Mailing List Archive

Banning user names (was Re: Why can't I ban Michael on Meta?)
Erik Moeller a écrit:
> Tim-
>
>
>>Wikipedia will forever be haunted by problems such as these, since, at
>>Anthere's request, I turned username blocking off by default. I'll turn
>>it on at meta. Are there any other wikis you want it enabled at, while
>>I'm at it? How about simple, wikibooks and wiktionary?
>
>
> I sympathize with Anthere's concerns. If there are no clear policies on
> banning in one language, sysops might feel encouraged to ban signed in
> contributors for non-vandalism. This would clearly be problematic and
> difficult to resolve from outside.

As long as there is no clear policy in any language, and that the
discussion has not been made *in that language*, I think it is the
right/duty of the community of *this* language to decide such a thing.

> However, I think the right thing to do is to inform all Wikipedias about
> this pending change, and to set a clear policy on banning that is valid
> across all Wikipedias. Having inconsistent configurations is a very bad
> thing for a multitude of reasons.

I disagree Erik.
There are a couple of policies that are *mandatory* across all
wikipedias, such as the npov one.
There are a couple of policies that might be *recommanded* consistant
across all wikipedia (such as the positionning of interlanguages links :-))

But there are very numerous policies that have to be decided by each
local community. The policy of banning on en is not the *correct* policy
to handle difficult user, it is *one* point of view among other. A pov
that might fit the cultural background of en users, but not of all
wikipedias.

You might consider expliciting the "for a multitude of reasons" for any
further fruitful discussions on why multiplicity of view points is a
"very bad thing".

For all these reasons, I go on considering that the possibility of
banning user names should be kept exceptions rather than rules for the
wikipedias that have never discussed it (usually, this will be discussed
first time a persistent pseudonymed vandal will get on that wikipedia).
There are other options to deal with problematic users. And some
wikipedias might wish to use other ways than those decided by english users.

This said, I agree with the feature being turned on meta, because it is
a difficult place to keep clean, in particular because of language
issues (such as a banned user of one wiki having to be stopped there). I
would appreciate, however, that Mav discuss updating the policy if this
is made possible :-)

> To this end, I think it is absolutely necessary to merge the wikipedia-l
> and intwiki-l mailing lists. intwiki-l is effectively a ghetto for the
> non-English lists, and people from the non-English wikis complain that
> they haven't heard about policy decisions on wikipedia-l. There's really
> no good reason to have two different lists here.

I agree with this. Intwiki is a dead place :-)

> Regards,
>
> Erik
Re: Banning user names (was Re: Why can't I ban Michael on Meta?) [ In reply to ]
Anthere-

> But there are very numerous policies that have to be decided by each
> local community. The policy of banning on en is not the *correct* policy
> to handle difficult user, it is *one* point of view among other. A pov
> that might fit the cultural background of en users, but not of all
> wikipedias.

I doubt that there's any substantial cultural difference when it comes to
banning *vandals* - and that's all the banning feature is for, other bans
have to be authorized by Jimbo. Wheter you're in Beijing, in Stockholm, in
Chicago or in Tokyo, if someone enters your home and destroys your stuff,
you probably want to throw them out. There may well be cultural
differences when it comes to banning people who misbehave in other ways,
but this is not at all affected by the banning policy on En: - sysops are
*not* allowed to ban signed in users for non-vandalism.

Making this policy consistent across all wikis makes sense because it
makes the non-English wikis less dependent on help from the English one.
No need to call for help from California (Brion) or Florida (Jimbo) when a
signed in vandal runs amok on the French Wikipedia. The current policy is
discriminatory to the non-English wikis -- it gives the En-Wikipedia a
useful tool and keeps it away from the others, under the false pretense
that they can't handle this kind of responsibility. I for one trust the
non-English Wikipedias that they will use banning of signed in users
responsibly if they are informed of the limitations.

This should be announced first and any serious objections should be dealt
with, until near unanimous consensus is reached.

