MicroWiki, A Communication Failure

Throughout MicroWiki's handling of this situation, there seems to be one constant which has continued to stay throughout the entire situation, a failure to communicate it's points. The goal of this report is to look through how MicroWiki has spoken about it, and to look through what has happened recently about this entire situation to be able to best determine why this situation has escalated at the rate that it has.

MicroWiki's Initial Response

At the beginning of this issue happening, MicroWiki seemed to avoid talking about the issue, as people were not notified of the issue or of MicroWiki's decision or why properly. Even now, almost a week after the decision, we have been unable to find the exact cited reason for the unbanning other than the justification of that the user has "served their time". It seems users have been wanting a specific reason for the unbanning other than just the reason of that administration thinks the user has served time, especially that users still have showed they feel unsafe with the unbanning. We wanted to see if there was any other reason or any precautions taken regarding this, and had reached out to multiple MicroWiki Administrators for interviews, but they wouldn't make any comment or be interviewed about any of it.

Later Silence

After this initial response it seems that MicroWiki has gone into an almost complete radio silence about this issue. They had spoken of a press release on the 31st of January, but have still at the time of this article not released anything regarding this issue or had any interviews that Grandeur Print knows of. Grandeur Print did though sit down with Cloe of Sancratosia about this issue, who said that "justified concerns, which should have been addressed rather than ignored and censored." It seems that the stance of the administration was instead to try to move past the situation as fast as possible, when the community seems to be demanding responses.

The rate of which issues have been moved past seems to be much too fast, especially as the stakes heighten and both sides have growing concerns and have become more radically opposed to each other, chances of a good mending are seeming to dwindle. The current hope seemingly is that both sides may come to mend things and that MicroWiki improve on these situations in the future. This especially can be seen from that the Petitioners named the movement "A MicroWiki for Justice", seemingly still showing they identify with the MicroWiki label of the community, instead of wanting to abolish the entire way of the community.

Another incident was the deletion of content relating to the current issue, including all photos which the user who was unbanned had uploaded of themselves and a sandbox article written about the situation, calling the article "problematic ". They also have banned mention of the name of the user who was unbanned from any press article on the main page (hence why this article does not mention the individual by name).

Interview Summary

Q: So what is your opinion regarding the MicroWiki situation, like what side do you fall on?

A: As I said, I am really on edge on the whole situation, on one side I consider that there were faults from the MicroWiki Administration with dealing with the concerns of the community, justified concerns, which should have been addressed rather than ignored and censored. And on the other side of course there’s this entire self-justice movement that some people decided to take into their own hands to determine what is the best course of action to take with the Administration team, some of these actions, even though I understand them, went too far, and some of them didn’t have the right type of action that should have been needed... I want a community where everybody can be safe and have their concerns heard, that’s the kind of community I want to be a part of.

Q: Thank you, also what is your opinion regarding what Cameron Scott did with MicroWiki@Discord, the “nuking”?

A: As I said, I think I understand the frustration behind it, I mean when you are facing people who are just, when you raise a concern and their only response is “well if you talk about it we will prevent you from being a part of the community”, then you can feel, and I would feel probably, a lot of resentment. So I can understand the frustration behind it, but it probably sent the wrong message because instead of building a better community or showing how to it simply removed the goal altogether.

Q: Do you feel like the petitioners (MicroWiki For Justice) are handling this situation with care?

A: At first, when I joined MWJ there was this genuine concern that it was mostly to build a better community, a community where the concerns, if they arose, would be addressed, which was the view of the admins. But it soon derailed and with some individuals who have held some administrative powers on MWJ trying to settle some personal vendettas... I hope what happens from both ideas [that] there is a common understanding that people don’t want that drama, at least I don’t, and that both sides need to come to that understanding and I think that from now on there should be a dialogue since when things escalate there is normally a lack of dialogue, so I hope there is more to come to a common understanding or compromise.

Q: Do you think that MicroWiki’s staff should be replaced?

A: I mean, if the staff is not ready to admit at least that they have made some mistake as a team when the community’s showed their concerns, at least that would be the first step, and they should at least apologise for how they handled the concerns... it seemed to just be the idea of if you criticise the decision then you are starting a fight... the admin process needs to be more transparent or diversified, I think that all of to the admins are people who think alike, that it kind of will be their own bubble, and an echo chamber without the diversity of opinions... I think some people should step down in the sake of diversity to not have a monolith of the admin teams from it to stop unilateral decisions that are not stopped, and give hellfire. I think if these admins are really wanting to help the community and care then they should do a reflective process on themselves, and they should look on if they have done the right thing, and they should be replaced if they cannot do that, because this is not how you handle the concerns of a community.

Q: What steps going forward do you think need to be taken by MicroWiki?

A: Well I mean one of the faults of the admins was to prevent any discussion, and that has to be at least one of the things they should apologise for, since they need to apologise for not letting the dialogue happen... with MWJ there are some actions that need to be apologised for as well, you can have some discontent about them but some of the actions were too far, if you wanted to protest a lack of dialogue there are definitely some actions that pushed that dialogue one step back... apologies need to happen on both sides and dialogue needs to happen. As well there needs to be real talking from the admin staff on if they are fit to stay an admin even if they can lose their status some people need to realise that it isn’t that big of a deal about MicroWiki and need to kind of get their head back on earth... We need an admin team that is really for things and stopping things from getting really bad on safeguarding and banning users on that... We need some people who can take the pressure of it... Individuals who care about the community would have taken steps to prepare the community and listened to the community instead of shutting them down... because I have not seen a good solidarity from the admins for the community other than rushing to make a new discord after it.

Q: What do you think about the unbanning when the Administrators must have known about this user, especially as the User’s userpage itself in 2019 was the 6th most viewed page on the entirety of MicroWiki?

A: Well from the little that I know about the individual’s actions and stuff like that it should have been planned and once again, if it was not planned then it was because there was something lacking from the admin team. If it was then no plan to minimally explain, as still to this day I’ve seen no explanation other than “the user served their time”. Which that doesn’t say much... nobody raised their voice to say that that’s not how they do things. There was a lack of leadership that no-one foresaw that it would happen. If nobody to me foresaw that people would be concerned, to me that should say enough about the administrator’s team to administrate MicroWiki as a whole

The full text of the interview can be found here.

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