Forum:Non-sysops closing Yew Grove threads

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Forums: Yew Grove > Non-sysops closing Yew Grove threads
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This thread was archived on 25 September 2010 by Ajraddatz.

It has been argued by some that, in cases where consensus is clearly in favor of a particular side, editors who are not sysops can "close" the threads. They argue that this is an application of common sense overriding the current closure policy which states that only admins can close threads. I figured that I should open a debate on whether this is true or not. Having a non sysop close threads when its against policy can be confusing to new editors, so the policy must either be changed or more strictly enforced.

I strongly oppose non sysops "closing" threads. Closing a thread is one part maintenance and one party judgment. The maintenance side is simple: non sysops do not have the tools necessary to perform the maintenance aspect of closure. They can't protect the page. As such a sysop would have to visit the thread and close for real anyways. Thus a non sysop "closing" a thread would not save any time or effort for sysops. It is a well meaning yet useless gesture.

The judgment side is a bit more complex. Just because someone is not a sysop does not mean that they do not have the capability to judge if a thread should be closed or not. However there is a reason that only sysops can close threads. In order to become a sysop an editor must be trustworthy to the community at large. Sysops have had their contributions and behavior scrutinized in the form of an RFA, and the community has found that their judgment and conduct are acceptable. Therefore it makes sense that only editors which have been judged by the community as able to handle the responsibility of closing threads should be able to do so.

On the other hand, editors who are not sysops have not have their judgment for closing threads approved by an RFA. It is either unconfirmed or it has been rejected. While unconfirmed judgment is not necessarily bad judgment, for the reasons given above, only those with confirmed good judgment should be able to close a thread. One could argue when consensus is clear, then there is no judgment necessary to close a thread. While that may be true, if there is no judgment aspect to closing a particular thread, then that leaves only maintenance, which non-sysops are totally unable to do.

Instead of "closing" a thread, non sysops should use one of the endless means of requesting closure, for instance using {{Closure}}, posting it on the admin request page, asking an admin in-game, or posting on a recently active admin's talk page. With such a bounty of ways to bring closure to a thread, a non-sysop doesn't need to, and should never, "close" it themselves. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 00:40, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

P.S. For the sake of clarity, since there has been some confusion, a support vote would mean you support non sysops being able to close threads, and oppose means you really support non sysops being able to close threads. I mean that you oppose them. There that should make everything crystal clear. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png For the sake of clarity, just ignore what the robot said in his P.S. --LiquidTalk 14:52, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

That does not make any sense. Oppose means you oppose non-admins closing threads and support means you support non-admins closing threads. Magic-icon.pngStelercusIlluminated Book of Balance.png 12:49, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
That's what I said! you guise are mean! kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 17:03, September 6, 2010 (UTC)


Support - I hate the fact that only admins can close YG discussions. That just makes adminship look like more of a position of power, which is wrong. Administrators should be no different from other users except for the actual tools. Beyond that, I have no idea what other system we could use, which would still follow RS:AEAE. ajr 00:42, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

On this topic, why do we even protect archives? What possible good could that do? We aren't Wikipedia; it is easy to see vandalism in the RC. I see no reason for the protection of archived discussions, other than making the action require sysop rights. ajr 00:44, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
The reason only sysops are currently permitted to close threads is not because "well gee only the higher-ups should be able to do that!" It is to ensure that the person closing the thread has a clear knowledge of policies and has proven good judgment. While its true that a non-sysop could have both of those things, if you allow non-sysops to close threads, then logically you must allow all non-sysops to close threads. All editors are equal after all, right? So an editor who has been around for under a month could close threads with all the same authority as someone who has been here for years, despite the fact that they may not have a good enough understanding of our policies and practices. Only sysops should be allowed to close, not because only sysops are capable of doing so, but all sysops are proven capable of doing so. The same cannot be said for non-sysops. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 00:54, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - I can see where Psycho is coming from. At first, when I saw this, I didn't really care who closed threads, since as long as the consensus is found and implemented, it doesn't matter. However, Psycho has a very convincing argument in that sysops are the only ones whose judgment has been confirmed through an RfA.

Of course, there are numerous things wrong with that argument. First of all, some people pass RfA's with minimal scrutiny towards their judgment. For example, I doubt that I was sysopped because people trusted me to do an excellent job on every single thread I closed. Instead, it was more likely as an anti-vandalism tool. I'd say the same goes for many other sysops. Second, users who have not passed an RfA (or who have failed an RfA) don't necessarily have bad judgment. Good judgment is only one of the qualities that people look for in candidates for adminship; it certainly isn't the only one. There have been many users with good judgment who have failed RfA's because they have little to no need for sysop tools. However, the second reason isn't as great as the first.

