[Foundation-l] Fwd: Re: Fwd: Wikimedia-wide global blocking mechanism?

effe iets anders effeietsanders at gmail.com
Sat Feb 2 13:05:56 UTC 2008

Thanks for refraining from personal attacks.

Please realize the number of Wikimedia Wiki's. Also consider that this
number is constantly increasing, and that a serious part of these
wiki's have no or little community. I don't see why we should not
fight vandalism on wiki's with no community. It just does not make

I am talking here about *short term* blocks of proven vandal bots that
are going through a high number of wiki's. These bots will not add
anything good to the wikimedia wiki's, and are only destructive.
Blocking here is stopping that bot from continuing, and I think that
falls within the scope of what a steward is supposed to be for.

I have no problem with communications. As you might be able to find on
metawiki and mailinglist archives, I am for instance highly doubtful
for giving automatically bot rights to people on every wiki once they
cleared a certain meta procedure. So it is not like I am a bad steward
that hates small communities or something, no, I really base this on
arguments and considerations. Please let me try again to explain why I
think this is better.

The current situation is that as soon as a vandal bot is detected,
there are two options. Either preventively block the IP on *every*
small wiki, which means: go to the wiki, log in, grant yourself admin
rights, block, remove the rights. A lot of work. Both result in long
blocks, because we do not like the bots to come back tomorrow, it's
too much of work for that. I think everyone agrees that this situation
is bad and should be improved.

This improved blocking mechanism would enable the stewards to stop
these bots the moment they are spotted. The can be stopped for a short
term, so that the proxies remain opened for the communities that
wish/need that. The vandalism would be prevented, and that would save
a lot of cleaning work as well. It would be an automation of the
current procedure.

However, it is imaginable (not likely imho though) that smaller wiki's
object to this procedure. They might want the bot to come in, or maybe
have an actually good reason, that is somewhat hard to predict. To
come to their (possible) wishes, it might be decided that we could do
some opt-[in/out] system. I think that an opt-in system will be much
worse in terms of manpower, time and vandalism then opt-out. A lot of
the wiki's that form the main target group of this tool have not the
ability to make such a choise. Either because there is no or barely a
community, either because they cant work out procedures. It would also
give a lot of extra work for the devs. They would have to optin every
community that would like to join.

To form consensus, it would require a while to ague within the
community, if present at all, which would not only mean a delay, but
again a lot of extra work. Yes, extra work is a valid argument for me.
Also stewards are volunteers, and have other better things to do then
cleaning up vandalism when not needed. If it is needed, fine, I'll do
my job if I'm in, but I'd rather see a better way of fixing things
then manually.

So besides that it is a load of extra work for stewards, devs and
other vandalism-cleaners (SWMT) it would also mean that a bunch of
wiki's which died slowly in the past for whatever reason, will remain
to suffer from vandalism, even when there is no need to.

Opt-out is maybe a little less "independant" but just as effective. If
a community has objections, they will note them soon enough. Just like
you want to send messages to opt-in, we could also send messages to
opt-out if they want to. There is no fundamental difference between
those messages, the only difference is the momentum. The difference is
also that they will have to do a little work to get the vandalism bots
again. It would also mean less processing manpower for developers, and
a system that is both immediately active and running, but also a
system that is better in the long run, as more wiki's will join that
have no or barely any community.

Best regards,


2008/2/1, Birgitte SB <birgitte_sb op yahoo.com>:
> Sorry I failed to send this to the list the first time
> --- Birgitte SB <birgitte_sb op yahoo.com> wrote:
> > Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2008 10:20:18 -0800 (PST)
> > From: Birgitte SB <birgitte_sb op yahoo.com>
> > Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Fwd: Wikimedia-wide
> > global blocking mechanism?
> > To: effeietsanders op gmail.com
> >
> > I will grant you that it easier in the short-term to
> > not use an opt-in system.  However I strongly
> > disagree
> > that in practice the results would be the same as
> > requiring opt-in.  Even the most wonderful idea can
> > have disastrous results because of poor
> > communications.  I can agree with the principles of
> > this idea, but I also also think that such changes
> > in
> > principle require comprehensible notification.  If
> > you
> > are not willing to bother with the
> > communication(either through annoucements or using
> > opt-in), you are setting yourselves up for failure.
> > Personally I think opt-in is more workable than
> > blanket notifications in local languages.  Using an
> > opt-in system will mean it will take some time for
> > the
> > system to reach full effect. But you should still
> > get
> > the feature you desire, and I believe you will save
> > yourselves a great deal of difficulty in the long
> > run.
> >
> >
> > Frankly I am surprised your argument against opt-in
> > is
> > that it would be easier for the stewards to do
> > otherwise.  If someone does not wish to bother
> > communicating with small wikis and wikis which have
> > trouble with English, I wonder why they ever thought
> > to become a steward.
> >
> > Birgitte SB
> >

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