Wikipedia:Requests for comment/User conduct disputes archive/172

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User 172 is being very aggressive in both History of the United States (1980-present) (Talk) and Problems of land distribution in Zimbabwe (Talk). On both pages 172 unilaterally removed neutrality dispute messages, and in the History of the US unilaterally reverted to his POV prior editions. --Hcheney 20:08, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)


I have to add my voice to those concerned at the quality of 172's editing. I recently intervened in an edit war on Alexander Lukashenko, to try to improve the factual content of an article which was heavy on POV analysis and dubious speculation (e.g. the CIA supposedly plotting against Lukashenko). I've since been dismayed to find 172 repeatedly deleting reams of straightforward historical reporting and replacing them with the POV additions that caused the edit war in the first place. As I've said in the related Talk page, it's supposed to be an encyclopedia entry, not an op-ed page. I'm not sure that 172 understands the difference. I might add that his explanations on the Talk page have been far from satisfactory and haven't been supported by any other contributors (of whom there've been several so far). ChrisO

Anthere has now protected the article to end a renewed edit war between 172 and Adam, but given the apparent willingness of 172 to delete factual content to which he has a seemingly ideological dislike, I'm not sure there's going to be much meeting of minds. -- ChrisO 18:28, 1 Feb 2004 (UTC)


Yes, I did remove factual content posted by the above issue. And I stand by my actions. As I have reiterated repeatedly on the talk page, the issue was not the accuracy of the facts that he presented, but what kinds of facts that he chose to include and what kinds of facts that he chose to omit. This made for the most ridiculous account of the 1998 financial crises that I have ever read. He went to painstaking effort to present what was a worldwide series of financial failures in the aftermath of the East Asia meltdown as a problem unique to Belarus, ultimately and solely stemming from the erratic personality of its leader. It is simply absurd to focus squarely and solely on the Central Bank policies when discussing inflation in Belarus, or the overvalued exchange rate and default in Russia in 1998.
By selectively choosing his data, his discussion of the crash was sheer propaganda. Also, he did not clearly present the sources and implications of hyperinflation in Belarus and the domestic political fallout of the '98 crash.
I said that I'd welcome his attempts to rewrite the content. I simply said that I could not salvage it. Someone could do the same to the Yeltsin article, choosing select facts in order to lay sole blame on him for the default. This would be "factual," but also a biased, loopy, POV polemic.
But then again, I am the only one familiar with the social science literature on postcommunism and structural adjustment, so this will hardly matter around here. Instead, I'll just continue to be maligned, as I am an unpopular user trying to maintain NPOV policies on a page about an tin-pot-dictator.
I have been on Wiki long enough to know what will happen. Users will not" research the origins of the 1998 financial crises in the former Soviet Union. Instead, I'll be subject to a lot of personal attacks and innuendo and I'll lose a juvenile popularity contest. He will be able to cry out that I'm removing factual data, lie about my motivations, and I'll be subject to insults from a bunch of users who couldn't even locate this country on a world map.
Regardless, I will continue to remove misleading one-sided presentations of historical data. If I were afraid of name-calling, I'd solely focus on articles like the Origins of the American Civil War, even though it was refreshing to work on this article and not have to deal with Cold War-era catch phrases and paranoia. And I don't care what kind of fallout. Lukashenko may be repugnant, but doesn't mean that we can neglect NPOV policies in that article.
I expect to be attacked further. But I will continue to bear the thankless burden of enforcing NPOV policies where its unpopular to adhere to them. 172 22:47, 1 Feb 2004 (UTC)

User:172 seems to have had a severe problem of wikiquette in dealing with me. I posted a nice post to his/her talk page, and recieve a backlash (flaming) on my own. Then he clears the messages off his talk page with the summary 'clearing my page of infantile idocy'. Even if I am totally clueless on the topic of Joseph Stalin it is no reason to call me infantile and implying that I support "Bullshit" comments. Ilyanep 03:07, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)