Now, to Ajr's comment that "I hate the fact that only admins can close YG discussions. That just makes adminship look like more of a position of power, which is wrong." (taken from the first two sentences that he posted). We do need a limit on who can close discussions; the only issue is where the line should be drawn. If you don't like that, then why is it that only bureaucrats can close RfA's? It's not because they have access to the user rights page. If that were the case, then a sysop could close it and leave a message for a bureaucrat to sysop the user. Instead, it is because bureaucrats have had their judgment thoroughly examined through an RfB.

I'm more or less neutral on this subject, as of now, though, because as I said above, RfA's are not all about judgment. I'll have to give this more thought. --LiquidTalk 01:15, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Bureaucrats close RfAs because they are the only ones that are able to. In contrast, any user has the technical ability to close a YG thread. Also, protecting threads after they are archived makes no sense. Our RC doesn't move so fast that we can't see vandalism, and the CVN feed can be used to catch the few edits that are missed. ajr 14:59, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
Bureaucrats are not the only ones able to close RfA's. As I said above, anyone could close it, and then leave a bureaucrat a message to change user rights. The reason that bureaucrats have to close it is that they "are administrators who have been chosen by the community to determine consensus on RfAs" (taken from RS:RFA), meaning that their judgment and neutral mindset has been approved by a RfB. --LiquidTalk 15:02, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
That makes no sense though. It does make sense that since bureaucrats are the ones who physically carry out the deed, they close it. ajr 15:05, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
Why not? The closer doesn't have to be the same person as the implementer. --LiquidTalk 15:16, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
I just said that it makes no sense to have someone else close an RfA, other than the one who does the actual rights modifications. And we aren't even talking about RfAs, those are completely different. ajr 19:26, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - I agree with what Psycho has said, though I would like to add that thread closure (and this is purely my opinion, as such a thing cannot be considered fact) does not make an admin look or feel superior to non-admins. It's an administrative task just like any other that requires the user be approved to carry out through an RFA. If there is any question as to the ability of any our admins to judge (this being a response to Liquid now), then they must be dealt with separately. For the sake of this discussion (or any policy, for that matter), we must assume all the admins are capable judges, or at least substantial enough to have been approved during their RFA. Magic-icon.pngStelercusIlluminated Book of Balance.png 02:07, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Support - Since this is after all directed at me, I mine as well chime in. Some threads cause useless arguing, and a request for closure simply isn't enough. I haven't closed anything without clear consensus, so there should be no issue on that point. I can't keep my mouth shut (the reason why I failed both my RfAs), but that makes me an excellent contributor to the YG. I don't think the pain of another RfA (whether it's successful or not) is necessary at this point in time. I'm not extremely active, but I'm still of the mind that it's rather ridiculous that I can't close a YG thread when I clearly am capable of it. HaloTalk 05:04, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Actually, i thought the topic was brought up because of my recent attempt to close Forum:Dungeoneering Items...You're a much more experienced editor with over 9k edits and have even had an RfA. Do people actually argue against you when you close discussions? - [Pharos] 06:49, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
User talk:Haloolah123#Link to Matt (t) 06:54, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
Oh i see. Ill shut up now... - [Pharos] 07:00, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
"I haven't closed anything without clear consensus" Orly? Full Slayer Helmet! Evil1888 Talk A's L Dragon Platebody! 07:38, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
Yarly. One it's not closed, and two, there are no supports whatsoever. You can say there was a chance it got some support, but in your brain/heart (take your pick), you know that'd be a lie. HaloTalk 14:29, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - I believe that allowing anyone to close Yew Grove discussions would result in too many conflicts of interest. That's really all there is to it. Andrew talk 06:36, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - I can see both sides to this, and they both cancel each other out. My oppose side is per Andrew. However, I could also support, because since only admins can archive threads, this gives them an opportunity to check whether the thread should have been closed, thus giving it a kind of buffer. As a result I am neutral. 222 talk 07:03, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Neutral - Per Brains. See below. Matt (t) 07:04, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose(not sure if it is support or oppose) - I believe only admins should be able to close yg discussions. There are probably some non-admins who would be better at determining consensus than some admins but admins have been selected by the community and are trusted by the community. Hunter cape (t).png Sentra246Blue hallowe'en mask.png 07:12, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

There are plenty of normal users I trust more than (certain) sysops. HaloTalk 14:24, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
Yes i have the same view but some are very good at deciding concensus and there is no way to say which users can close them and which can't as all sysops are better at closing discussions than a lot of non-admins. Hunter cape (t).png Sentra246Blue hallowe'en mask.png 07:29, September 9, 2010 (UTC)

