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UESPWiki:Administrator Noticeboard/Archives/Proposed Policy: Abuse of Anonymous Editing

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This is an archive of past UESPWiki:Administrator Noticeboard/Archives discussions. Do not edit the contents of this page, except for maintenance such as updating links.

Proposed Policy: Abuse of Anonymous Editing

We've clearly had a problem, for far too long now, with editors abusing the wiki's open editing system so they can be disruptive and generally waste the community's time. Second Opinion Please is the latest example; the talk page shows it's not a new problem. Therefore, I propose adding the following section to the Vandalism policy, under UESPWiki:Vandalism#Types of Vandalism:

Abuse of Anonymous Editing
Deliberately hiding or falsifying your identity in order to make unwanted, controversial, or inappropriate comments is not tolerated. Regular UESP contributors are expected to contribute using their own account whenever participating in any community discussions. Therefore, an edit can be treated as vandalism if a site editor judges that it meets all three of the following criteria:
  • The edit is made by an anonymous IP or newly created account (one with no significant contribution history).
  • There is reason to believe that the person making the edit is familiar with UESP (e.g., person refers to community members or site policy).
  • The edit has no constructive value and/or is likely to be disruptive.

This would imply that such edits could be reverted on sight, and the anon could also be warned and blocked, if necessary. The wording is deliberately somewhat fuzzy: the targeted editors are already trying to exploit site policy, so they will inevitably try to take advantage of any loophole. As for including it on the vandalism page, as far as I'm concerned, these types of edits do far more damage to the site and its community than someone replacing a page with obscenities, so let's start dealing with them accordingly.

All community members are welcome to provide feedback; it helps if you can start your comment with Support, Oppose (or Comment, etc.) as appropriate.

