Wikivoyage talk:Deny recognition

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Turning User:SelfieCity/Deny into policy[edit]

I drafted this not long ago and perhaps we could decide whether to move it into "Wikivoyage" space or not? By creating this policy page, we'd no longer have to link to Wikipedia for our "deny" "policy". There is still room for improvement, so if we're not keen on making it policy yet, we could move it into Wikivoyage space as a draft temporarily, until we get the version we want. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 14:43, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

The w:Wikipedia:Deny recognition on which this is based is not a policy or even a guideline, it is an essay - one person's opinion, which does not impose specific obligations on the community. That is as it should be. This should not be set in stone as binding policy. K7L (talk) 14:49, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
Sure, but we're not Wikipedia. They're a much larger site, currently, with a lot more edits, making it harder for the admins to patrol it fairly. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 14:51, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
I support turning this into policy. There is nothing objectionable here, and we have a small group of administrators trying to handle vandalism. Good work, SelfieCity. Ground Zero (talk) 16:04, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
Support --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 16:09, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
Support. Whatever label you want to hang on it, policy or guideline or essay, it's the general principle that guides the vandalism abatement procedures at Wikipedia and there's no reason why it shouldn't be the same here. Wikivoyage may be "a different place" than Wikipedia, but we're not that different, and this is one of the many principles that are equally applicable to all wikis. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 16:54, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
I mostly support this. I think policies that we follow here on WV should always be written down here locally.
First of all, vandals should certainly not have any "fair chance" to vandalize here, especially in the light of recent attacks on stewards and users who I would imagine do a stupendous job keeping other wikis clean of inappropriate content, because of the amount of hate they receive from said vandals, BTW going on as I'm typing this. And if "denying visibility" becomes policy it could well be extended to cover some particularly hard cases of touting and probably also copyvios. Also, I don't think this could lead to "Wikivoyage at the mercy of the whims of certain admins" or something of that sort (this concern has been voiced in some other discussions recently). The hidden edits are still open for all the other admins to examine, right?
Nevertheless, I don't know how meaningful it's to hide normal/small volume/general vandalism which can just be reverted. Deleting revisions and user names has until recently only been used to remove personal information and openly offensive edits, so I think it would be a too big step to hide each and every malicious edit. In other words, there should be different levels of action depending on how serious and above all how persistent the problem in each case is.
Moreover I don't really see the harm in openly pointing out the character of a particular vandal's edits? I mean, even as the edits themselves, the creations of the long term abusers are deleted and hidden, there could very well exist descriptions of said edits both as a reminder to instantly recognize the pattern of that particular vandal if they go inactive for months or years, and as a sign to the vandal that there's nothing they can come up with that admins and users wouldn't see through. Note that long-term vandals almost never vandalize "in general" (general vandalizing usually amounts to adding plain obscenities to random articles and stops immediately once they're blocked for the first time). Instead long-term vandals are reminiscent of broken records and they have a certain (type of) "message" they desperately want to voice and/or a particular set of articles they target. ϒψιλον (talk) 20:51, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
My feeling is that the reason for the new practices is that this is a Wiki with a small number of admins, facing a much less limited number of instances of vandalism. Sometimes, no admin at all is active, and we may have stewards covering for us, but though we are much indebted to them, we can't count on them because they're also busy at many other Wikis. None of this stuff would matter much if we could have 10 or even 5, maybe even 3 admins active at all hours of the day and night, every day, but I don't see that as likely any time soon. And while it would be good to have more admins, there is also the risk that giving too many people tools without being careful about who we give them to could give rise to damaging cases of some user who never should have been made an admin committing acts of vandalism as such. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:40, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
I oppose making this (or anything like it) a "policy". I don't care what namespace it resides in, but the multiplication of rules is generally a bad idea. It's good to seek ideas from other people, but it's not usually good to prescribe a one-size-fits-all approach to every situation.
In the particular instance, you should not treat a vandal from a politician's office the same way you treat a vandal from a school. Politicians should be shamed for poor behavior; students should not. The Arabic Wikipedia, BTW, got a number of useful editors back in their early days by carrying on personal conversations with vandals, and trying to get them to make constructive edits. They were operating on the theory that if you could vandalize in Arabic, then that proved that you could write in Arabic and already knew how the Edit button worked, so you were a prime target. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:22, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
I think we may be getting too hung up on the specific reference to this as a "policy". I'd be content to have it function here the same way it does at Wikipedia, that is, not as a hard-and-fast rule but as a general statement of best practice that governs vandalism abatement in most if not virtually all cases. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 01:02, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
Further to my remarks above: We should probably be adding more patrollers to deal with vandalism. If these guidelines are going to lead to too much dissension, we don't need to have them, but that's only provided we really have enough hands on deck to deal with the vandalism in real time. And while patrollers can help, we also need people with admin tools. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:17, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm ready to declare this entire matter closed - this proposed policy as well as the so-called "controversy" over the revision deletion of vandalistic edits - for want of any seriously considered opposition to the current course of action. What, in essence, are the arguments against? Between this thread, pub#Changing visibility on edits.., and Wikivoyage:User ban nominations#Ban editing userspace pages?, we've got: one user whose commentary advocating for gently reaching out to vandals hearkens back to the farcical approach we took in the earliest days of this site and is frankly jaw-dropping in its naïveté; one marginally active admin who mostly seems offended that all decision-making doesn't grind to a halt during her months-long absences from active administrative duty; one admin using these deliberations as an excuse to reignite an old feud with me; one user whose history as a participant in policy discussions could be described as either gleeful obstructionism for its own sake or something that looks a hell of a lot like it; and a couple of trusted admins who are urging us to proceed with caution but stopping short of opposing the current procedure. With the obvious exception of the latter, do we really have to pretend to take these comments seriously? Wikivoyage is not a dictatorship and we should be willing to hear out alternative viewpoints, but it's also important to draw a distinction between legitimate concerns and nonsense. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 05:27, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
You're drawing too hard a line. Nothing is ever "closed" on Wikivoyage; everything remains open for discussion. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:36, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
True enough, but I think you know what I'm getting at anyway. If we're going to keep this proposal in limbo, it better be for a good reason. The reasons we've heard thus far aren't good ones. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 05:40, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
I don't support enshrining this in policy either, at least not yet. I'm tentatively optimistic about our experiment with revision-deleting long-term abusers, but it is still very new. It's also worth keeping in mind that the proposal under discussion is significantly more heavy-handed than w:WP:DENY. I'd feel more comfortable if we imported a version of that essay instead.
In any case there's no rush. Why don't we keep this in SelfieCity's userspace for now, and in a few months when we have more perspective we can revisit whether to turn it into policy? —Granger (talk · contribs) 05:52, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm comfortable with considering this an experiment, too. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:05, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
There's no reason to rush, but there's also no reason not to rush. You say "the proposal under discussion is significantly more heavy-handed than w:WP:DENY", but why is that a bad thing? What specifically about the proposal strikes you as being anything other than common sense, and applicable to the vast majority of cases of vandalism? (And as for unusual cases where any of these proposed procedures would not be suitable, what makes you think we wouldn't willing to set policy aside where exceptions prove rules, just as with our other policies?) -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 20:28, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
I have some reservations about this policy, but am not opposed to giving it a go. It would be useful to have some measures of whether or not it is successful - e.g. do we say it works if less users are blocked in 2019 than 2018, or conversely do we note a failure if there are less new users making good edits, because their first test edit was met with hard force. AlasdairW (talk) 21:25, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
I think we should put some form of distinction in place between essays or opinions, guidelines and inflexible, binding policies. The latter, once in place, are restrictive and have been difficult to get rid of; they lead to instruction creep which is best avoided. Trying indiscriminate, widespread revision deletions as an experiment is one thing - casting them in stone as policy is quite another. K7L (talk) 22:08, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
K7L - Importantly, there's nothing about revision deletions in this proposal (unless I missed something, and if I did, I would not be against the idea of striking that portion). The actual text of User:SelfieCity/Deny reads like a combination of w:WP:DENY, w:WP:BEANS, and w:WP:Revert, block, ignore, which, again, are regarded as canonical anti-vandalism procedure at Wikipedia appropriate in the vast majority of real-world cases. The revision deletion experiment is a separate issue, and while there's a good deal of overlap between the two things, we should not be confused about what exactly it is we're supporting or opposing when it comes to this proposal. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 23:40, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
@AndreCarrotflower: I think you should read the proposal more carefully. It does encourage revision deletion, as well as containing other advice that isn't in the Wikipedia essays you linked. —Granger (talk · contribs) 23:44, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
Okay, I stand corrected. To be as clear as I possibly can without stuffing beans up my nose (pinging SelfieCity for this part), the most we can say about revision deletion at this point is that it's something that may be effective against a specific kind of long-term abuser, and at the very least we should wait to see how effective the experiment is before advocating it officially. But after rereading the document again, I have to say that other than that clause, there's nothing in there that's not common sense and/or already standard operating procedure at Wikipedia. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 23:54, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
That may be. The revision deletion paragraph is my biggest concern about the proposal. Another area of concern (which doesn't come from the Wikipedia essays as far as I can tell) is the encouragement of admin-only discussions. My other slight concerns are the bullet points that begin "It's important that you don't go the pub" and "It's important to remember", which seem to be phrased in a stronger way than the advice on Wikipedia. —Granger (talk · contribs) 00:41, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────With the caveat that I'm not an administrator at Wikipedia and can't speak on the precise inner workings with a great deal of authority, it seems like the best analogue for the clause about admin-only discussions would be w:WP:LTA. If you take a real close look at that page and (especially) a lot of the individual case dossiers linked from it, you'll see a lot of terse conversations among admins where the only logical way they make sense is if most of the salient information is being shared in a parallel conversation held somewhere else, away from prying eyes. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 00:57, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

