I'm afraid I have to disagree with David Goodman's final paragraph
calling for an end to minor improvements to articles. I have done many
thousands of such minor edits in my time, tasks such as going through
all the articles with the word preformed and changing almost all to
performed. That has resulted in my making minor improvements to many
articles which I care nothing about and don't read more than the
paragraph or sentence that I fix, other times I find an article
interesting, read the whole thing and perhaps come across something
else I can correct. I believe that on the whole what I do is useful,
and I enjoy doing it. If I was paid to systematically go through
wikipedia articles checking each whole article completely and fixing
the errors I find, I am pretty sure the total improvement to Wikipedia
I would make would be less per hour than my contributions as a
volunteer, and of course there is the little matter of cost. Enabling
volunteers to improve the bits of Wikipedia that they volunteer to do
is much more cost effective than employing people and telling them
what to work on.
> The change that would make the biggest difference is that each person
> who looks at an article for any reason , such as fixing typos or
> adding categories or disam links, actually try to spot any serious
> problems, not just do the routine task they came for. There are too
> many BLPs that have been looked at twenty times, but none of them
> David Goodman, Ph.D, M.L.S.
In case you haven't heard already, "Britain Loves Wikipedia", a free
photography scavenger hunt following on from Wiki Loves Art et al.,
will be taking place in 21 museums and archives across the UK
throughout February, and is launching on Sunday at the Victoria and
Albert Museum! Full details are now up on the WMUK blog, at:
and also the Britain Loves Wikipedia website at:
PS: Apologies if you're not in the UK...
At 11:06 AM 1/28/2010, Samuel Klein wrote:
>On Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 7:27 PM, Ryan Delaney <ryan.delaney(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> > On Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 2:45 PM, phoebe ayers
> <phoebe.wiki(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> >> Running a mass deletion does have the unfortunate effect
> >> that there's no time for anyone to scramble for sources, which folks
> >> will do at least some of the time if given a chance. On the other
> >> hand, if *all* unsourced bios are deleted, at least no one can claim
> >> theirs was singled out for deletion! And hey, it gives a clean slate
> >> to start with (she says, somewhat tongue in cheek).
> > You're right that these are all very bad problems.
> > Pure Wiki Deletion would be an elegant solution to this, and many
> > other similar snafus.
>You and Abd ul-Rahman are right about that.a While PWD is simple and
>effective, its very lack of process means that it can be less
>satisfying for frustrated editors (an important engine behind
>passionate bulk actions). I wonder if there is some way to get the
>best of both hard and soft solutions.
Thanks. As far as I can see, blanking the article content,
particularly with appropriate tags, would satisfy both approaches. It
isn't something strange and new, it is how Wikipedia already deals
with unsourced information in articles of all kinds, including
biographies, it is simply deleted or possibly moved to Talk (by any
editor). This is simply applying it the same principle to an article
as a whole.
"Satisfying for frustrated editors"? Sure. But deletion must be done
by an administrator, and the dubious pleasure of deletion (take that,
fancruft!) is not quite respectable for admins, and ordinary editors
(or bad-hand accounts for "frustrated" administrators) tend to get
themselves banned for indulging too much or too openly in this
pleasure.... I'd think that blanking would be reasonably satisfying,
while doing much less damage in terms of eventual growth of the
project. If a deletionist wants to indulge his or her frustration at
cruft and unsourced BLPs by blanking the articles, I'm not offended.
It's actually much better and much simpler and much less disruptive
than speedy tags and AfDs and all that.
In fact, that was part of the point of WP:PWD, to eliminate the often
silly contention over notability at AfD, and instead convert
"deletion" into an ordinary editorial decision that can, if conflict
arises, go through the gradual escalation of WP:DR, which can, in
theory, resolve disputes less disruptively than holding a community
discussion right at the outset. For sure, with BLPs with no reliable
sources, the content should go, immediately, as long as it goes in a
way that makes it easy to recover.
And a bot can do it, very quickly and efficiently. The community is
almost certainly not going to allow bots to delete articles! I'm a
radical inclusionist, actually, but would have no trouble accepting
mass blanking under decent conditions. Particularly conditions where
the article, as-is, would not withstand AfD!
>PWD also gets harder as speedy deletion criteria expand; now articles
>are sometimes speedied because they are blank.
That problem would not get worse with PWD as an approach. As
unsourced BLPs, they are already totally vulnerable to speedy deletion.
First of all, blanking would create an intermediate option that
addresses the BLP issues as well as notability issues. I'd really
encourage looking at how PWD could be made effective for all the
legitimate purposes behind the various factions in the present flap.
The article might not be blanked, it could be redirected to a page on
the kind of blanking that was done, giving instructions for how to
bring the article back. If problems developed with articles returning
without sourcing, the page could be semiprotected and that could even
Placing speedy tags should not be done by bot, at least not merely
for lack of sourcing, and I see no harm in a blanked article
remaining indefinitely; deletion would be requested by a blanked
article reviewer who finds that the blanked material was actually of
no use whatever, a hoax, or so radically incorrect that it will waste
the time of someone who wants to recreate the article. In that case,
deletion is exactly appropriate so that a new article starts fresh.
But an article where it is easy to verify that the topic exists and
some information can be found that is independent, though not
necessarily of high quality? The only difference, really, between PWD
and standard deletion is the reservation of the ability to read the
history of the article to administrators only, which, in fact,
increases the load on administrators without a corresponding benefit.
