[WikiEN-l] Semiprotection and [[George W. Bush]] (was The Counter Vandalism Unit? Whaa?)

Steve Bennett stevage at gmail.com
Fri Feb 3 14:32:29 UTC 2006

Has any thought been given to detecting potentially vandalistic edits
and quarantining them for review by experienced editors? I know there
are bots and tools to do this after the fact, but what about before
it? What I like about this idea is that it wouldn't suffer from the
typical "build a better rat trap, get smarter rats" problem, since
most of our vandals are (I believe) first-timers.

So, why not just have MediaWiki apply a simple heuristic for detecting
vandalistic edits? Presumably edits containing more than one
consecutive !, words like "gay", "penis" or "loser" are unlikely to be
genuine. It should then silently quarantine them (possibly even
attempting to fool the vandal into believing that his misdeed has paid
off).  There are probably all sorts of rules you could come up with,
including anons substantially reducing the length of pages, adding
nothing but a single URL etc.

Might temper some of those "but Wikipedia must be free!" complaints.


On 2/3/06, David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:
> Tony Sidaway wrote:
> >Although vandalism has been slashed by semi-protection on that
> >article, non-vandalism edits also seem to be down by about 60%.  Does
> >that mean that semi-protection is wrong for George W. Bush?  I think
> >the jury is still out, but it appears that there is considerable
> >collateral damage associated with semi-protection.
> As examples of bad cases making bad rules, [[George W. Bush]] is the
> winner. It is *the* most edited article on en.wikipedia, by what? 5:1
> over the next one? It pretty clearly has *too many* editors for the
> live version ever to be a usable encyclopaedia article.
> Remember that *most articles are not controversial*. And that Kim
> Bruning and Gmaxwell's data indicates there are only a couple of
> hundred articles out of 900,000 that have more than a hundred editors.
> Kim's idea that we should just declare those couple of hundred
> articles prima facie pathological until proven otherwise strikes me as
> an *excellent* one.
> Saying anything about the value of semiprotection based on such
> articles only really applies to such articles. And semiprotection
> should be thought of as an extreme measure, but [[George W. Bush]] is
> a pathological article.
> - d.
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