Generally, I haven't played a major role in this discussion, but I think it's important to mention that I've made some edits to the policy page: compare. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 01:00, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm probably ruffling a few feathers by jumping into this discussion, and I don't feel as though I'm welcome to comment on the whole issue, but the admin-only discussions are a point I'm confused about. I was under the impression, from the talks at Wikivoyage:Vandalism in progress, that the non-public board was supposed to be for discussion of vandal identification, so as not to allow them an opportunity to change the methods that make them pass the duck test. Fine; this is necessary. It was further deemed that the proper permission level to access this board was sysop; perfectly reasonable. Recently, when I reported a vandal, I find that, not only is such discussion apparently not going on, but also found out that seeming "policy"/admin practices with regards to vandals were apparently being decided there, instead. I can't see a reason for such discussion not to happen out in the open. Even if the talks must happen on a page only admins can edit, fine, but what is the harm in allowing even the vandals to read "by the way, there is now consensus(?) to hide vandal revisions"? Instead, we have damaged the apparent openness of the community and called the legitimate processes of consensus-building into question. I understand these decisions were not taken lightly, but even so it certainly feels exclusionary and goes against the spirit of wikis. ARR8 (talk) 01:19, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
@ARR8: You're certainly welcome to participate in the discussion, and I'm glad you have. I share many of your concerns about admin-only discussions.
@AndreCarrotflower: It's possible you're right about w:WP:LTA. At the very least I think any policy that encourages admin-only discussions should emphasize that they should only happen when absolutely necessary. —Granger (talk · contribs) 01:29, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
Granger has made some more changes, and mostly I agree with them. However, I don't agree with the sentence "But only use the abuse filters for discussion when absolutely necessary, as this excludes other members of the community from participating." The stuff that's discussed in the Abuse Filters is generally not important enough to worry about it excluding anyone, and honestly, almost all of the regular users are one of three things: 1) already an admin — that's most of them, 2) not an admin because they don't want to be, or 3) they're making rapid progress towards adminship. Therefore, most people can access the filter, or they don't want to be an admin (their own choice, not admins' fault), or fairly soon they'll be admin and be able to see the Abuse Filters anyway. And, if something really important is mentioned there, we can always copy it into an email. So far, conversation in the Abuse Filter has been pretty casual, and that has been fine, and we've come up with quite a lot of good ideas without causing harm to those who can't access the filter. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 15:26, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

Trial period?[edit]

Given the number of objections which are going to make it difficult to reach a consensus in favour, but which are unfortunately short on specific criticisms of the proposal's text or suggestions on how to improve it, how about we treat the proposal as policy for a time-limited period (say, one month, or six weeks), and see what effects - positive and negative - it has on the vandal situation? --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 22:53, 8 December 2018 (UTC)

Since a couple of people have asked, here are some specific examples of concerns I have about the proposal. I'm concerned about the encouragement of admin-only discussions, the encouragement of revision-deletion, and the repeated advice to do nothing and avoid discussions, all of which strike me as contrary to the spirit of a wiki and which are liable to lead to a feeling of exclusiveness and discontentment. It's possible that as phrased in the page these are all good advice and the good will outweigh the harm, but I'm not confident in that, and I would much rather wait until the current fervor has died down and we can consider the proposal in a more coolheaded way.
I'm also concerned that revision deletion may be a slippery slope. There already seem to be admins (I haven't checked the logs to find out who) revision-deleting edits made not by vandals but simply by banned users and by established editors responding to banned users, and I'm concerned where this is going to go. I don't want to end up in a situation where people feel that any harmful edit can be revision-deleted at their discretion. I'd say a policy that encourages revision deletion should place clear limits on when revision deletion is appropriate. —Granger (talk · contribs) 23:37, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
@Mx. Granger: I've edited the page accordingly. What do you think of it now? --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 01:05, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
I would say those edits don't fully address my concerns. I'll see if I can come up with a version that does. I have to go to work in a minute, but I'll come back to this when I have time. —Granger (talk · contribs) 01:29, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
I support a trial period but do not support an entrenched policy yet. There are many reasons for why vandalism exists and recognition is only one of them. I would wait and see whether vandalism rates drop due to this approach or not. Especially because a significant number of editors have reservations with such a high usage of revision deletions. Gizza (roam) 02:48, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
Okay, here's a version that's okay with me. —Granger (talk · contribs) 11:22, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
I find the wording OK and having a trial period a good idea. Would however like to suggest that changing visibility, be limited to offensive content or personal attach. Would also consider political views being hidden too. However just a random vandalism, or meaningless change should just be a normal undo/rollback. As mentioned by others concerned about keeping the spirit of open editing on a wiki site. Yes they can still be seen by administrators but this could give the false impression of a closed group and favors admins who are the most active. There are admins on this site that have other commitments in the physical world and also in other other virtual domains or like myself are sometimes outside of land and cell connection for periods of time. Also moving discussions and edits to admins only will make it difficult for other contributors to follow what is happening, which could discourage future potential admin candidates being educated and coming forward. End of the day best solution is just to undo without making too much noise and ignore the vandals as much as possible. --Traveler100 (talk) 12:08, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
I don't want there to be a misimpression among non-admin users that they could face some kind of secret process (and for whatever it's worth, I assure everyone that this is only about vandalism, nothing else), but discussing methods of vandals in public means that they can read the specifics of any filters and adjust accordingly. Surely, you're well aware of that. And maybe none of this would be too important right now if we had a bunch of active admins covering this site at all hours of the day, every day, to revert vandalism and block vandals, but you also have to realize that there could come a time when no matter how many crew members we have on deck, manually holding back the junk might become impossible. I fear that even suggesting this in public is a stupid thing to do, but since you insist on discussing security matters in public... Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:34, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── First, I agree with Ikan Kekek. Second, T100, your opinions seem on the whole are reasonable; however, I'm a little surprised about "political views" being hidden. Are there certain ones you are referring to here? --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 15:36, 9 December 2018 (UTC)


There's been a lot of concern about the revision deletions, and there's also been enough open and detailed discussion about this issue that most of our strategy has probably been compromised already, so I suppose there's no point in continuing to be reticent. One of the concerns has been that there doesn't seem to be a well-defined scope of when revision deletion should and should not happen. This is not true. We have several different long-term abusers working simultaneously: Fuerdai, BTCentralPlus, LibMod, ArticCynda, and a crosswiki vandal who verbally abuses and threatens various Stewards by name. Revision deletions are supposed to be targeted at only the first three of those five. The philosophy is that the ability to see their own usernames and reread the content of their own vandalism in page histories is itself a form of "recognition" that vandals should be "denied" (cf. w:Wikipedia:Deny recognition). Therefore, the username, content, and edit summary of the vandals' edits should be deleted, as should the edit summary of the subsequent edit, which usually also includes the vandal's username (e.g. "Reverted edits by Vandal X to previous version by Good-Faith Contributor Y"). Inasmuch as some users may have employed revision deletion in other cases than this, that's a problem and it should stop, but overall I think the tactic is a good one, as did most of those who shared their feedback on Abuse Filter 25, where the idea was first hatched. It's too early to tell how successful we've been, but I think it's worthwhile to at least continue trying until we know (and anyone who's paying attention knows in which direction Fuerdai and BTCentralPlus activity seems to be trending).