Regards,

Erik
Re: Banning user names (was Re: Why can't I ban Michael on Meta?) [ In reply to ]
Erik Moeller a écrit:
> Anthere-
>
>
>>But there are very numerous policies that have to be decided by each
>>local community. The policy of banning on en is not the *correct* policy
>>to handle difficult user, it is *one* point of view among other. A pov
>>that might fit the cultural background of en users, but not of all
>>wikipedias.
>
>
> I doubt that there's any substantial cultural difference when it comes to
> banning *vandals* - and that's all the banning feature is for, other bans
> have to be authorized by Jimbo.

Banning of french editors is decided by french community.

The banned user is offered the possibility to discuss with Jimbo.

Wheter you're in Beijing, in Stockholm, in
> Chicago or in Tokyo, if someone enters your home and destroys your stuff,
> you probably want to throw them out. There may well be cultural
> differences when it comes to banning people who misbehave in other ways,
> but this is not at all affected by the banning policy on En: - sysops are
> *not* allowed to ban signed in users for non-vandalism.

This is the english policy. Is valid on the english wikipedia. Was
discussed and approved by english users.

How do you know that this exact policy (sysops *not* allowed to ban
signed-in users) is (will be) the one adopted by other wikipedias when
other part of the banning policy are already different in other wikipedias ?

Banning policy is not similar on every wikipedias, if only because the
arbitrator deciding the banning on the english wikipedia cannot do it on
the other wikipedias.

I do not necessarily mean this feature is *bad*, I mean that you can't
ask that all wikipedias policies are consistently identical to the
english wikipedias, when structurally the situation is different.


> Making this policy consistent across all wikis makes sense because it
> makes the non-English wikis less dependent on help from the English one.
> No need to call for help from California (Brion) or Florida (Jimbo) when a
> signed in vandal runs amok on the French Wikipedia.

Quite true.

But what is currently a problem is not to ban *loggued-in* users but
rather to know the log information of the user perhaps.
This information is not available to us.

Now, just for information Erik, and for the sake of transparency :
We have a user that have been vandalizing the french wikipedia for now
two months. I talk of hundreds of pages, since each attack is from 10 to
20 or more articles vandalized. Sometimes, several attacks per day.
As soon as his user name was banned, he vandalized under ips. He uses
non-fixed ip, provided from up to 7 internet providers.
We can't block all these adresses, for many people (several current
editors) rely on these isp.

What we do : when the guy is around, we click on the list of
contributions, we add &bot=1 to the end of the link, and we roll back
everything. It takes less than one minute to revert perhaps 20 articles.
As a result, the guy edits are *not even* visible from recent changes,
which is likely to spoil much of his fun. We can hope this way to
discourage him, because except for the few people just here when he is
around, no user even know he has been around.

To the point, more and more users think he has given up vandalising.

It is not even a problem any more really. Just routine work to roll back
his changes to "a deep shaft".

Over interesting features are a "ring" each time someone makes an edit
with a comment containing CENSURE or WARLOPEDIA. Eh ! with vandals, we
get creative :-)

The current policy is
> discriminatory to the non-English wikis -- it gives the En-Wikipedia a
> useful tool and keeps it away from the others, under the false pretense
> that they can't handle this kind of responsibility.

Oh, please Erik. Do not throw in the great "discriminatory" word. You
know quite well it is not the point. Obviously, any wikipedia should be
able to handle weapons of mass destruction :-) Not just the members of a
few self-designed commitee.

But some of the wikipedias do not even have sysops ! I doubt they even
had the opportunity to even begin to think about what they like their
security solution to be. I just would like that they are giving the
right to their own choices, perhaps that they suggest other solutions,
not once again that they are just brought the solution cooked for
another wikipedias technologically 3 years in advance.

I for one trust the
> non-English Wikipedias that they will use banning of signed in users
> responsibly if they are informed of the limitations.

Which limitations are you talking about ? The limitations that only
Jimbo has the right to ban loggued in users ? Sorry, too late. We
outgrew that limitation :-)

> This should be announced first and any serious objections should be dealt
> with, until near unanimous consensus is reached.