Neutral - Per Andrew and 222. - [Pharos] 07:14, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - Although it does give them power over the forum, someone has to do it and if every bloke decided to close they could go with their side. As administrators they have earned the right and have a duty to perform and one of those is determining consensus. Full Slayer Helmet! Evil1888 Talk A's L Dragon Platebody! 07:38, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - Per Evil. Matt (t) 07:53, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

AMG, what does support mean - Does support mean I oppose letting non sysops close threads, or the other way round? 222 talk 08:18, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Support means you support non sysops being able to close threads. Yeah, it confuses me too. Matt (t) 08:23, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - Let the admins do their job, that's what they are for. Otherwise, chaos will reign. --Savemonkeys0 08:42, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

...Chaos won't reign. Some normal users are just as capable as sysops, and the opposite assumption is completely against AEAE. HaloTalk 14:25, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
Using AEAE in this situation would require that we make all the administrative rights global. As I have said before, closing discussions is an administrative task just like deletions, blocks, and so forth; the only difference being that those rights are part of the software. Just because there are no barriers in the software stopping non-admins from closing a discussion does not make it any less of an administrative task than any of the previous examples. The reason it must remain an administrative task is because there has to be a way to determine who the community trusts to close discussions as it requires an understanding of our policies, and this is done via an RFA. The fact of the matter is, we can't trust that everyone who looks at the Yew Grove understands our policies enough to determine consensus, and AEAE can't get around that. If you feel you can be trusted to close discussions, you have to have this validated by the community. I understand you have no intention of running for adminship again, and unfortunately, this means you can't close discussions. Even if you trust yourself to be an administrator, the community has to trust you, too. Unless you can prove that my opinion has no substance, I will continue to insist that only admins should be able to close discussions. Magic-icon.pngStelercusIlluminated Book of Balance.png 15:58, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
Excuse me sir, but how is adding archive=true just another maintenance task? There are no rights associated with it, any user has the technical ability to do it, so why is it limited to just sysops? Closing a thread and implementing it are two very different things. If a thread has been implemented, then who cares who closes it? ajr 19:25, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
I think what Stelercus means is that closing threads implies that the proposal has been accepted and implemented. To determine if the proposal actually is accepted, it is necessary to find a consensus on the issue. His position is that sysops are the ones entrusted with that task through an RfA. Sure, physically, it's just adding {{Archive}} to the top of the page, but I suppose symbolically, it represents the fact that the proposal is supported by the wiki. --LiquidTalk 19:34, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
What have been saying is that even though there is nothing in the software about thread closure, it must remain a task for administrators because it's not as simple as archiving it and protecting it, it's determining consensus. Just like all other administrative tasks, it requires the user have a wide understanding of our policies (mainly RS:CONSENSUS, for thread closure), and it requires we trust the user not abuse the tools. Deletion requires you understand what our policies say about deletion and have reason for the community to believe you will not use the delete button in bad faith. Again, the only difference between determining consensus and all other administrative tasks is that one could possibly be done by a non-admin, and the rest require the rights associated with the administrative user-group. Magic-icon.pngStelercusIlluminated Book of Balance.png 23:10, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
There should be no difference between admins and other users except for those specific rights. Yes, we trust our admins, but we also trust our normal users (or should). ajr 23:28, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
No, there should not, but I have already made it clear that determining consensus must be considered a tool. I trust normal users in general, but do I trust them with all the administrative rights? Regretfully, this is not the case. I can't stress enough that determining consensus is a tool just like any other. Magic-icon.pngStelercusIlluminated Book of Balance.png 23:37, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
How can you possibly describe that as a "tool"? Please show me where it is on Special:ListGroupRights. ajr 23:57, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
As I have said time and time again, determining consensus does not need to be part of the software for it to be reserved for admins only. The reasons all the rights on the list you linked me to are reserved for the administrative user-group is because they require an extensive understanding of policy and the maturity to not abuse it. I have done as much as I can to prove that determining consensus meets that description. Magic-icon.pngStelercusIlluminated Book of Balance.png 00:12, September 7, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - This is a question of good judgment. Almost all administrators have good judgment. A lot of non administrators also have good judgment. Because sysop tools are only given to those who will use them, and when the wiki needs them, this means that there are trustworthy users out there that are not administrators. Why can't they close YG threads? The key here is neutrality. If someone was directly involved in a discussion, then they shouldn't close it, regardless if they are a sysop or not. If anyone closes a discussion after supporting/opposing it, then that is bad, also regardless of the rights that that user has. ajr 14:56, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