Another concern that's been expressed is that the revision deletions contravene the spirit of an open wiki. But what's happening here is not without precedent. The aggregate of everything we've been doing lately to abate vandalism here - I'm talking about the revision deletions, SelfieCity's proposed policy, the use of Abuse Filters to share information away from the prying eyes of vandals - constitutes a sort of patchwork, ad hoc analogue to w:Wikipedia:Long-term abuse, which is a centralized area where Wikipedia administrators identify, form strategy regarding, and finally act against persistent vandals. Importantly, most of the conversations regarding that seem to take place in backchannels inaccessible to ordinary users; I'm not an admin over there, and I have a hard time following the publicly accessible portions of the conversations there for want of so much "missing" information. Many of the elements of our homegrown version of WP:LTA are improvised and imperfect solutions - I'm talking about the use of Abuse Filters here, which have only two settings, "publicly visible" and "admin only", which gives us no way to simultaneously exclude vandals while also including trusted and active users who aren't admins, such as Ypsilon and ARR8 - and I would most certainly welcome a superior alternative to that element of the setup. But until then, I would ask you to think about this from the point of view of those who are doing the most heavy lifting in terms of combating vandalism. It's an exhausting, thankless, neverending, but ultimately vitally necessary task that puts you in contact with some really breathtaking examples of the ugliness that people can inflict on one another. We're all human beings behind these screens and keyboards, and that sort of thing wears us down. Why would we not want to do all we can to discourage those who want to behave badly, and to streamline the process for those who work to undo their damage? And, more to the point, what good does it do to doubt the intentions of the people who are doing the hard work of vandalism abatement? Why do we elect people to positions of trust, such as administrator and bureaucrat, only to then begin to question their trustworthiness? How does that help the site or, frankly, make any sense at all?

-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 15:29, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

Yes, and may I say that early on I made some mistakes and reverted some instances of vandalism that weren't one of the first three, because I wasn't understanding the method yet. But what harm does that do?
I know this is a little blunt, but if people feel excluded because anti-vandalism discussions are done in private, IMO, shame on them. We're not trying to ban non-admins in secret, or anything of that nature. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 15:38, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
I'll point out, since I've been mentioned by name, that I did not express the thoughts I did out of a grudge from being personally excluded, or anything like that. I have no such grudge, resentment, etc. Even if I were included, I would still say the things I did. Speaking on the merits of the issue itself, I'm not convinced that outlining the broad details of this strategy makes is worthless, and I certainly hope that's not the case. But returning to the broader meta-issue of "exclusion" (a word I also used), it's more about the principle. Say someone wanted to weigh in in the revision issue or whatever is being discussed behind closed doors. They would:
  • Not know the discussed problems that led to the introduction of such measures
  • Not know the different variants suggested
  • Not know the objections raised, or the arguments against those objections
  • Not know whether the issue were permanent or on a trial basis
  • Not know if a process is being used "inappropriately" (that is, outside of the guidelines suggested in the hidden discussion, not just in a way that used doesn't like)
In effect, this blocks a user from commenting, and we lose on the perspectives they may have to offer. These can come from anyone: a Wikipedia admin, a steward, even an anonymous user passing by. It is for this reason that I worry that having such an avenue, and using it for anything but discussing vandal patterns (per Granger's edits to /Deny) would eventually lead to a slow creep of anything vandal-related being discussed there, out of even the tiniest perception that open discussion would benefit the vandals -- and such a phenomenon would only hurt this community, in my opinion. I support this effort as much as anyone, but, seeing the scope of it change so wildly and so soon gives me pause. Hopefully my perspective can be understood here. ARR8 (talk) 15:55, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm really sorry if my message implied "shame on you", because you're a really valuable contributor. Thanks for clarifying and I think here you have a lot of good ideas about this. Email is probably a better route than abuse filters, although I see no harm in casual discussion about vandals taking place in the abuse filters. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 17:01, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
That's fine. Hopefully we can all do our part to remember the people behind the keyboards, as ACF points out. ARR8 (talk) 17:20, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I didn't intend to refer to you originally, more to a "hypothetical person" who felt excluded by this whole thing. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 17:29, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

Can I add to Andre's above comment, the substance of which I agree with and support wholeheartedly, that however you feel about revision deletion, the fundamental principle of deny recognition is ignoring the attempts of vandals (specifically those named above) to communicate. That is still not happening, which is frustrating to see. Please can all regular users refrain from replying to any such comments left by repeat vandals? This requires no effort at all apart from some self-control. Thanks, ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 18:49, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

We shouldn't worry too much about what vandals think or feel — remember they're not here to write a travel guide, but in the best case only here to add a couple smileys and in the worst case to troll the project for years. Instead, the primary objective should be ridding Wikivoyage of the vandals' edits and prevent them from editing here, as effectively as possible, even if that would as a side effect include them getting recognition in some way.
I don't know if not discussing vandals and vandalism publicly at all is the right way to go, or if it would be better to for instance do the exact opposite and set up some type of rogues gallery. The latter does not rule out routinely deleting and hiding every bit of data the vandals themselves add to Wikivoyage, nor does it rule out not communicating with the vandal at all. But, let's go ahead with SC's suggestion, say, for a month (holidays may mean an uptick in vandalism when certain folks have more time on their hands), and see if it's efficient.
Plus, part of why serial vandals are so annoying is that they usually display the same kind of behavior over and over and over again. Sometimes a look at Recent changes is enough to notice who's back. Some "smarter" vandals make other type of edits to other types of articles under a new user name, but you can be sure they're back to their normal MO within a week. Which is why I don't know how much discussion is needed, especially for well-known vandals who's behavior can be fully described in a few sentences. Though if we ever again get that kind of trolling problem we had 4-5 years ago, then discussions that not everyone can see would definitely be useful.
Personally, like ARR8, I don't have a problem if only admins discuss the matter. Vandalism and problematic users is after all not something I particularly enjoy discussing or having to do with (well, would anyone here miss vandals if they would just magically go away?? ;)) and I even sometimes ignore. ϒψιλον (talk) 20:41, 9 December 2018 (UTC)
@AndreCarrotflower: it sounds like I'm basically on the same page with you. This edit to the proposal was mainly to ensure that revision deletion and admin-only discussions stay limited to these very narrow situations. I feel that admin-only discussions have a tendency to cause non-admins to feel excluded and dissatisfied, so they should only be used when absolutely necessary, but I recognize that for discussing the tactics of individual abusers they may be necessary.
@SelfieCity: I strongly disagree with your "shame on them" comment. If users feel excluded by admin-only discussions, I think they are absolutely justified in feeling excluded. Unfortunately this may be a necessary evil. It's not enough to say "most of the current good users are on their way to becoming admins anyway" – if we want the site to grow, we have to hope that we will continue to attract new users and encourage them to stick around. —Granger (talk · contribs) 00:11, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
To clarify my original post: in addition to Fuerdai, BTCentralPlus, and LibMod, we have also revision-deleted edits by the crosswiki vandal in specific cases where the stewards' real names and physical locations were revealed, or were threatened with physical violence, which IMO absolutely should continue to be the case. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 02:06, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
Agreed. —Granger (talk · contribs) 02:36, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
Does that also apply to ones like "I hope he gets run over by a truck", etc? --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 03:46, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't think we need to worry too much about the fine distinctions between "I hope..." and "I'm going to...". -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 04:38, 10 December 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm not seeing the value in giving this advice, temporarily or otherwise, any particular official status at all.

Here's what I'm seeing: If you think this is good advice, then you should do this. You should do this right now, without waiting for 'permission' to quietly revert vandalism. You do not need someone to say 'Quietly reverting vandalism is policy' or 'We're going to have a trial period in which we pretend that quietly reverting vandalism is a policy' for you to just go quietly revert vandalism whenever you encounter it.