You also seem to like twisting things. I asked you for sources and a basis for comparison, and then you respond with an ad hominem attack, rather than admitting that you are a non-expert (prone to mess up) when it comes to writing for history. 172 03:14, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I do admit I am somewhat clueless, but that does not mean you should call me infantile and as writing "bullshit", that is my only big objection.Ilyanep 03:22, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)
You're not alone in being dumped on by 172, he habitually belittles anybody who disagrees with him, especially if he thinks he knows more than the other person. He mass-deletes material in articles without discussing it first or citing sources, then turns around and insists that other people justify their edits, repeatedly reverting until people get tired of it and go away. Check out his user contributions list, it's very illuminating. I've found him impossible to work with, and have moved on to other areas. Stan 05:19, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I was the one who initially changed the Stalin page to include prominent mention of the 20 million dead and the Gulag. In response to 172's criticism I have included sources (links to wikipedia accounts of Robert Conquest and the Gulag). godless 05:30, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Well, here we go again. I'm used to getting glib, knee-jerk "you hurt my feelings" reactions to my comments. I have a lot of critics who disregard the complexities of history, personalizing it and viewing it in a static fashion. By now, I expect to be attacked by people whose reality has been largely formed thorough a narrow, highly ideological frame of reference. It's fairly telling, however, that a get along very well with the handful of contributors who are also professional academics in the fields of history and the social sciences. I disagree with some very often with respect to content, presentation, and emphases, but the conversations are always amicable when I am pitted against someone with serious objections to my work. BTW, I can provide anyone with mountains of sources for anything that I post if asked. And I often do. 172 06:56, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)
If someone self-identifies as an academic professional, yes, you're polite and deferential - almost tempts me to create a sock puppet with a fake academic resume just to prove my point. But non-academics, or more accurately the editors who do not identify themselves as academics, who disagree with you, politely or not, get the rude and condescending treatment, and more importantly, you revert their material without discussion, cited or no, as witness [1] and [2] the latter being especially ironic since you're demanding justifications, but the original material didn't cite a single source, in either the article or talk page. Stan 08:28, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)
To be honest, it didn't matter that he pulled Conquest's name out of his ass and added it to his little sentence. The problem was the word "murder," which is used in such a matter to be all but meaningless. Even if he claims that Conquest is a source, the sentence is too vague to belong in an article. 172 03:13, 27 Jan 2004 (UTC)
And BTW, I can get along with anyone who knows what he/she is talking about and knows how to avoid sweeping generalizations. I first started working with user:Jiang, for example, when he was still in high school, and I have had considerable disagreements with him. But he is always able to marshall his evidence well (sometimes better than I can), and I will speak to him with the same measure of respect that I show Adam, Jtdirl, and others. But I can't say the same for others, who insist on just spewing their personal opinions and reductionisms. 172 03:35, 27 Jan 2004 (UTC)
MURDER, ahem: Murder is what it is. He killed millions of people for being 'enemies of the regime' when they might've doon nothing or said a simple sentence, similar to Hitler's treatment of Jews during the holocaust. As said in the comments below, I'd like you to calmly and I mean Calmly tell me why you are whitewashing Stalin's record even when a source (in fact, If I really looked I could provide you with probably 20 sources) has been presented to you as per your asking. Ilyanep 23:08, 27 Jan 2004 (UTC)
It didn't matter that I cited Conquest? Then why did you ask for sources in the first place? The millions killed by Stalin's regime have been documented by *many* authors. I could go into chapter and verse in the rest of the bio (as I will later), but for the opening sentence there should be a reference to the millions dead. The way you prefer to phrase it - "Sure, Stalin committed mass purges *but* he made Russia industrialized" - is a clear attempt to minimize the death toll and make it seem as if the ends justified the means. That wouldn't stand in a Hitler intro - there is no mention of Hitler's industrialization of Germany, as his reputation is based on WW2 and the Holocaust rather than the revitalization of Germany after WW1. Bottom line - Chris O came up with a different formulation which is far better from a NPOV standpoint. Also, it's worth asking - are you a communist? Why are you trying to whitewash Stalin's record? godless 04:48, 27 Jan 2004 (UTC)
You'll find that 172 has a fondness for dictators of all stripes, especially if they're known for killing masses of people. RickK 04:54, 27 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Knock it off. I am just trying to keep the focus on serious history rather than a lot of mindless opinion. See my comments on the Lukashenko page. 172 09:42, 27 Jan 2004 (UTC)

User:172 has now seemed to have left. One who could not stand being challenged with honest fact and sources... Ilyanep 23:14, 27 Jan 2004 (UTC)

