Forum:Neutrality and closing discussions

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Forums: Yew Grove > Neutrality and closing discussions
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This thread was archived on 26 April 2011 by Liquidhelium.

A few minutes ago it came to my attention that there are no official rules on who can close a discussion. Since my very first day on this wiki, it has been my understanding that if you have taken part in a discussion and expressed your opinion on the subject, and especially if you've strongly defended your opinion, you have no place in deciding the outcome of the discussion because your decision may be biased. Traditionally, we have sought neutral administrators who have not joined into a discussion (preferably, one who has no particular opinion on its subject) to close threads, if only to ensure that the outcome is as fair as possible and most accurately reflects the desires of those who have weighed in.

While I of all people do not wish to be entangled in unnecessary bureaucracy, I believe that we should codify this practice into policy. A short while ago, a thread was closed by an administrator who had adamantly taken part in the discussion; those of us who were watching in IRC raised hell. When the thread was reopened based on the non-neutrality of the closing administrator, it was pointed out that no part of any policy prevents a non-neutral sysop from closing a discussion and implementing any necessary changes. I believe that this is a procedural loophole that should be corrected; hence this thread.

I propose that we modify RuneScape:Consensus to include the following, or an equally acceptable variation thereof:

When it becomes appropriate to close a discussion, users should seek out a neutral administrator who has not demonstrated a strong opinion in any direction concerning the subject. Supporting or opposing a proposal is not necessarily an indication of non-neutrality, but if an administrator has clearly shown that they have a strong opinion that may influence their judgment in determining the consensus of the discussion, they should not be asked to close it. Note that this neutrality requirement may not be necessary in cases of overwhelming acceptance or rejection of a proposal.

Additionally, I should point out that RS:Consensus already contains this:

Rough consensus is a process with no specific rule for "how much is enough." Rather, the question of consensus is left to the judgement of a non-partisan administrator or bureaucrat who has not voted on the issue.

However, this only deals with highly contentious issues, for which determining consensus is difficult. I would like this to apply to every discussion (except, as stated in my example of the addition to the policy page, in discussions where the outcome is blatantly obvious no matter who closes them). I mean, most of us already go by this already, so it shouldn't be a big deal to make this official, right?

Discuss. --Andorin (Talk) (Contribs) 03:57, April 14, 2011 (UTC)

Discussion

Support - I thought it already was one. I'd like to clarify that the recent issue wasn't a mistake or anything bad, it just highlighted that there was no policy on this. I think admins should be neutral so as not to thwart their judgement - not that they would, but this would just prevent it all together. Admins are always in IRC discussing who hasn't commented on a thread yet so the closing admin can be neutral. Makes sense to implement. sssSp7p.pngIjLCqFF.png 04:01, April 14, 2011 (UTC)

Ridiculous it is to wait and wait and wait for some one to close a thread that can easily be closed after all sides are satisfied as to the outcome. White heated and contentious threads with no easily clear outcome should fall under this purview, it is indeed simply a bureaucratic waste of time, which you yourself pretend to be against (but then you made this thread and actions do speak louder than words), to wait for a neutral party to close a thread with a simple outcome.--Degenret01 04:05, April 14, 2011 (UTC)

As I have stated in the proposal, if the outcome is blatantly obvious, it shouldn't matter who closes it. However, few outcomes are blatantly obvious in all regards; the general result (accept/reject) may be clear, but there may be details that can only be decided by the closing sysop. Under such circumstances, we want as much impartiality as possible. --Andorin (Talk) (Contribs) 04:09, April 14, 2011 (UTC)

Support - My understanding was that RS:C#Rough consensus already covered this, but there seems to be some sort of ambiguity. While it may be true that administrators may be able to put their personal opinions aside in determining consensus, the probability of achieving a neutral close should be maximized by preventing participating administrators from closing discussions in which they participate, especially those which are highly contested. It's just a good precedent/policy to have. Suppa chuppa Talk 04:06, April 14, 2011 (UTC)


I have to add how bloody pathetic I find it that people are going to sit around and be outraged and bitch about some one getting on and getting something done, when they have not made a move to do it themselves. Very pathetic.--Degenret01 04:09, April 14, 2011 (UTC)

Comment - Since when do we ask users to close discussions? Just curious. Smithing 04:16, April 14, 2011 (UTC)

