Isn't that the stereotype? "Skilled programmer needs to work on interpersonal skills." I somehow doubt that's going to make headlines as a surprise story.
Numerous proposals have come up, over the past few months: keeping BC in charge of the bots, but allowing other people to respond to complaints at User talk:BetacommandBot and the newly created Image copyright help desk; splitting up the various BCBot tasks into multiple bots, to allow for (hopefully) less fragmented discussion; moving some of the most-argued-over tasks to Non-Free Content Compliance Bot; finding ways to limit the frustrating, harassing effect of suddenly getting potentially dozens of rapid-fire, lengthy messages at bot speed regarding their image uploads, either by compressing duplicate messages, refining the content of those messages, or allowing users to opt out of receiving them. That last proposal seems to have caught fire, today.
Proponents of an opt-out list argue that it would significantly reduce problems: these messages seem to attract the most drama, out of all the things BCBot does. Users often find the sudden hail of messages frustrating or confusing. Experienced users should be familiar with policies, and may not even find the messages useful. Users who wish to receive the notifications, of course, needn't sign up for the list. Such a list might help to reduce the vicious cycle of aggravation going around. This seems to be a reasonable position.
Opponents of an opt-out list argue that such a list might actually increase problems, if users later complain that they "weren't notified" of impending image deletions. The notifications can be an important notice of policy problems, either for users unaware of problems or for users interested in tracking them. The messages direct users, especially new users, to review image policy and compose fair use rationales, potentially saving a large number of images from sudden deletion, or helping users to realize that their images aren't appropriate. All of this is important for the NFC policy. This seems to be a reasonable position.
For my part, I think such a fix could go a long way to calming down this little war. It's not a perfect solution, but it may be a quick one that gets us all working on the wiki again.
Last night, Betacommand created an opt-out list at User:BetacommandBot/Opt-out. According to BC, users signing up must agree to two provisions:
- Keep in mind that when you sign this list, you fully are aware that you lose the right to complain about deletions, reversions, etc. because you were "not notified" about them.
- You also lose the right to complain about BetacommandBot itself or the issues it raises.
I find it hard to believe BC would seriously expect such a two-faced offer to last. Was this a cry for attention?
BrownHairedGirl had some comments I found quite insightful:
Doc glasgow has put an alternative wording on the table, but while I'm sure he was trying to help, I don't think that was necessary. I doubt that it would take more than a moment's work for BC to edit this short document to remove the gagging clause if he wanted to do so. However, if Betacommand believes (rightly or wrongly) that anyone who criticises him is just a drama queen, I can't see any amount of discussion here changing his mind on that point or on this wording.I don't know if there is a solution. We definitely have a problem.
I'm afraid that this just a manifestation of the wider problem that BC seems to have got himself into a position where he doesn't trust the editing community, and this particular problem won't be fixed until the wider problem is fixed. The question of how it is fixed remains to be seen, but this document is just another symptom of a breakdown of trust between a bot operator and the comunity.