Nod. But announcement just on the technical list, or even on wikipedia
list is not enough. A *very* small number of international editors read
them. And those who read do not necessarily transmit the information.
And some wikipedias have nobody reading the list permanently.

You did something I liked at the end of the logo contest. You put a word
on the pump. Everyone could see it there. That was a good idea.
I suggest that something similar is done perhaps.

A detailed message on the mailing list, explaining the benefits and what
the "so-called" limitations are.
Then, a small message on all pumps, with the link to the mail message.

Even if no one answered, no one comment, we will be sure they *are*
informed and it won't get lost in the mailing list.

I think you misunderstand why I wished that feature not to be made
freely and immediately available. I recognise that this feature is
necessary, likely, everyone will endorse it. But, what bothers me, each
time a new feature is decided by the english wikipedia is that

* it does not give us the opportunity to grow up enough to reach the
state when it is necessary. It is like feeding us with a baby spoon.
That make people even more in a situation of *waiting* for things to be
done by miracle, rather than empowering them. Just passive. The opposite
of what I believe is the wiki way

* it prevents us to explore our own path, to discover our own options.
It is just as if, the solution english found was not only the best, but
the only possible. Again, it kills creativity

* Asking people afterwards if they are interested send a signal that
means they were not very important in the initial decision, much more
than a message telling them they are trusted. Just the mention that one
wikipedia trusts them enough to "let them use the feature" is slightly
offending. We do not need to be "trusted", we need to be "part of".


> Regards,
>
> Erik

Me as well Erik, me as well :-)
Re: Re: Banning user names (was Re: Why can't I ban Michael on Meta?) [ In reply to ]
Anthere-

> Banning of french editors is decided by french community.

Nobody suggested anything else. Although Jimbo could declare a ban if he
wanted to, this seems unlikely.

> This is the english policy. Is valid on the english wikipedia. Was
> discussed and approved by english users.

Actually, I don't think it was discussed and approved in a very open
process. It would have been activated for the non-English Wikipedias as
well if not for your .. constant constructive criticism.

> How do you know that this exact policy (sysops *not* allowed to ban
> signed-in users) is (will be) the one adopted by other wikipedias when
> other part of the banning policy are already different in other wikipedias ?

Certainly auto-reverting like you are practicing now can always be a fall-
back. But I believe most vandals will be deterred by a quick ban, and I
don't see how it can be harmful.

> But some of the wikipedias do not even have sysops !

That's why we need better language coordination over a single mailing
list, so that those pedias which do need sysops can quickly bring this to
general attention. I'm not even subscribed to intwiki-l.

> Which limitations are you talking about ? The limitations that only
> Jimbo has the right to ban loggued in users ? Sorry, too late. We
> outgrew that limitation :-)

right vs. ability

> Nod. But announcement just on the technical list, or even on wikipedia
> list is not enough. A *very* small number of international editors read
> them.

A wiki-based digest service would surely be helpful. If you want to write
summaries of the mailing list for the wikis, you have my full support.
Failing that, the mailing list is the place where policy decisions like
that are made.

Regards,

Erik
Re: Banning user names (was Re: Why can't I ban Michael on Meta?) [ In reply to ]
Erik Moeller a écrit:
> Anthere-

>>This is the english policy. Is valid on the english wikipedia. Was
>>discussed and approved by english users.
>
>
> Actually, I don't think it was discussed and approved in a very open
> process.

I do not think either

It would have been activated for the non-English Wikipedias as
> well if not for your .. constant constructive criticism.

Thank god I was there to avoid decisions being taken hastily for other
people, without asking them their opinion :-)

>>How do you know that this exact policy (sysops *not* allowed to ban
>>signed-in users) is (will be) the one adopted by other wikipedias when
>>other part of the banning policy are already different in other wikipedias ?
>
>
> Certainly auto-reverting like you are practicing now can always be a fall-
> back. But I believe most vandals will be deterred by a quick ban, and I
> don't see how it can be harmful.

For pure vandalism, no, I suppose it can't be harmful.
I suspect it is potentially more risky on wikipedias where there are few
editors, and only one sysop though.
Fortunately, thanks to my constructive criticism perhaps, a blocking log
was quickly set.