And if (probably in a minority of cases) you happen think this advice isn't the best approach for a particular situation, then you should do whatever (in your best judgment) you think is more appropriate to the situation. For example: In some cases, the appropriate response to vandalism isn't "revert, block, ignore"; sometimes the appropriate response to vandalism is to "noisily" protect the page from further edits. That possibility is not even mentioned in Selfie's page.

If we're going to be adopting advice from the English Wikipedia, then I'd recommend spending a lot of time looking at w:en:Wikipedia:Instruction creep and w:en:Wikipedia:Policy writing is hard. This community has a strong tendency (even stronger than the English Wikipedia, which is bad enough, in all conscience) to turn "good advice" into "mandatory rules", and if you want to be successful in the long run, we have got to avoid creating unnecessary rules. So, please: Don't adopt a policy that says that (sometimes) it's a good idea to quietly revert vandalism. If you need a "help page" that tells people how to do that (perhaps in case someone wants to know when that approach might be more successful than other strategies?), then let's have a help page about the subject. But let's not have another rule that defines the Only True Way™ to deal with vandals. We won't be happy about it when that well-intended rule turns into a crusty, calcified requirement, and then we start having fights here because someone decided that "noisy" page protection was more appropriate than "quiet" rev-deleting.

And for those who want to see this promoted to some official status: What do you actually need from that status? Is there anything about quietly reverting vandalism that you feel like you can't do today, just because that advice is in Selfie's userspace instead of in the project space, with the "policy" category on it? Is the existing policy truly not sufficient authorization for what you want to do? WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:35, 11 December 2018 (UTC)

User talk:Libertarianmoderate2 is a good example of where, without policy, such things can lead. With a policy, we would have known how to act in that situation. However, I will add something to the policy draft that mentions that the "policy"/"essay"/(whatever people want to call it) is flexible, and that if you have experience in combating vandalism and know a more appropriate alternative which is acceptable with the rest of the community, you may do it. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 03:51, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
SC, I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but: please, be careful of conflating a personal learning experience for you with a learning experience for the whole community. The incident at that talk page was by no means a disaster. There was no harm done, and hopefully you have a better idea of handling that kind of thing now. Overall, it may be a positive event in that light.
I have to say WhatamIdoing's sentiment above appeals to me. A line has to be drawn between benefitting from longtime editors' experience and advice and setting such things in stone. If the advice is good, it will be used, even if, or especially if, it is written in the form of an informational essay.
Although one's first instinct is to write one's learned experiences down, for the next generation, one has to recognize that people don't truly learn unless they are allowed to make their own mistakes, and that's fine. At the end of the day, you can't teach some things by writing them in a book. Common sense is one of those. And if the benefit from having this as policy is such, then the loss of flexibility that comes with it becomes more important.
Some of this doesn't apply to this discussion specifically, but these are my thoughts. ARR8 (talk) 04:42, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
No one is saying that this has to be hard-and-fast policy, as opposed to an essay, as indeed w:WP:DENY is. That has been repeated several times now, and I would ask people to please stop basing their arguments on that premise. It's a bad-faith way to debate. Let me rephrase the question: what are the arguments against accepting User:SelfieCity/Deny as an essay? How would it be a bad thing to have a readymade rationale that we can refer to that's applicable in the vast majority of cases, yet that can be safely ignored in those few cases where it's appropriate to do so? More to the point: WhatamIdoing, if you're so against this idea being implemented at Wikivoyage, and you're more active at Wikipedia than here, then why are you not busily lobbying the Wikipedia brass for deletion of w:WP:DENY? Do you consider Wikipedia more worthy of effective anti-vandalism measures than Wikivoyage? If not, then why the double standard? -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 04:58, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Sorry, I am confused about what exactly /Deny is meant to be. Wikivoyage doesn't really have Wikivoyage: namespace non-policy pages. Even the ones that aren't policy are guidelines, and even the ones that are policy are mostly not 100% inviolable, and are more like guidelines. If moved out of userspace, would /Deny not have the same role as those? Or are we introducing Wikipedia-esque opinion essays here? If so, why even move it out of userspace, as said? (legitimate question; what's the reason?) ARR8 (talk) 05:04, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Since /Deny is still in userspace, what it ultimately ends up being is negotiable. Why remove it from userspace? Greater visibility, mostly. w:WP:DENY may not be hard-and-fast policy, but it's a well-known and well-heeded piece of advice, which it almost certainly would not be if it were tucked in an obscure corner of some random user's userspace, and when cited as a rationale for anti-vandalism activity, it carries almost as much weight as it would if it were policy. Yet because it's only an essay, Wikipedia admins who come across those rare situations where the principles it advocates aren't appropriate can take a different tack without running afoul of policy. Upthread, SelfieCity cites the need for "flexibility" in applying the procedures, and this seems pretty close to an ideal way to give the page the visibility it needs without tying admins' hands too much. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 05:13, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
That makes sense. ARR8 (talk) 05:16, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
By the way, side point, but here's a complete list of articles in the Wikivoyage namespace. Some are neither policy nor guidelines pages, but expeditions, explanatory pages or something else.
About page-protection: I'm sure no-one means to put an end to that with any other guidelines or suggestions. It's sometimes necessary. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:23, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
I've seen those pages, but they slipped my mind; I stand corrected. Although, I think the Wikipedia analog of Expeditions is Wikiprojects, and I think the point still stands that, although the vast majority of Wikipedia: namespace pages are (I think) informal opinion essays which are, shall we say, encouraged reading for the community, we currently have no such pages here. ARR8 (talk) 05:31, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Maybe we should. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:48, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Maybe we should have some informal opinion pages in the Wikivoyage namespace. This could be one of them. At the moment, there are 979 pages there, and 157 of them have the word "expedition" in the title. Category:Wikivoyage policies names 85 actual policies. This page might be a useful addition to Category:Wikivoyage administration (if focused on admins) or Category:Wikivoyage collaboration (where the Vip page lives), or Category:Wikivoyage help (if re-framed as a how-to page), or in a new category, if we want to encourage more things like this.
ARR8, I believe that there are more "Articles for deletion" pages in the Wikipedia: namespace at the English Wikipedia than anything else – about 400,000 AFDs out of about one million pages. There are a few thousand "essays" (including some essays in the userspace). WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:09, 11 December 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Now to answer Andre's questions:

  1. "What are the arguments against accepting User:SelfieCity/Deny as an essay? How would it be a bad thing to have a readymade rationale that we can refer to that's applicable in the vast majority of cases, yet that can be safely ignored in those few cases where it's appropriate to do so?"
    • Answer: None – if, and only if, we accept it as an essay that contains advice that may (or may not) be applicable to any given situation, rather than as a set of rules or a policy, as was proposed. For example, you described the page as a "proposed policy" in your comment at 15:29, 9 December 2018.
  2. "WhatamIdoing, if you're so against this idea being implemented at Wikivoyage, and you're more active at Wikipedia than here, then why are you not busily lobbying the Wikipedia brass for deletion of w:WP:DENY?"
    • Answer: I'm not against the approach being used here (or anywhere). I'm against the approach being treated as a set of mandatory rules, or anything even sort-of-kind-of like a set of mandatory rules. It is good advice for many situations. It is a bad policy.
    • As for the presumably rhetorical question of why I don't take WP:DENY to AFD at the English Wikipedia, the answers are: I think it's good advice for many situations (and so worthy of existing as an essay), it is not over-used at the English Wikipedia (so not causing significant problems), my usual approach to advice pages that have problems is to fix them rather than to delete them (a personal preference), and there are no policy-compliant reasons for its deletion, according to their rules (so a trip to AFD would be a pointless and w:en:WP:POINTy waste of time).
  3. "Do you consider Wikipedia more worthy of effective anti-vandalism measures than Wikivoyage? If not, then why the double standard?"
    • Answer: This begs the question of whether this is an effective strategy. AFAICT nobody's ever done any research to see whether this discourages vandals, especially for long-term abusers. I believe that this approach generally reduces stress for editors (because writing up complaints is draining, and so is reading them).
    • I don't see a double standard in my view: I'm happy for any wiki to have and use that advice, as optional advice. I would be sorry to see any community adopt that advice as "rules" or "policy". If you take that page and write at the top of it something like "This is some advice, written by someone who's been editing for less than a year, that most of us like and most of us follow most of the time, and you can take it or leave it as you choose", then I'm okay with it. If you instead write that idea up as "Here's what everyone ought to do with vandalism", then I'm not okay with it. Again, this is good advice for many situations, but it is a bad policy. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:39, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
But it's not just the advice of one person. Others have edited the draft. And the point is that these tactics are to be used for vandals for whom other tactics have been insufficient. No-one is suggesting that all these things should apply to every situation, are they? Or, to be precise, that's an argument only critics like you are using, and therefore seems like a straw man, but maybe I missed something. If there's any problematic language in that draft, please bring it to my (and everyone else's) attention. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:21, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
RBI is usually where enwiki starts, not something that's tried when people are frustrated. It might be effective at preventing a bored kid from turning into a dedicated LTA. It is probably not effective at dealing with an experienced editor who is is holding a grudge, mentally ill, etc. If your goal is dealing with existing long-term abusers, then I think you need to go talk to the stewards to get some relevant advice.
As for this page, specifying the number of contributors is not important. Making a distinction between some good advice and actual requirements is important.
I've spent a lot of time writing policies and guidelines at enwiki (e.g., about a third of the language in their guideline on External links is mine, the entire WP:PROPOSAL process for new guidelines and policies, some of the two main medical guidelines, etc.). The problem I want to prevent here is the natural process by which "I have a good idea" slides into "this is a rule, and you are bad for not following it". This is a really, really, really difficult problem in online communities. There is a strong desire for conformity, and there are always self-appointed rule-enforcers and closeted bureaucrats ready to shut down different approaches or emphasize the importance of rule-following. It's a problem of human nature: people want to feel like they belong, and one way to show that I belong – regardless of what kind of community it is – is by learning a "rule" and then telling everyone else that they have to follow the rule that I just learned. And, unfortunately, there's no requirement for the rule I learned to actually be a rule, or for me to have learned it correctly. Innocent belief is all that the human brain requires before it will latch onto a way to demonstrate that I'm part of the group.
There are some ways to discourage rule inflation for a given advice page. One of those ways is Wikivoyage's traditional approach, namely keeping such advice in userspace. This might work best if you prohibit cross-namespace redirects and shortcuts.
Another (slightly less effective, in my experience) is to clearly label such pages as optional. A formalized system might work best there, as editors in rule-bound communities are generally more reticent about changing "essay" into "policy" than they are about removing words like "optional" or "sometimes, but not other times" from the page's content.
Another (even less effective) is to draft the page contents to defend against that tendency (see, e.g., the multiple failures of that approach on enwiki's WP:BRD page, which began life as 'Here's something for an experienced, mature adult to try if you want to change a page that seems "stuck" in disputes' and is now altogether too frequently interpreted as 'I get to revert anything once, for any reason or no reason. You aren't allowed to revert my reversion, and you have to start any discussion about it, or I'm going to accuse you of violating this rule!').
Again: The advice is not bad (although it may be misapplied, if the target is LTAs). But it's not a good policy, and unless you want bad policies, we need to do what we can to make sure everyone knows that it belongs in the "good optional advice" mental category and out of the "(nearly) mandatory rules" mental category. WhatamIdoing (talk) 08:38, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Hi. Have little to add here, but would like to admit I was wrong about the Wikipedia: namespace. ARR8 (talk) 13:59, 11 December 2018 (UTC)

For me the reason to have this to be something other than a userspace essay is that I think revision deletion and policy discussions in closed rooms are serious things, which should not be done without some support in policy. I do not want a policy encouraging use of those measures where less would suffice, much less a policy prescribing such measures. Instead the policy should say that these measures can be taken in some situations, where an admin thinks they are needed, but warns and forbids using them as a routine (except in clearly limited situations) or against graffiti and good faith edits. For an experiment thoroughly discussed in the pub, a user essay is probably enough, but I would not like an admin using similar measures in a new situation with the only rationale being admin discretion (or a closed room discussion) – except perhaps as a first step, to be discussed as soon as possible.

The problem with these measures, as pointed out above but seemingly missed by some, is that the general community cannot see whether the situation where they are used warrants their use. This differs from page protection and user blocks, where most information is public and everyone can see they are unusual measures. I trust our admins, and I suppose the rest of the community does, but openness is needed to maintain that trust if things get rough.

--LPfi (talk) 14:01, 11 December 2018 (UTC)

To ARR8: I understand what you were saying in your reply well, but to clarify, I did not mean that the incident was a terrible thing, but I'm saying that with this policy/essay, it never would have happened, and we could have been much better at denying recognition. I think in some ways it was a good learning experience, but it's better to use a policy page for information than having a discussion that doesn't end too well. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 15:13, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Regarding Ikan and WhatamIdoing's exchange above, I think pursuing a middle ground between essay and policy is the most prudent course of action. Maybe call it a "guideline". (I don't know if there's an equivalent category on Wikipedia, and I don't suppose it matters. We're a different community.) As I said above, we need enough flexibility built into this to allow admins to use their own judgment without being officially sanctioned by policy, but the disclaimer at the top of Wikipedia essays - "contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors", "has not been thoroughly vetted by the community" - is some pretty weak tea. Much more than merely one user's opinion, User:SelfieCity/Deny is widely acknowledged best practice in the vast majority of cases, and the "thorough vetting" of the content of the page is happening right now in this very conversation. If we were to put it into mainspace with an infobox on top, it should make both of the points in the preceding sentence very clear, and it should also state that although admins are free to disregard the prescribed course of action if circumstances warrant, that should happen very seldom in practice, and they may be asked to explain their rationale for doing so if it's not obvious. Just as I would expect, or hope, that any Wikipedia admin who went about blithely ignoring w:WP:DENY would soon get a friendly message on his user talk page saying "hey, what's your thought process here?" -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 15:41, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
DENY is ignored every day at the English Wikipedia. See, e.g., the existence of multiple noticeboards dedicated to discussing vandals, the existence of categories to track certain sockpuppets (exactly against DENY's advice), the widespread use of Twinkle to give vandals attention by issuing warnings. I really don't know where you got the idea that DENY was such an important page at the English Wikipedia. In terms of its impact, its importance was calculated as mid-importance. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:01, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Be that as it may, whatever level of importance Wikipedia does or does not place on DENY is irrelevant to what we do at Wikivoyage. Wikipedia should consider itself lucky that it has as many admins and as much of an editor base as it does. Out here in the boondocks of the WMF, on a small to midsize wiki with only so many eyes on the Recent Changes log at any given time, we don't have the luxury of taking a primarily reactive approach to vandalism. We have to put more effort on stopping it before it begins, because once it does begin, it's that much more of a burden on the time and energy of what few admins we do have. My opinion remains as described above. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 17:10, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Setting aside what works and doesn't work in Wikipedia, this article would be a useful guideline to help admins know what options they have and at their discretion in dealing with aggressive vandals. As a guideline (let's make it the first in Wikivoyage), it would not be required that admins follow it, but they would be permitted to follow it if they felt it was appropriate. An admin who oversteps community expectations is using this guideline where it may not be appropriate would be expected to explain/ justify the action as with any other admin actions. Ground Zero (talk) 17:37, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Actually no, this wouldn't be the "first" to need an explicit this is a guideline in the intro as that already happened with Wikivoyage:Words to avoid. Wording like "The Anytown Motel and Diner is one of the seven wonders of the modern world" would be randomly added to WTA as an example of touting, but in some other context like "The pyramids of Giza are one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" the hype may be legit. Often, proposed new entries would be added to WTA, just to be reverted as instruction creep. Users were also editing multiple pages just to remove phrasing like "it should be noted that..." as the WTA guideline said "that's why we wrote it in the guides, then". On text which has been copy-pasted from local destination marketing organisation material, one can almost use WTA as a buzzword bingo card and check off every square, but it remains only a guideline. Wikivoyage:Don't tout is the actual policy.
Furthermore, w:WP:DENY isn't even a guideline. It's an essay, it's one person's opinion and nothing more. Use it if its useful, but don't create a policy or guideline obligating anyone to handle the next problematic edits the exact same way. K7L (talk) 18:33, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
It's more than one person's essay, and in fact, I really should read it again, with a fine-toothed comb, and see if I think any of it should be changed. Good points about Words to avoid, though. A couple of other thoughts: AndreCarrotflower, when you say this "deny" policy is "applicable in the vast majority of cases", could you clarify what you mean? Because I think you and I and everyone else would probably agree that it is inapplicable to the new vandal who posts "fuck gerbils" or some other inane thing, repeating letters, or just deletes a bunch of an article. We would agree that the appropriate policy would be to roll back those edits and do nothing else unless the vandalism is particularly serious, in which case a block of 1 day or a week or whatever without comment would be the best policy, right? Also, WhatamIdoing, you refer to "RBI". RBI to me is a baseball term, run batted in. What is it to you? Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:43, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
@K7L:, a guideline doesn't obligate anyone to do anything. Yet again, your contribution to the discussion is completely beside the point, and only serves to sidetrack the discussion. I'm not the only person who wonders if you do this intentionally. Ground Zero (talk) 21:13, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Ikan - The proposal is titled "deny recognition", correct? Broadly speaking, that's good advice for the vast majority of the cases of vandalism that we see (as is w:Wikipedia:Don't stuff beans up your nose and w:Wikipedia:Revert, block, ignore, from which it also draws inspiration), and the solution you cite above for silly nonsense vandalism ("roll back those edits and do nothing else") is actually a perfect example of denying recognition - as opposed to, say, writing a snarky edit summary when reverting, or leaving a warning message on the vandal's talk page. In terms of the specific practices the proposal advocates, I think it's pretty obvious from context that many of those are intended against more persistent vandals. If anything, I think maybe including a little more background information about why we deny recognition, why we don't stuff beans up our nose, and why we revert, block, and ignore (this could be adapted from what's already in the Wikipedia analogues) might help guide less experienced admins who may not be sure what to do in a given scenario, but overall I think anyone who applies common sense to what's written there will have no trouble getting the general idea. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 21:35, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Right, I get your point. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:05, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
@Ikan Kekek: I think RBI means w:WP:Revert, block, ignore. —Granger (talk · contribs) 00:17, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Got it. Though I prefer runs batted in. :-) Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:34, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Yes, RBI == WP:RBI == w:en:WP:Revert, block, ignore. RBI was declared to be an "explanatory supplement" five years ago, rather than an essay. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:12, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
By the way, I read through the entire document (call it what you want), made a few changes and suggested another which was agreed to. I think it's fine. It says it's a flexible guideline, and that's what it is - a flexible guideline. I'm fine with it and would like to see any arguments about it based on content, not semantics about whether it's a rigid policy or not, because it states quite clearly that it is not. The basic principles are obvious; the implementation is open to trial and error and is flexible. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:33, 12 December 2018 (UTC)