* Support as proposer. --NepheleTalk 05:25, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose Firstly, this would directly contradict the Etiquette policy (esp. 7th point in the General section). Secondly, point 2 of the new policy involves excessive supposition on the part of editors. Thirdly, so does point 3 - "constructive" is in the eye of the beholder to a large extent. Fourthly, I agree that "hiding or falsifying your identity" is wrong, but the remedies suggested here use a far too-broad brush and will catch plenty of other people. Fifthly, I have said before, and still believe, that established, named editors have caused far more trouble in the past than all the anons put together. Finally, I managed to track down the relevant quote that I'm sure you've all heard without source. It's from William Blackstone, in Commentaries on the Laws of England (1769): "the law holds that it is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer." Similarly, it is better that we have to put up with the trouble caused by one rogue IP user than place unnecessary sanctions on all of them. rpeh •TCE 05:54, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Though, we could just punish all people who make edits that have no constructive value and/or is likely to be disruptive. As for Rpeh's points: Laws may paint a large area and hit unwanted people, however people on the wiki should have enough judgment to know when to punish and when not to punish. As such, as long as I think that at least half the admins on the wiki have a lick of sense, this rule shouldn't hit anyone that it isn't supposed to hit. --Tim Talk 06:08, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Although not an admin, just wanted to say that this is a great idea :P Mikeyboy52 06:12, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Support - We've had far too many troll-like edits made by Tor users and the like who are obviously just trying to conceal their identity and disrupt the site. We already revert non-constructive edits to old discussions, regardless of who they're by, and I think it's a step in the right direction to revert blatantly disruptive edits, particularly when there's reason to believe that it's an abuse situation. Productive or well-meaning users would still be entitled to all the same rights as everyone else, but those who are here solely to disrupt will no longer have a place here. Robin HoodTalk 06:13, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Support per nomination. Elliot (talk) 09:39, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose Now, I like the proposition, and I would really like reality to be like this; unfortunately, it is not, and my motivation for opposing comes from the fact that we have numerous “established” members, who, and I’m sorry to say this, is really not capable of judging these things. I have seen numerous examples where anon users accidentally blanked a page and received vandalism warnings almost immediately, even if the edit was clearly an accident. I will not mention any names, nor will I give any examples but I fear that these new rules will hit several people who do not deserve it and make the Wiki a warning zone where we, as patrollers, will have to change warnings into “welcome and advice” all the time – wasting even more time than we do now. --Krusty 10:19, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
    Well, that is applicable to nearly every situation. You shouldn't avoid something because of ignorance; you should try to change that ignorance and push forward an intelligent community. The best way would be to lead by example. Inform users when they are doing something incorrectly. Some people need direct instructions; however, that shouldn't be reason enough to stop something. At a minimum, it would be best to at least try it out. Elliot (talk) 11:12, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
    I'm not sure this is the best approach myself, but would you be more comfortable if we limited reverting questionable IP contributions to patrollers and admins? Robin HoodTalk 15:08, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
    Problem is, that is exactly what we have been doing all along. While patrollers can’s block people, they tend to be very quick to alert an admin if they notice a proxy or TOR-user making unconstructive edits to the site. This proposal will allow each and every registered member on the entire Wiki to hand out quick warnings in anger or nervousness, something that way too many editors suffer from. For the time being, I think we’re doing fine. --Krusty 09:48, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose I find point 2 too vague in my opinion. How can we know if an anon is familiar with UESP? They could just as easily referred to Wikipedia or another Wiki. I don't see why knowledge of UESPWiki's policies points directly to a vandal. It's the edit itself that matters, not one's supposed knowledge of policies or one's status (status as in: anon, newly-created account, established editor etc.) I think these points are unfavourable to anon editors while not giving anything in return. Talk Wolok gro-Barok Contributions 12:41, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment I would tend to be Opposed to the second guideline as I fit it at one time since I'd been using the Wiki for several years without creating an account and then for several months as Mhira (until I forgot my password and created this account) therefore I had no significant contribution history but knew some of the Wiki's policy and knew of some of the community members.--TheAlbinoOrc 14:35, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
    Responding to the above two points on the second requirement: That one also concerned me a bit. Would removing that point altogether be a better choice, do you think? Robin HoodTalk 15:08, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
  • I think that would work. I also think that there should be at least two people that agree on removing the edit.--TheAlbinoOrc 15:16, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Seems like it would be difficult to determine if an anon is "familiar with UESP", and I'm sure there would be arguments about an anon's identity if someone makes that assumption. The 3rd point seems obvious, but how do we differentiate personal oppinions and comments from outright disruptive vandalism? And also, it's important that the policy doesn't suggest that anons can't contribute to community discussions, or that they arent part of the "community" -- Jplatinum16 18:52, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I don't know if I agree with the sentiment behind this proposal. There have been and will continue to be situations where an editor's opinions may be taken a different way if the editor's identity is unknown, and my first thoughts are that each editor should have the right to anonymously express thoughts if he or she wishes. --GKtalk2me 21:42, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment - In one sense using an IP to edit and a user account is kind of like sock-puppetry. But in another sense, IP is the only way to remain anon, should we so choose at the time. Mikeyboy52 16:56, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Support i like the idea but lets say someone forgets to login so mabye it would omly be considerd light vandalisem--GUM!!! 17:37, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Too vague and it allows Patrollers, sysops, and other editors to disregard Assume Good Faith. --Michaeldsuarez (Talk) (Deeds) 01:26, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Partial Support: I would like to see this limited to open proxies and any other deliberate attempt to conceal an identity. I think this will suffice, as so far practically all condescending arguments made that I have seen came from such an IP address. Adding the clause that edits from anonymous sources (open proxies and such) can always be reverted by another is a clause that would solve the most problems. People can try to make controversial statements if they want, but they shouldn't make one from a deliberately concealed IP. --Timenn-<talk> 08:54, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Krusty Arny 09:02, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Consensus: None. Votes were roughly equal. In the absence of consensus, existing policy stands. Robin Hoodtalk 03:33, 21 June 2010 (UTC)