>>But some of the wikipedias do not even have sysops !
>
>
> That's why we need better language coordination over a single mailing
> list, so that those pedias which do need sysops can quickly bring this to
> general attention. I'm not even subscribed to intwiki-l.

Nod.
But...if I agree that thanks to a single mailing list, an isolated
international can easily reach help, the other way is not working so
well. A message of him is more likely to get drown is all the other
messages.
But in any cases, I support dissolution of the international mailing list.

>>Which limitations are you talking about ? The limitations that only
>>Jimbo has the right to ban loggued in users ? Sorry, too late. We
>>outgrew that limitation :-)
>
>
> right vs. ability

ok, that other limitation. True.
That is why I mentionned the &bot=1.
It is even more frustrating for a vandal I guess, to see that his vandal
contribution entirely disappear.

>>Nod. But announcement just on the technical list, or even on wikipedia
>>list is not enough. A *very* small number of international editors read
>>them.
>
>
> A wiki-based digest service would surely be helpful. If you want to write
> summaries of the mailing list for the wikis, you have my full support.
> Failing that, the mailing list is the place where policy decisions like
> that are made.

I think that my suggestion to do as you did the other time (which was to
add a message to all village pumps, even in english, with a link to the
announcement) was more positive than this comment.

Ok, here are the problems

1) how to warn people of all wikipedias that there is an important
discussion cooking
here, how to suggest people to decide whether they want the blocking
feature. I guess it will be little controversial, but in other cases,
such as suggesting people to discuss putting ads on the site is perhaps more

2) how to discuss it at all.

2) I have no idea, except for going on to do it only in english, here,
or on meta.

for 1) we tried many things. They all more or less failed. Why ?
*Because on some wikipedias, there is no one to ensure the travelling of
the information (no one is informed, because no one follow the mailing
list very well)
*Because it takes time to report accurately information, the servers are
slow (that is the tech limitations)
*Because that requires that at least one person understand english well
enough
*Because when people are not interested by a topic, they just do not
feel like reporting it

As a result, even if some informations are reported back and fro
(Tarquin doing a nice job for that :-)), I think it is not the case on
most wikipedias.

So, where is the central place on many wikipedias, where we can be sure
one posting is read by many people ? The pump (if the pump exists, but
the concept being great, it is likely the pump will ultimately be in all
wikipedias).

Could it be possible that somehow a feature is developped, that allow
ONE person to send a unique message (likely in english) on all pumps, in
one click ?

That way, we could automatically, in one click, post a message saying

"Hello. A new feature is currently under discussion, which would allow
to specifically block a user from editing a specific page (a super
protection). The discussion is occuring there : link".

What do you think ?

(apart from "yes, you can develop it if you feel like it" :-))

> Regards,
>
> Erik

De même.
Re: Re: Banning user names (was Re: Why can't I ban Michael on Meta?) [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Jan 11, 2004 at 12:07:15AM +0100, Anthere wrote:
> [lots of things]

This seems to be a policy discussion and not a technical one. Wouldn't
wikiintl-l be the place for this?

Regards,

JeLuF
Re: Banning user names (was Re: Why can't I ban Michael on Meta?) [ In reply to ]
Jens Frank a écrit:
> On Sun, Jan 11, 2004 at 12:07:15AM +0100, Anthere wrote:
>
>>[lots of things]
>
>
> This seems to be a policy discussion and not a technical one. Wouldn't
> wikiintl-l be the place for this?
>
> Regards,
>
> JeLuF

I just realised I ccied instead of cced.
But my ccied were sent to wikipedia-l, not intl-l.
Re: Re: Banning user names (was Re: Why can't I ban Michael on Meta?) [ In reply to ]
Anthere-

> Thank god I was there to avoid decisions being taken hastily for other
> people, without asking them their opinion :-)

The software is changed constantly without asking people from all
Wikipedias for their permission first. The MediaWiki namespace suddenly
appeared out of nowhere, some people probably don't like it, others love
it. Soon there will be image auto-resizing support. And so forth.