History of the website[edit]

I think someone asked for a history section on the page, so I have added one. Perhaps there's people who know when we treated bad-faith users differently and they could add to the story. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 03:29, 12 December 2018 (UTC)

All you need, probably, is here. Note in particular this old language:
User bans are an extreme last resort for us. They are embarassing, because they are an admission that our community is not strong, patient, and professional enough to deal with unwanted edits using the simple freedom built into the WikiWiki way.
They may have been "embarrassing" for a tiny independent Wiki that had so few editors that it attracted little in the way of vandalism. Though I can tell you, it was very hard to get rid of that language when it proved destructive to the site, with several long-time admins leaving in frustration and very ugly acrimony and even at least a touch of paranoia infecting the site because of a hostile work environment. I'm so glad we weathered that and came out the other side.
Also see Wikivoyage talk:How to handle unwanted edits#Deletion, currently the topmost thread at Wikivoyage talk:How to handle unwanted edits. Note that the participants in that thread have all edited this site to at least some degree this year. And I hope that dredging that thread up doesn't lead to a renewal of nostalgia for the days when we never banned trolls... Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:54, 12 December 2018 (UTC)


Are we now in agreement to make this a "guideline" page? Is there consensus currently? Perhaps we just vote "support" or "agree" or "oppose" or "disagree", without discussion, so we can clearly see who is for and against. If you want to discuss more, there are threads above which provide plenty of opportunity to say opinions. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 02:58, 14 December 2018 (UTC)

Good idea. Any more votes? Looks good so far. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 23:47, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Support, for clarification. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 23:48, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. WP:DENY is appropriate in certain situations (such as re-creation of something that's already been deleted – with the same flaws still present – or sockpuppets of users who were already blocked) and completely inappropriate for others (such as n00b mistakes, where actually communicating with users is better). The WP original is neither a policy nor a guideline, it's just one person's opinion (an essay) and that's where it should stay. K7L (talk) 03:45, 22 December 2018 (UTC)
    • Missed the point entirely. K7L, we're not deciding anything about WP:DENY, but about User:SelfieCity/Deny, which you should read before bothering us with your non-sequiturs. User:SelfieCity/Deny doesn't apply to n00b mistakes, but to situations where "the vandal who has just been blocked is a long-term abuser". Actually communicating with long-term abusers is a very bad idea. Please try reading things before you comment. You might avoid throwing around red herrings if you do. Ground Zero (talk) 04:04, 22 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment: Are we now ready to make this a guideline? --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 01:12, 22 December 2018 (UTC)
Yes. We clearly have a consensus here. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 07:19, 22 December 2018 (UTC)


@SelfieCity: I hope you don't mind me making a few edits to this page. I saw that ThunderingTyphoons! did so and thought I'd make some adjustments too. If you disagree, of course you can revert me. —Granger (talk · contribs) 16:52, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

No, overall it looks like some very reasonable edits and minor improvements throughout. Thanks for these contributions. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 23:42, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
Looks good to me. I made a small edit. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:51, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

Who should be addressed?[edit]

I think it is not good to instruct users who do not know how to get a diff to revert vandalism. Those users are probably unable to see the difference between vandalism, graffiti and simple errors. It is good to educate novice users on how to use the history page and the undo button, but they should not engage in fighting vandalism before a lot more seasoned. --LPfi (talk) 19:40, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

Good point. I'll adjust accordingly if you haven't already. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 20:11, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

Automatic blocks, evidence[edit]

I think this guideline page is just fine, with two caveats:

Is there no evidence that this methodology successfully decreases the overall amount of vandalism on wikis because no study has been done, or because it does not actually decrease the overall amount of vandalism?

Also, I don't want this to be misinterpreted as suggesting that vandals should always be blocked. A single instance of minor vandalism is met by me with just a rollback, and I think that's a good practice. Should we include language suggesting that for what looks like minor vandalism by a new user, a quiet rollback or reversion of the vandalism may be sufficient? Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:00, 12 December 2018 (UTC)

Generally, I'd agree that if a user deleted a listing and added some random text an hour ago, you don't need to block the user, although a block won't do any harm. About your first question, what do you mean exactly? I think the reason there's no evidence is more the first (there's been no studies done) than the second, but IMO it's also largely because it would be impossible to know for sure. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 04:19, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
What I mean is that the phrasing seems a little negative. How about this instead?
While it would be hard to prove that this methodology successfully decreases the overall amount of vandalism on wikis, and no formal studies have been done, empirical experience has shown that quick action against vandals definitely makes life easier for administrators. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:02, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 05:05, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Yes Done Changed to the new text. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 05:07, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Do we need this sentence at all? To me it seems wordy and a little confusing, and I don't think it adds much. —Granger (talk · contribs) 00:56, 15 December 2018 (UTC)
As a background, it does no harm. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 00:58, 15 December 2018 (UTC)

Moved from tourist office[edit]

I see. The main reason I made that comment was so I could take some administrative action, so if it was complete nonsense, I'm sorry. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 21:58, 6 January 2019 (UTC)