I would disagree with you on the neutrality part. I don't think it matters if the user has supported or opposed the proposal, as long as he or she can approach it with a neutral mindset. I've closed many threads that I've supported or opposed, and many times found consensus for the other side. Of course, the user's judgment of what is "sufficiently neutral" is key, as in a large "wiki drama" thread, it's probably best to let a neutral sysop close it. --LiquidTalk 14:59, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
And of course, all of our enlightened administrators have a neutral mindset. No, per RS:CONSENSUS, it is important that the closer is always neutral, to avoid any hint of bias. ajr 15:03, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
If the thread is safe enough so that the consensus is clear, and the closer is sufficiently neutral, then he could close it. Don't tell me you expect a "Delete everything in mainspace" thread with 100 opposes to 1 support to be closed by a neutral sysop, which probably doesn't exist in that case. --LiquidTalk 15:09, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
RS:UCS Still prevails, but whenever possible the closer should be neutral on the subject. ajr 15:15, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
You're using UCS to rigidly apply a policy with no regards to its intent. This is what UCS was made to prevent! That policy was never made to prevent admins from closing an extremely one-sided thread just because they have made an opinion in it. In the situation that liquid described, it is unreasonable and needlessly bureaucratic to forbid one of the opposing admins to close the thread. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 16:59, September 6, 2010 (UTC)
Grr. Apologies, I misread your post. Specifically I skipped over the "but". Stupid opinion withdrawn. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 17:00, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - Per those who said Sysops are selected by the community, and therefor they have their judgement chosen. svco4bY.png3Gf5N2F.png 16:01, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - I have been sufficiently convinced by the arguments presented to take an oppose stance. While there is no guarantee that a sysop has better judgment than a nonsysop, the fact that the sysop passed an RfA where his or her judgment was scrutinized to some degree means that we can generally trust them to make a fair decision. One of the problems that I see with opening the closing positions to everyone is the fact that a sysop is going to have to come and semi-protect the archive anyways. Furthermore, nonsysops have not had their judgment approved by the community (though that does not mean that their judgment is bad; it just means that we don't have the same official level of community trust given to sysops). --LiquidTalk 23:58, September 6, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - While I personally oppose non-sysops closing threads for reasons already posted, I'd like to point out that those in support of this proposal are citing AEAE. It was determined through consensus that sysops should be the ones to close threads, and now there is another argument occuring involving alternate interpretations of AEAE - those who believe equal editors should close threads and those who believe sysops have had their judgement scrutinized with consensus. Not too long ago, there was a proposal that AEAE should be reformed to say "All editors are equal except where determined by consensus," and it was shut down on account of AEAE "working fine how it is." This is amusing. Leftiness 03:55, September 7, 2010 (UTC)

I somewhat doubt it was determined through consensus. Most of the early policies and pages and such were just written by 'crats/sysops/users from a long time ago. No one has bothered to bring it up since. More likely someone just thought that only sysops should be allowed to close forum threads, and thus they put it. And consensus may always be reversed on a topic. Time is everything. HaloTalk 19:03, September 8, 2010 (UTC)
The current version of the policy was approved at Forum:So really, what is consensus?. Magic-icon.pngStelercusIlluminated Book of Balance.png 20:04, September 8, 2010 (UTC)
... And if some exception to the equality that was added by consensus is removed by consensus, then the statement that "All editors are equal except where determined by consensus" holds true. Since the current system was approved by consensus, might I suggest that supporters of this proposal follow the course of action proposed in the AEAE reform I've mentioned? If supporters here would go back to So really and provide reasons as to why that consensus was inaccurate, false, or whatever, then the only opposition to this proposal would be eliminated... It's like Terminator, but on a wiki. Leftiness 03:33, September 9, 2010 (UTC)

Strong Oppose - Per Liquidhelm. [1] N7 Elite (Ready to talk now?) 05:43, September 9, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - Per maintenance argument, and per Liquidhelium. I'm a regular user and I approve this message.  TLUL Talk - Contribs 02:51, September 10, 2010 (UTC) 

Support - Per Ajraddatz. --Wowbagger421 07:03, September 12, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - Per Liquid Twigy (Talk) 1HLTxg4.png 07:05, September 12, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - per Liquid LordDarkPhantom 15:43, September 12, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - Sysops have proved that they are trusted. That doesn't apply with non-sysops. So, unless you create something like 'Requests for closure rights' I'm opposing. (which I'd also oppose since it's just more unnecessary discussion to do.) bad_fetustalk 15:11, September 15, 2010 (UTC)

