[WikiEN-l] The Counter Vandalism Unit? Whaa?

Sam Korn smoddy at gmail.com
Fri Feb 3 20:28:04 UTC 2006

On 2/3/06, Stan Shebs <shebs at apple.com> wrote:
> Do you even look at RC, and not just work on one or two articles?
> Vandalism is coming in the top, sides, bottom, front, and back, and
> it's sucking up editor time that should be spent on actual content.
> It's not just the popular GWB or the less-obvious-but-still-popular
> "poop deck" that are the targets; there are hundreds of vandals
> bashing on completely random pages, and inserting subtle errors as
> well as obvious ones. As I mentioned on this mailing list not long
> ago, a vandal erased a random chunk of an article while I wasn't
> looking, the fair-use images in that part were declared orphans
> and then deleted, all before I got back from vacation (good thing I
> had my own backups).
> If you have a solution that's not based on wishful thinking,
> convince us that it's workable; in the meantime, please stop
> throwing rocks at the people who are trying to keep this place
> from turning into a graffiti-covered restroom.

I think you misunderstand the opposition to the "CVU".  I very much
doubt anyone is questioning the importance of fighting vandalism!  I
think the opposition comes from three main aspects:

1) The name implies (though the page itself explicitly denies) that
the Unit is The Way vandalism is fought.  I know this is explicitly
denied, but it is implied, and many people won't read all the way
down.  My solution: use [[Wikipedia:RC Patrol]] to co-ordinate RC
2) The images imply (though the page denies) that the Unit is
sanctioned by the Foundation.  The images actually are in violation of
the WMF's visual identity guidelines IMO.  Solution: remove the
3) There exists a category for members.  This again implies that only
those members are "qualified" RC patrollers.  Whilst *I* understand
that that is not intended, that is nonetheless a point that comes

Note that I do not say these things out of dislike for those
affliliated to the CVU.  I admire the work they do.  I just have
misgivings about the manner in which they organise themselves.  Too
often I have seen people replying to criticism of the way the
organisation is run with "but look at all the work we do reverting
vandalism".  But that misunderstands the reason for the opposition.

I ask those who support the CVU: 1) how does it help Wikipedia in ways
that a non-organisational structure couldn't? and 2) is the good it
does really more significant than the dislike it creates among other


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