Just to quibble on a tangent for a second: Creating an article is in no way an administrative action, and I can't see how anything in this thread would relate to an administrative action. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:06, 6 January 2019 (UTC)
No. It was to hide a revision. You can't hide the current revision, so I thought of a question I could ask, made the edit, and then I could hide the revision. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 02:46, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
You can revert the revision and then hide it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:38, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
But the revision after? --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 03:51, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
No problem, IIRC. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:24, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
Added here: This is true, right? If you hide a vandal's revision that you've reverted, the vandalistic edit doesn't show up in the reversion when you view it in an article's history. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:17, 8 January 2019 (UTC)
Technically, all we need to do is hide the vandal's revision; it will also hide the contents of the second revision. However, I also hide contents of the second revision because it says "Undo revision by Vandal X", which gives the vandal recognition. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 03:07, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
It doesn't hide the vandal's name? Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:41, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
Hiding a revision does not affect the following revision (the revert). The automatic edit summary you get when reverting does show the name of the user reverted, and current Wikivoyage:Deny recognition says (in bold) that you shall not change the edit summary. I do not know why you shouldn't, perhaps because you shouldn't change it to something like "haha, got you". I suppose that if you revert something where you will want to hide the user name, you should remove the name from your edit summary – which should be stated in the guideline. Removing the username might make the revert notification not work, and if so, you might want to be a bit careful with what names to remove, but other than that I see no problem (when you revert the last version, otherwise you may cause confusion). --LPfi (talk) 09:52, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
If you don't use the rollback button, you can revert without typing anything at all. In that instance, unless I'm very much mistaken, there is no edit summary. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:58, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
If you click undo and save, you get the automatic summary including the revision number and the username, like here (I also marked the edit as minor, but that is done independently). --LPfi (talk) 11:04, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for checking that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:10, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
I agree with LPfi's earlier statement, and yes, that's right about the text in WV:Deny recognition. The problem I see is that I use rollbacks for vandals, giving me no choice about the edit summary. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 01:41, 10 January 2019 (UTC)
This absolutely is not true. You can go to the article's history, click on the difference and then you have an opportunity to hide the edit and summary. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:02, 10 January 2019 (UTC)
Are you referring to me? When I say, "no choice about the edit summary," I mean that you cannot change the edit summary at the time — I'm not talking about hiding it later. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 02:09, 10 January 2019 (UTC)
That's true, but leaving it up for a minute is no big deal. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:23, 10 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, but also what's in play here is that yes, while you can change the visibility of an edit summary, you can't actually change it once it shows — at least as far as I know. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 02:54, 10 January 2019 (UTC)

Changing visibility on edits..[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I've noticed over the past week, many, many revisions being hidden with references to "policies" from WP and peoples user space. Has there been a discussion on hiding revisions here that I have missed? Any pointers? Seems a bit overkill to me. --Inas (talk) 08:29, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

Inas, this step has been taken in response to the recent bout of vandalism. There was a discussion amongst admins about making vandals' edits not visible in order to reduce the "rewards" to vandalism. Ground Zero (talk) 13:14, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
@Inas: Please see the "notes" section of abuse filter 25. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 14:49, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
See where? --Traveler100 (talk) 18:36, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
I would support removing visibility when specific peoples details are mentioned but not sure about other edits. Not being able to see what a vandal has done means no one else can check the judgement of the person who hide it or help spot more subtle vandals edit patterns. Not questioning the judgement of current visibility changes but it does open up the system to a personal campaign of an admin. --Traveler100 (talk) 18:45, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm getting a little bit sick of the armchair quarterbacking from certain fellow admins, whether it be hassling me about and/or outright reverting my reversion of Telstra vandalism based on their own minority opinion that it's no longer worthwhile to continue enforcing the userban, or mischaracterizing my efforts to combat the current crop of vandalism as some sort of personal vendetta. Anyone who had objections to the current course of action had ample opportunity to register their opposition, and anyone who thinks I have poor judgment is welcome to try to get me desysopped, given that I probably shouldn't be an admin if I'm that untrustworthy. Failing that, either help clean up after the vandals or don't, but if you're not going to pitch in, at least don't try to start trouble with those who are. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 19:04, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Wow, do other feel my contributions (which includes a lot of rollbacks of vandalism and edits of touts) are not welcome? Sorry for raising a question to a more important admin person. --Traveler100 (talk) 19:27, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
That's a strawman. I never said your contributions were unwelcome, in vandalism abatement or any other field, and you know that. All I said was that anyone who wants to know the reason for the revision deletions, or who objected to them, had ample opportunity to make their voices heard. Your contribution history shows plenty of activity since November 25, including at the Pub, so it's reasonable to presume you saw the call for administrator attention on that date, and given your history of ample participation at Wikivoyage:Vandalism in progress, it's also reasonable to presume you were aware that we've concluded that many issues related to vandalism are best not discussed where prying eyes can see. Again, if you chose not to participate in those discussions, that's perfectly all right, but calling foul at the eleventh hour as if all this had been secretly plotted and schemed behind your back is disingenuous and unconstructive. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 19:47, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Please don't paint this as some kind of admin v admin feud. It isn't. If there was a consensus built and a policy change to delete/hide vandalism revisions, then point me to it and this discussion is over. Otherwise, I'd suggest that deleting revisions (in the absence of doxing, and similar) is the antithesis to what a wiki is all about, and it should stop, please. --Inas (talk) 21:43, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Inas- Special:AbuseFilter/25, in the "Notes" section. As for "admin v admin feuds", I'm painting this as one because it is one. I'm generally not inclined to unnecessarily escalate situations like this, but if you want an exhaustive history of Traveler100's bad blood towards me, I'd be happy to give you one. One thing I will not do, though, is stand idly by while my motivations as an administrator and bureaucrat are impugned. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 22:00, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
As my final comment. I have not intended any bad blood to AndreCarrotflower or any other contributor, sorry if it was interpreted that way. Sometimes I disagree with an action or view and sometime I agree with them. Others undo my edits and disagree with some of my proposals, that is wiki. As for not contributing to the current discussion on vandals I have to say simple did not have the time to follow every link and read every talk page discussion. If asking a question or having a different view from the bureaucrat of the site gets this response I am only sad. --Traveler100 (talk) 22:43, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
AndreCarrotflower, please try not to take this personally—we're all on the same team here. I don't doubt that everyone involved has the best of intentions, though I am concerned about the lack of transparency with which this decision was made. (Was consensus reached to start revision-deleting vandalism? I saw one email but no other discussion that I can remember.) The strategy does seem to be somewhat successful so far, though (knock on wood). —Granger (talk · contribs) 00:50, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
While usually I am all in favour of developing a consensus and keeping discussions open and transparent, given the amount of time and energy admins have had to use up fighting off the recent rounds of vandalism, I think that Andre's extraordinary measures were warranted. Ground Zero (talk) 01:23, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
I agree with this, and I fail to see any important reason for not continuing with this policy. If other admins want to see the usernames of the vandals who made the edits, you can do that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:45, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
Although I appreciate the efforts of those who invest large amounts of time combating vandalism, I think perhaps some have become too engaged in the fight. There is serious damage that is done to our wiki, when we hide and delete revisions and articles rather than reverting them. It's not the way a wiki is supposed to work. --Inas (talk) 08:37, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
What's the problem with denying recognition for vandals and vandalism? Please explain what important thing is lost this way. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:41, 6 December 2018 (UTC)

On sv-wp we avoid revision deletions because non-admins cannot see the target was a vandal. It could equally well be a well-intending user with opposing viewpoints being quieted. I think this issue is much smaller on a travel wiki than on an encyclopaedia, but openness is a virtue. I trust the admins making the decision, but I still feel it should not be taken light-hearted. --LPfi (talk) 13:52, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

Edit summaries[edit]

I think it would be good not to have to hide edit summaries for edits reverting vandal edits. The advice on the guideline page is not to change the edit summary. The intended advice is to avoid "got you" and the like, but the default summary includes the user name, which we want to hide. The advice should be to replace the default summary with something in a neutral tone, such as "Reverted vandal edits". Do you agree? Is there a better standard wording? --LPfi (talk) 15:36, 11 August 2019 (UTC)