Compare the software development process to editing an article on
Wikipedia. When I want to make a big change to a controversial article, I
announce it on the talk page first. When I want to make a minor change, an
addition or a clear improvement, I just do it. If it turns out to be a bad
idea, it can always be reverted.

We should do the same with features: use common sense. And I think that
allowing sysops to ban signed in users for vandalism only is a minor
change that could have just gone through without discussion, provided
there would have been an announcement "Only do this for XY" to the mailing
lists.

> I suspect it is potentially more risky on wikipedias where there are few
> editors, and only one sysop though.

I think there are enough places to run to in case something goes wrong.
It's tougher if you don't speak English.

> But in any cases, I support dissolution of the international mailing list.

Brion, are you following this?

> That is why I mentionned the &bot=1.

It's an interesting concept. I hope you don't miss any edits. Note,
however, that in order to mark a user as a bot, you need developer
permissions -- again a dependency on Brion & Co.

> It is even more frustrating for a vandal I guess, to see that his vandal
> contribution entirely disappear.

Indeed.

>> A wiki-based digest service would surely be helpful. If you want to write
>> summaries of the mailing list for the wikis, you have my full support.
>> Failing that, the mailing list is the place where policy decisions like
>> that are made.

> I think that my suggestion to do as you did the other time (which was to
> add a message to all village pumps, even in english, with a link to the
> announcement) was more positive than this comment.

I disagree. I think a mailing list digest service, either on Meta or on a
newly created page on each Wikipedia, would be more useful than a "clog
the pumps" function, which, I fear, could be easily abused for spamming.
(Also, it would probably lead to discussions taking place on the pumps,
instead of on the mailing list.) Generally, every non-English Wikipedia
should have at least one ambassador who takes care of summarizing relevant
discussions in their native tongue. I'm sure if we organize a call for
volunteers we find enough people.

Regards,

Erik
Re: Re: Banning user names (was Re: Why can't I ban Michael on Meta?) [ In reply to ]
On Jan 10, 2004, at 15:39, Erik Moeller wrote:
>> But in any cases, I support dissolution of the international mailing
>> list.
>
> Brion, are you following this?

I would not be totally averse to folding intlwiki-l back into
wikipedia-l, though in theory intlwiki-l is mainly intended for
discussion of needs for localization.

>> That is why I mentionned the &bot=1.
>
> It's an interesting concept. I hope you don't miss any edits. Note,
> however, that in order to mark a user as a bot, you need developer
> permissions -- again a dependency on Brion & Co.

I should clarify this: Tim set this up as an experimental feature to
help with the ongoing Papotages saga. It's a variant on the 'rollback'
function which, in addition to resaving the page with the previous
user's edit, marks both the vandal-edit and the restoration as hidden
from default Recentchanges display (by using the marker originally
added to keep massive bot edits from flooding recentchanges, hence the
"bot").

Any sysop can use this, but it's not integrated into the UI yet so you
have to manually add "&bot=1" to the contribs URL to set it up.

The edits are, like edits by an account marked as an official bot,
hidden from Recentchanges unless "hidebots=0" is passed to it, but are
not hidden from contribs, history, watchlist, etc. The edits remain in
the database and are not removed, but they no longer flood
Recentchanges.

I was initially skeptical but after seeing it in action I'm quite taken
with it; it greatly reduces the annoyance factor of a flood vandal with
relatively little effort. That the vandalism is still in the edit
histories is not that big a deal compared to the potential for abuse of
an unrecoverable rollback that actually disappeared the edits.

It could use some refinement; making this the default behavior for
rollback, making the 'show hidden edits' in RC easier to use and more
prominent, perhaps a count of the number of hidden edits if any; and
some way of noting the gravity of rollback (ie, that it should _not_ be
used for reverting a change you just don't like, but is meant only for
base vandalism, particularly massive flood vandalism).

Separately: setting up sysops and marking accounts as official bots and
such certainly is something that shouldn't be a bottleneck on the
developers. Feel free to make some suggestions (or write the code :)
for a less centralized setup.

