[Foundation-l] Searchability of non-mainspace pages

Todd Allen toddmallen at gmail.com
Mon Apr 28 02:05:55 UTC 2008

On Sun, Apr 27, 2008 at 7:06 PM, Newyorkbrad (Wikipedia)
<newyorkbrad at gmail.com> wrote:
> My attention has repeatedly been drawn to serious negative effects created
>  by the ability of Google and other searches to search and display pages
>  outside the mainspace, including pages such as XfD's, DRV's, AN/I
>  discussions, and the like.  Some of these discussions have taken place
>  on-wiki and others, I am advised, on discussion of OTRS tickets posted by
>  affected persons.
>  Given the visibility of Wikipedia results on Google and other searches, and
>  consistent with the overall intent of [[WP:BLP]] on En-Wiki (and what I hope
>  is its equivalent on other projects), we have a serious responsibility to
>  ensure that the overall effect of Wikipedia content is a responsible one.
>  This includes eliminating the likelihood that the first hit on the Google
>  search for a living person is not (for example) a deletion discussion on how
>  insignificant and non-notable that individual is, or a page discussing the
>  ban of that individual (who might be a minor, for example) who chose to edit
>  Wikipedia under his or her real name and made some mistakes in doing so and
>  was criticized or even banned as a result.
>  There has been discussion from time to time about implementing a technical
>  modification such that only mainspace pages (or such other pages as the
>  community might consciously choose) would be visible to searches.  In view
>  of the number of concerns raised about the current situation where
>  everything is searchable, it seems to me that the necessary changes should
>  be developed and implemented quickly.
>  The main argument in opposition to this change that I have seen is that the
>  internal Wikipedia search capability is not as strong as the external search
>  engines, so that it is desirable that the ability to conduct a complete
>  external search be maintained.  I know that I have sometimes found it useful
>  to be able to search all spaces within the site in, for example, looking for
>  precedent cases while drafting EnWiki arbitration decisions.  It therefore
>  would probably be desirable to upgrade our internal search capability.
>  However, in view of the number of third parties affected by the current
>  practice, I do not believe that implementation of the non-search capability
>  should await this development.
>  As a matter of disclosure, although I have raised this concern in passing on
>  prior occasions, my attention has been focused (this is something of an
>  understatement) on it again by an ongoing and extremely unpleasant thread
>  concerning me on the Wikipedia Review site.  I understand that my concerns
>  in this matter might be discounted for that reason.  Nonetheless, they are
>  sincere, of long standing, and I urge that they receive priority attention.
>  Newyorkbrad
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What about developing a functionality where editors (or perhaps admins
and up only) could set an individual non-mainspace page to be
excluded? The vast majority of non-articlespace content is not
problematic, so the proposed sledgehammer solution seems a bit
overkill as compared to handling individual pages, and would certainly
be much less deleterious to the ability to use superior external
search capability while improved internal search is developed, while
still addressing the fact that some pages are problematic if they show
on search engines and allowing us to respond appropriately to
complaints and concerns about the same.

Freedom is the right to say that 2+2=4. From this all else follows.

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