Bots should only do things that are relatively harmless and that can
be easily reversed. Deletion cannot be so easily reversed, and
overwhelming the speedy deletion system with piles of speedy tags
isn't a great idea. Blanking (or blanking with redirection as I'm
suggesting) fixes the serious problem immediately, and opens the door
to improvement and invites it at the same time. Those who work on
improvement will notice useless versions and if they don't have time
to improve the article, they can place a speedy tag on it, and a
special speedy tag might be created for this situation. The purpose
there of deletion is clear: to avoid other editors wasting time
trying to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.
Note, however, that someone who finds old content to be useless could
remove the content, or if it was partly useless, but something might
be salvaged, remove the useless part, save the article, then reblank
pending further work.
WP:PWD added an additional feature: redlink display of PWD'd
articles. That would require a software change, and it might not be
done exactly that way. But this is unnecessary, even if it is
possibly desirable. I'm not actually sure which would be better,
redlink display or something else, it's possible that redlink would
be best. But a person following the redlink, inspired to fix it,
would quickly find and be able to read the blanked article, and go from there.
Apparently there is some kind of coup on English Wikipedia where a large
group of administrators have decided that since the community disagrees with
them, they will use their admin powers to override consensus and policy. At
least that is what they seem to claim it is.
"The community is incapable of such a conversation and decision."
"Hence my actions." Kevin
Specifically it is about mass-deleting articles about living people for the
sole reason of lacking sources.
Is there anyone here who can do something about this before it becomes an
even bigger wheel-war?
It is commonly said that anyone can remove unsourced information, and that
the burden lies on the editor who wants to include information to provide a
source. I have always taken this to mean that if I think something is wrong
or otherwise does not belong in the article, then I can remove it at will if
there is no source. I did not take it to mean that I could go from article
to article and remove any sentence without a source, for no other reason
than being unsourced. The exception of course if contentious material about
living people, which should be removed right away if unsourced. Am I correct
here? Has the interpretation changed recently?
The question came up of course because of the recent discussions about
unsourced BLPs. While at first it was about BLP articles with no sources, it
seems that some wants to expand it to every sentence in a BLP that does not
have a source. Are we aware that this would probably mean removing well over
half of the information about living people on Wikipedia? I know there are
some who think it is fundamentally immoral to even have openly editable
articles on living people, but how far is Wikipedia willing to go to please
I was curious about a vandalistic edit: the logged-out vandal, who uses a
US-based home broadband ISP, has made only one edit: the vandalistic edit
I mentioned. The edit was made two days ago. I reverted it, then tried using
Soxred93's useful Range Contributions tool to see if any of the 255 IP
addresses closest to the vandal's IP had ever made any other edits. Nope.
In fact, not even any of the closest 131072 have done so. But when I
expanded my search to the closest 262144, I found lots of edits over the past
few weeks, made by a variety of IPs. I looked at the first seven. One was
vandalism: an edit to [[Patrick Stump]]. Someone else has since reverted
it. It was made by another user from the same ISP. I am just curious:
A) Did I go too far when I did all the research I described above? Do you
yourself often use the Range Contributions tool for looking at vandals' ISPs'
B) What do you think are the chances that the same person made both the
first and the second vandalistic edits? The IP addresses' binary
representations are quite different.
C) Why did no anti-vandalism software automatically revert either edit?
D) When I look at the history of [[Patrick Stump]], I see that there were
fourteen edits between 06:51 and 07:03, most vandalism. Yet the vandalistic
edits come from a variety of IP addresses and usernames. The IP addresses
differ widely from each other. Why is this?
E) When comparing two vandals' edits in other situations, is there any quick
way for editors to find out both IPs' hostnames, User-Agents, Accept-Charset
strings, Accept-Language strings, screen resolutions, and/or IP geolocation
results? I do very little vandalism removal, so I myself am not sure.
F) Which netblocks do the most vandalism and the least useful editing? Which
cities? Which entire countries? Should those netblocks, cities, and countries
be forced to log in before editing?
G) Wouldn't it be cool if some web browsers or ISPs would tell Wikipedia what a
contributor's PPPoE username was whenever the contributor made an edit?
If you reply to only one of A), B), C), D), E), F), or G) then please use a
different subject line than I used. And add a "(was: ...)" tag at the end of
the subject line. That way, it'll be easier for others to follow just the parts
of the discussion that they want to follow.
^ . http://toolserver.org/~chm/whois.php?ip=22.214.171.124
^ . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_Runner_High_Speed_Online
^ . http://toolserver.org/~soxred93/rangecontribs/
^ . http://toolserver.org/~chm/whois.php?ip=126.96.36.199
^ . http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Patrick_Stump&action=history
IMHO a lot of the problems with unsourced BLP would go away if it were
easier to find sources.
So, I did what I always do: Write a tool :-)
To get a random article from [[Category:BLP articles lacking sources]]:
To get a specific page:
The tool shows you additional information on the right side of the page:
* small google search window
* list of existing external links
* list of external URLs in interwiki-linked pages
I thought about including external URLs from images used on the page,
but that would probably just introduce more noise.
If you have an idea of what else to show, you know where I live...
Thomas Dalton wrote:
> 2010/1/21 Apoc 2400 <apoc2400 at gmail.com>:
> > Is there anyone here who can do something about this before it becomes an
> > even bigger wheel-war?
> Try ArbCom. Keeping admins in check is their job.
Unfortunately, at least one arbitrator is part of the group.
"Civil disobedience is often necessary." --User:Cool Hand Luke