What would you see as the benefit(s) of having a standardised edit summary, rather than a hidden edit summary? --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 15:47, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
You mean the current summaries of "undo revision 39485749 by John Smith"? --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 16:54, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes. With an edit summary non-admins can get a feel for how much is hidden because of vandalism and how much because of other reasons. An edit history with many deleted entries may give the impression that we are trying to hide some opinions or whatnot, while stating it was vandalism gives a better picture. Admins could lie, but I'd be more likely to trust them in the latter case. --LPfi (talk) 18:09, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
I can see that, in those cases, a different edit summary could be an improvement. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 18:20, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
When the edits are hidden, the admin has to provide a reason; more often than not, that reason is "Deny (recognition)" with or without a link to the policy page, which sets out the policy as all about combating vandalism. As we have seen, some of our longer-term vandals seem to like acknowledging their own vandalism, so an edit summary that agrees with them goes against the aims of denying recognition.
I am all for openness between admins and the rest of the community, but shouldn't there be at least one incident where an existing admin was caught "lying" or "hiding opinions" before you start worrying about them possibly doing so? Because, otherwise, why wouldn't you just trust us to do our jobs with integrity? Each one of us has been made an admin by the community, and the community retains the right to desysop any admin who falls below the accepted standards of conduct.
That said, if you do have any concerns about a specific admin's conduct, then I would encourage you to share those concerns - either on-wiki, or in a private email to another admin you trust.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 09:25, 12 August 2019 (UTC)
I am an admin myself, so I can verify the actions to any extent I want, and I have seen nothing worrying (I think it is good practice to check now and then, also to make sure one keeps updated on best practices). But if I were a newcomer and saw a lot of unexplained hidden edits, I would find the site much less welcoming than if there were explanations, be they as simple as "vandalism". I would not go to any lengths exploring policies to understand the reasons for the hiding (I might as a member of the community, but not before joining it). --LPfi (talk) 09:39, 12 August 2019 (UTC)
Agreed. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 11:02, 12 August 2019 (UTC)
I believe that the point behind this style is to make any long-term abusers (NB: we're talking about vandals who are motivated enough to read this page) wonder whether the editing software worked. It's like a manually applied alter ego of w:shadow banning: all your edits vanish overnight, and nobody can see them. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:39, 12 August 2019 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Sorry for the delay in getting back to you guys. I wrongly believed that there was a reason attached to the revision deletion still visible in the article's history - in order to view those, you have go into the correct log, which I'd agree is too much for the average newbie.

Based on that, it is worth exploring what LPfi suggests, but when we do so, we find there are snags. A challenging part of this will be for revision-deleting admins to remember to substitute the automatically-generated edit summary ("Undo revision 39485749 by John Smith") for something like "Undo vandalism" while they're still undoing the vandalism (which may be before they realise they're dealing with a vandal subject to our Deny recognition policy). Furthermore, in the case of rollbacks it is currently impossible to change the edit summary from the automatically generated.

Therefore, wouldn't we really need a new bit of software in order to implement what you're suggesting properly? If so, what is the cost of doing that versus the benefit of some curious newbies understanding why there are some deleted edits in an article's history? Isn't it simpler to have some short general explanation for deleted edits somewhere on our welcome pages, which we can reasonably expect a fair chunk of newbies to read? --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 12:18, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

The software change would probably be to make it possible to make reasons to revision deletions visible in the article history. I suppose it is not worth throwing too much time on that (but worth considering if there are related changes made). Writing edit summaries for rollback makes the rollback button much less handy, so that is not really an option. I'd still suggest that in the cases where you know you are reverting vandalism, you should consider changing the edit summary (contrary to the current advice in the guideline). --LPfi (talk) 19:22, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

How far should hiding go[edit]

I get hiding the edit summary and the revert of the edit summary, but is the intention also to hide the log of hiding the deletion of the hide? --Traveler100 (talk) 18:22, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

I see your point. Does it really make much difference, however? --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 18:24, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
Not sure we should be hiding which admin user has block which user. Apart from preventing other admins from seeing trends in vandalism, it create a system open to abuse. --Traveler100 (talk) 18:28, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
I agree that the blocking admin should be accountable to and traceable by other users.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 20:30, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
The particular category of vandals to whom revdel applies are those for whom neither merely having their vandalism reverted, nor ordinary methods of recognition denial, have proven to be effective deterrents. Inasmuch as we've been able to deter them, it's through the principles of damnatio memoriae, which means eliminating any outward evidence that these vandalistic user accounts ever existed, which in turn means eliminating any publicly visible record of their usernames in the site history, including block and deletion logs. This hinders the vandal from being able to "keep score", for instance in keeping track of the number of accounts that have been banned - and this is a thing that vandals do, especially long-term ones. Any admin who wants to verify that revdel is being used effectively in a particular case only has to go through two additional steps, namely clicking the "change visibility" button and then viewing the diff. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 16:40, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
Not debating hiding user name or the edits made by them but was concerned about hiding deeper actions such as the action of blocking a user. I blocked a user on 11th October; I would challenge any administrator to find that fact. Just saying I could have done something controversial but no one has the opportunity to object to my actions or even see what they are. --Traveler100 (talk) 16:48, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
Any time a user is blocked, a record of it is kept in the block log. Even if the blocking action is later revision-deleted, it still shows up in the log with an edit summary of (username removed) (log details removed) (edit summary removed). Those diffs, too, can be uncovered using the same two-step procedure I described above. So in reality, nothing is ever totally hidden and no one can use the revdel procedure for invalid purposes with total impunity. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 16:54, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
OK now I see the button, thanks. --Traveler100 (talk) 16:59, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, thanks for explaining.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 17:46, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
It looks to me as if the "deny recognition" option is being seriously overused. It used to be easy to see why something was reverted, now it is often annoyingly difficult. Recently I even found a block log entry & some deletion log entries I could not read. This seems absurd.
In my view, the policy page should state that Nothing in any log file should ever be concealed. Pashley (talk) 01:35, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
I think only admins or other classes of privileged users can do anything that is logged. Unless they do something reprehensible, there is no reason to even consider hiding log entries. If they do, keep the log entries for use as evidence in arguing to revoke their privileges. Pashley (talk) 01:46, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree with this proposal. —Granger (talk · contribs) 06:48, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
Pashley, the one you (and I) couldn't read was an oversight by a steward. I should say, I'm not sure I agree. Do you think we should or should not hide really vicious racist vandalism? Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:13, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
@Ikan Kekek, Pashley: I guess we should be clear what we're talking about. As I understand it, Pashley's suggestion is to continue hiding vandalism from abusers as described in this policy, but stop hiding deletion log and block log entries. Am I understanding correctly? —Granger (talk · contribs) 09:21, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
Granger has understood me correctly. Hiding racist/obscene/whatever vandalism in main space or on talk pages is fine, though I suspect hiding is currently being done more often than necessary. I think the revert-block-ignore sequence is usually enough & hiding things should be quite rare.
What I object to is hiding information in logs. If an admin deletes a page or blocks a user, other admins should be able to see why. If the username or page title is racist/obscene/whatever, we should see that too. Pashley (talk) 09:28, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
Yes. Those reading the block and deletion logs are not going to get impressed by any propaganda in the usernames, and I think they can stand offending language. The vandals may be reading the logs, but they could as well keep their own. –LPfi (talk) 09:48, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
I would tend to respect whatever consensus is achieved, and I very rarely hide logs myself. But I think we should be sure that the site couldn't get in trouble with the law somewhere for not hiding such language in article histories. If we have to worry about U.S. law only, no problem, but is that the case? Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:17, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
  • I feel I must step in this discussion, as I'm responsible for a big deal of "deny recognition" edits ever since the procedure was implemented. I must admit, sometimes when I catch an old and known vandal, let's say the "wheelie" guy, vandalizing for a few minutes with maybe ten edits, I go into mopping frenzy mode, and may be clicking more "hidden" boxes than I should. Let's work on fine-tuning the "deny recognition" procedure. I'll abide by it. Ibaman (talk) 13:39, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
I agree with Pashley's proposal.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 15:48, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
I suppose "the logs" here refer to the block and deletion logs, not the page history. The history is intended to be read by normal people and should be free of libel and obscenities. The other logs are for admins and other insiders, and those especially making the effort. If you find obscenities when studying vandalism (and the measures against it), you should expect to meet obscenities. The problems arise when there is "X lives at Y and should get beaten up". That kind of entries must be oversighted, but they are rare. And the one to be sued is the vandal. Could I be sued for making diner instead of refreshing my memory on how you hide log entries? I'd not be too worried. –LPfi (talk) 16:21, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
OK, I'm confused. What are we talking about? People are hiding block logs? I know that deletion logs are being hidden, and I thought that was under discussion. For the record, doing that is another chore, it seems to have no effect on vandals or vandalism, and if there's no effect, what's the up side to doing it except to get rid of a record of bigotry and obscenity for the sake of doing that? Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:18, 4 October 2020 (UTC)