Speak for yourself. There are plenty of sysops I don't trust. An RfA doesn't prove much. Basically it just proves that you used to edit a lot and you had some need/use for the tools. Many current sysops could not pass an RfA today if they had to do so. What is to suggest that someone who edits mainspace a lot and needed the tools for that has a better idea of what consensus is than someone (like me) who practically lives on YG, and yet I'm not a sysop. That is a false assumption. (Logical fallacy "false appeal to authority"). Trust has to be earned, and it takes more than an RfA several years ago to prove someone I don't know well trustworthy. HaloTalk 18:41, September 15, 2010 (UTC)
Well, you aren't supposed to support the RfA of a person that you don't trust, meaning that sysops indeed are trusted by the community. And for the old sysops that wouldn't be able to pass a RfA now thing, then, if you do think that they are un-trusted, nominate to de-sysop them, since we really shouldn't give non-trusted people sysop tools. bad_fetustalk 18:45, September 15, 2010 (UTC)
You can't desysop someone due to personal feelings. Just because I don't trust them doesn't mean they break rules. They could follow all the rules and still not have my trust. It would be a ridiculous argument, especially for someone like me who is generally taken pretty seriously around the wiki. HaloTalk 18:48, September 15, 2010 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) For the sake of wiki policies, we have to assume that all administrators are trustworthy individuals for the job. We also have to trust that the RFA process will only approve those that can be trusted with all the tools associated with adminship (meaning we can not pick and choose what we trust one admin with and not another when enforcing/creating policy). If there is an admin in particular you feel is not suitable for adminship, that must be dealt with separately. Magic-icon.pngStelercusIlluminated Book of Balance.png 18:50, September 15, 2010 (UTC)
Seeing as how I wrote all that before the two most recent comments from Halo and Chess, I would like to add that proposing to remove adminship from those who were given the rights before the current version of the RFA process was created is not the most irrational thing I have ever heard. Magic-icon.pngStelercusIlluminated Book of Balance.png 18:53, September 15, 2010 (UTC)
Because it's not irrational? bad_fetustalk 13:33, September 16, 2010 (UTC)
Grandfather rule would prevent that. (Most of them don't edit anymore, and thus aren't a concern anyways). I don't make assumptions such as that. There are several people who I don't think are suitable, but have they done anything wrong, no. So they won't be desysopped, I'd look like an idiot for suggesting it, and everyone's time get's wasted. No point in that. HaloTalk 16:33, September 18, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - Halo and Chess just co-created a good point, in my opinion. First, is it possible to apply only specific rights, like thread closure, while not applying other rights that we currently give to sysops? If so, I don't think it would be unnecessary discussion to apply for specific rights. For example, a sysop who focuses on the CVU and doesn't do much thread closure could apply for anti-vandal tools on the basis of being an anti-vandal sysop, and then any reason to oppose adminship is focused on the tools that the potential admin actually wants and intends to use. Potential admins will be judged by their ability to use the tools they apply for, and nobody will be sysoped if, for example, they're not the best thread closer, but they're just such a good anti-vandal editor. Response to an expected counter-argument: if we suddenly realize that we have nobody closing threads, then somebody obviously needs to step up and get approved for it. Opinions?Leftiness 11:21, September 16, 2010 (UTC)

Wikia won't go through the trouble to make that many different groups just for us. HaloTalk 16:28, September 18, 2010 (UTC)
They already have some type of code that makes groups exist, and there's a system in place allowing users to be added to groups. It doesn't seem to be that much a jump to split the "sysop" group into "rollback," "close threads," "ban vandals," and whatever, and then users can be added to multiple groups to give them the rights they need - something like this. Leftiness 17:12, September 18, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - We have a policy about closing them for a reason... and this is a right we agree to allow our sysops to perform when we grant them their tools. Let's keep their additional responsibilities and access rights apart from mixing it in with AEAE and whatever "common sense" might or might not be there.

Bonziiznob Talk

14:07, September 16, 2010 (UTC)

Notice of intent - I'll close this as an oppose consensus unless anyone objects. --LiquidTalk 19:17, September 24, 2010 (UTC)

Closure would mean that a non-sysop closing a thread would be unacceptable under any circumstance? 222 talk 00:22, September 25, 2010 (UTC)

Closed - An oppose consensus has been reached, non-sysops can no longer close Yew Grove threads =P Henneyj 16:06, September 25, 2010 (UTC)

sorry couldn't help myself Henneyj 16:07, September 25, 2010 (UTC)
-.- bad_fetustalk 16:08, September 25, 2010 (UTC)
Hehe ajr 16:10, September 25, 2010 (UTC)

Closed - Non-sysops will not be allowed to close YG threads under any circumstances, as per consensus here. ajr 16:10, September 25, 2010 (UTC)