblock you at this time and your appeal is dismissed. You may submit another appeal after six months have passed from the date of this message.
For the Ban Appeals Subcommittee, Anthony (AGK)