Uh, what? Some admin always has to close one... sssSp7p.pngIjLCqFF.png 04:17, April 14, 2011 (UTC)
In the proposed modification it states the following: "Supporting or opposing a proposal is not necessarily an indication of non-neutrality, but if an administrator has clearly shown that they have a strong opinion that may influence their judgment in determining the consensus of the discussion, they should not be asked to close it." The way its worded, I cannot be 100% sure as to whether proposer means they shouldn't close the discussion, or what is directly stated (I'm assuming he meant close the discussion). I interpret things directly in most cases, if you may recall. Smithing 04:26, April 14, 2011 (UTC)
I was trying to find a polite and adequately official way to say "they can't close the thread, and another sysop should." Remember, if the example I provided doesn't get the point across correctly, it can be modified or replaced, so long as the meaning is the same. --Andorin (Talk) (Contribs) 04:29, April 14, 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I figured that's what you meant. I think it should be changed to "they shouldn't close the discussion" or something similar. Smithing 04:34, April 14, 2011 (UTC)

Hell No - No one's neutral, just because they haven't commented doesn't mean anything. If you disagree with someone's closing, take it up with them, no big deal, don't add useless bureaucracy, it's the number 1 enemy of a free wiki. HaloTalk 04:46, April 14, 2011 (UTC)

Sometime last year we had something over 40 active threads on the Yew Grove. This was not for a day or three or twenty. It was a constant state that lasted many months. As soon as one was closed another was open. It became apparent that involved sysops would have to also close threads, because the only other kind of admins were the ones who were not around. So we used our best judgments, and asked each other for help, and cleaned up the bloody mess that existed at that time. And in an effort to keep it from getting out of control again, we still occasionally close threads that we participate in. Instead of making a thread stopping people from getting work done, how about you go do it? Go close a couple threads tonight. And another one or two in the next week. If you cannot go close some threads, review the closes that someone else has done. If you feel a close was bad, talk to the closer. Discuss the points. I will gladly stay away from a thread I participated in, as long as SOME ONE is closing it. But if you want to limit who can close, then every single sysop supporter of this thread better be looking for threads that THEY can close. We do not need a 40 item long list again and people bitching that we never get it done, which is all I heard about for a long time.--Degenret01 04:55, April 14, 2011 (UTC)

Biased comment - I think that it is perfectly fine for participating administrators to close threads as long as it reflects the consensus at the time of closing and the decision is sound, it makes no difference to wait for a neutral/non-participating sysop to close it. Any possible issues are usually eliminated through other users asking for the decision to be reviewed. However, neutral sysops should be allowed to close a discussion ahead of a participating sysop if they are around. 222 talk 05:49, April 14, 2011 (UTC)

Oppose - Just because a sysop commented on a thread does not mean that he cannot close the thread in a neutral manner. I've closed many many threads that I myself have supported (or opposed), and I feel confident that for every one of them I looked on with it from a sufficiently neutral mindset, and when I asked a few people who disagreed with my position, they agreed with the final decision both in cases where the closure was in favor of my position and in cases where I found consensus to be against my personal position. I should note that I did not close threads that I did not feel I could be sufficiently neutral for; I only closed those that I felt I could look at from an unbiased point of view.

As for other administrators, I trust each and every one of them to do the same. An important part of an RfA is one's judgment. This is one of the things that I think can be covered with an unwritten guideline and does not need to be codified into policy. --LiquidTalk 10:39, April 14, 2011 (UTC)

Yeah? Dtm142 04:12, April 19, 2011 (UTC)
My point there was to try and get you to voluntarily abstain; there was nothing that I could do to force you to do so. There are times when I've abstained from closing discussions that I could have closed because I didn't think it would be wise for me to do so. --LiquidTalk 13:05, April 19, 2011 (UTC)

Opinion - Nominators shouldn't close the discussion (unless they withdraw), but as long as the discussion isn't very tight then any sysop should be able to close it. If it is tight then keep it as is that the admin should be neutral. Hunter cape (t).png Sentra246Blue hallowe'en mask.png 11:16, April 14, 2011 (UTC)

The opinion of a failure - A good rule of thumb [[w:c:Callofduty:user:Bovell|Bovell]] came up with is that if a discussion is unanimous it can be closed in one week, otherwise it should go on for about two. Smuff [cite your sources or die] 13:12, April 19, 2011 (UTC)

Oppose - A healthy dose of common sense is all that's necessary here. No need to make a strict policy about this... Andrew talk 01:13, April 20, 2011 (UTC)

Oppose - Not commenting doesn't mean you're totally impartial on the discussion, and it'd be obvious if someone closed a forum improperly. People would complain. Dragon 2h sword old.pngCallofduty4 Talk 16:53, April 21, 2011 (UTC)

Closed - Discussion has died and there is no consensus to implement the proposal. --LiquidTalk 23:26, April 26, 2011 (UTC)