No, I will probably stop contributing my own work. But I will periodically try to reign in you bullshiters. I will say it again. This is my profession and I have read each of major works by the author who was cited. I have also read scores of other more recent accounts that you have probably never touched. The issue is vague, unclear, and simplistic writing, which serious students of history despise. If you want to watch what a serious Wiki user does, look at the concerns Mikkalai is raising on the Stalin article. You and godless, on the other hand, were just trolling and provoking flame wars. 172 09:55, 28 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Ofcourse, if someone calls Ronald Reagan's novel writer a source, how come Joseph Stalin's can't be too? BL 14:21, Jan 28, 2004 (UTC)

I think 172 has been doing a fantastic job. I think with so many administrators being right wing (Ed Poor and Fred Bauder being particularly egregious examples), people are simply upset there is someone with admin privileges who is willing to curb some of the abuses of the far right users. Most people against 172 are against him simply because he does not fit into their ideological bent. HectorRodriguez 21:58, 10 Feb 2004 (UTC)


I'm going to add my two cents here, even though I hoped I wouldn't have to go to the conflict pages, because a recent incident has really taken it to a new level, namely the conversation in Talk:Soviet collectivism. He declared, against two others who oppose him, that "those paragraphs are getting removed". When I responded that "this is a collaborative project, so your last declaration is out of line. Two people favor the restoration, two its deletion. That's why we're discussing it", he responded by reiterating "those two paragraphs are the most problematic and they're staying out of the text", again failing to address the fact that there is a disagreement which should be talked over. But what really went over the line was him saying "It's off base to order me around. telling me that I cannot delete this drivel if you cannot defend it." The fact that he would call my insistence that the process include a dialog an act of me "ordering him around" shows a new, appalling level of disingenuousness and recalictrance and lack of civility. Based on what I've read here, this seems to be a recurring problem. -- VV 19:04, 12 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Please, I invite anyone interested to take a look at Talk:Soviet collectivism. I tried to be as helpful to this user as possible in two detailed responses. After my first detailed posting, he asked that I salvage the text. In response, I proceeded to explain the impossibility of such a task, given the sheer absence of any discernable topic. I challenged him to give me a counter-argument, asking him to define "Soviet collectivism" and lay out what belongs in an article on this topic. Instead, I just hear how he and this phantom second person like it (yet he doesn't explain why). He claims that this is enough of a reason for it to stay. I admit, I'd rather hurt his feelings than let Wiki degenerate into some b.s. scribble-box. He can cry and tattle-tale all he wants. 172 20:27, 12 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Arguing for 172's lack of civility has become redundant in light of this response. -- VV 22:20, 12 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I am troubled by 172's second unilateral removal of the neutrality dispute message in History of the United States (1980-1988), which I have restored. Should 172 find it imperative to remove the message again without the consensus of the other contributors to the article, I would probably be advised to move to Step 2 in the proscribed Dispute resolution. --Hcheney 20:21, 17 Feb 2004 (UTC)


Looking at admins like Ed Poor, Fred Bauder and others, I see a heavy right wing bias. I see very little counter to this among admins, except people like 172. And who is complaining, the average user? No, VeryVerily, RickK, people who have a political perspective and don't like what 172 has to say. The right-wing white yuppie American bias is throughout articles, and there seems to be a cabal dedicated to keeping it that way, at least 172 is around to try to provide some balance. HectorRodriguez 03:58, 20 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Not that there's any point, but I'll mention (besides the absurdity of the claims of "right-wing" bias on Wikipedia-- hah!) that the issue has never been 172's political views nor what he "has to say", but his behavior towards other users and transgressions of policies. Read the complaints about him above and you will see virtually no mention of his views. As for what he has to say, this is an encyclopedia, not an opinion forum, so such views don't belong anyway. -- VV 07:05, 20 Feb 2004 (UTC)
You're right, there should be a diverse pool of Admins, and 172 should remain an admin unless there is a serious abuse of admin powers. I agree there is a slight center-right and American-centric bias in a fair number of articles, though I have yet to see this "white" or "yuppie" bias. However, replacing a right-wing bias with a left-wing bias is extremely counter-productive. We should all focus on working towards neutrality, such as the removal of terrorist from article titles. --Hcheney 15:32, 20 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I think 172 is a great admin. Bravo 172! Richardchilton 09:51, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)