>> I think that my suggestion to do as you did the other time (which was
>> to
>> add a message to all village pumps, even in english, with a link to
>> the
>> announcement) was more positive than this comment.
>
> I disagree. I think a mailing list digest service, either on Meta or
> on a
> newly created page on each Wikipedia, would be more useful than a "clog
> the pumps" function,

That'd be a fine thing. A number of large project mailing lists have
regular summaries of interesting discussions and proposals.

-- brion vibber (brion @ pobox.com)
Re: Banning user names (was Re: Why can't I ban Michael on Meta?) [ In reply to ]
Erik Moeller a écrit:

> Compare the software development process to editing an article on
> Wikipedia. When I want to make a big change to a controversial article, I
> announce it on the talk page first. When I want to make a minor change, an
> addition or a clear improvement, I just do it. If it turns out to be a bad
> idea, it can always be reverted.
>
> We should do the same with features: use common sense.

Hum. Yes, that is a curious but valid comparison.

>>But in any cases, I support dissolution of the international mailing list.
>
>
> Brion, are you following this?

:-)

>>That is why I mentionned the &bot=1.
>
>
> It's an interesting concept. I hope you don't miss any edits. Note,
> however, that in order to mark a user as a bot, you need developer
> permissions -- again a dependency on Brion & Co.

Why could not we mark a user as a bot ? Which are the arguments against ?

> I disagree. I think a mailing list digest service, either on Meta or on a
> newly created page on each Wikipedia, would be more useful than a "clog
> the pumps" function, which, I fear, could be easily abused for spamming.

True, it could be.

> (Also, it would probably lead to discussions taking place on the pumps,
> instead of on the mailing list.)

So what ? When people are discussing a policy, do you seriously think
they are discussing it in english just for pleasure ? No, they discuss
it together in their native tongues. Trying to restrict discussions to
the mailing list, in a language many people are not confortable with or
do not know is not a solution to empower people.

In any cases, we are slipping from the initial point, which was "how to
tell people of a feature, and ask them if they want it". I suggested
"going toward" these people to offer them the information. Just dropping
it on the mailing list and waiting for them to come to retrieve it might
sound the simplest solution, but practically, that does not work very well.


Generally, every non-English Wikipedia
> should have at least one ambassador who takes care of summarizing relevant
> discussions in their native tongue. I'm sure if we organize a call for
> volunteers we find enough people.

(shaking my head in disagreement)

> Regards,
>
> Erik

toujours
Re: Banning user names (was Re: Why can't I ban Michael on Meta?) [ In reply to ]
Brion Vibber a écrit:

> I was initially skeptical but after seeing it in action I'm quite taken
> with it; it greatly reduces the annoyance factor of a flood vandal with
> relatively little effort. That the vandalism is still in the edit
> histories is not that big a deal compared to the potential for abuse of
> an unrecoverable rollback that actually disappeared the edits.
>
> It could use some refinement; making this the default behavior for
> rollback, making the 'show hidden edits' in RC easier to use and more
> prominent, perhaps a count of the number of hidden edits if any; and
> some way of noting the gravity of rollback (ie, that it should _not_ be
> used for reverting a change you just don't like, but is meant only for
> base vandalism, particularly massive flood vandalism).
>
> Separately: setting up sysops and marking accounts as official bots and
> such certainly is something that shouldn't be a bottleneck on the
> developers. Feel free to make some suggestions (or write the code :) for
> a less centralized setup.


Actually, the main default I might see to it, is that we loose
perspective of the level of the vandalism still ongoing. Some users
sometimes say "he, we won, he left Wikipedia in the end". To which we
have to answer, that no, actually, he was just there 2 hours later.

There is not even a need to block the ip if he is already gone, because
he never comes back under the same ip. So, if one does not block the ip,
as soon as the stuff is reverted, everything that happened is invisible.
Even if we do block the ip, it is unblocked very quickly. So
practically, there is little way we can track what happened.

To a certain extent, I find it a little bit troubling, as it may be seen
as an unfair and hidden process, especially from the newbie perspective.

but well...