[WikiEN-l] Should we be declaring war on vandals?

Joanne joannebennaoj at gmail.com
Mon Feb 6 21:32:26 UTC 2006

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark Gallagher" <m.g.gallagher at student.canberra.edu.au>
To: "English Wikipedia" <wikien-l at Wikipedia.org>
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 1:40 PM
Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] Should we be declaring war on vandals?

> That is an excellent point --- but it's not just Cool_Cat.  In fact 
> Cool_Cat himself is quite good when it comes to vandals; he's written the 
> vandalism-sensing bot which I gather is quite useful, raised awareness of 
> the problem of vandalism, and done other neat stuff that I'm sure I'd 
> remember if I hadn't just returned from a hard night of softball.  I 
> haven't noticed any harmful interactions between him personally and 
> vandals.
> The problem is that his "war on vandals!" attitude is shared by the 
> "Counter-Vandalism Unit".  Now, CVU boasts quite a few great people, who 
> are calm and efficient and cluey and would really be doing the same job 
> whether CVU existed or not.  But it *also* includes many newbies who've 
> arrived, seen an interesting-looking clique, and signed on, jumping into 
> the vandal-fighting thing without really knowing anything else about 
> Wikipedia.  These people, as well as being bloody annoying when they get 
> underfoot (such as demanding admins speedy articles or block users on 
> their say-so, regardless of policy or, more importantly, Common Sense), 
> are also the ones most likely to bite newbies.

Agreed, I've seen this happen. I've been active in the CVU quite a while, 
and I've seen both the 'few great people' and the 'newbies' that Mark is 
referring to. I always hope that the CVU provides ways for the first group 
to help and correct the latter, and I've seen evidence of those newbies 
turning into quite useful vandal fighters after some helpful hints. However, 
I do agree and recognise that the current structure, name and ways that the 
CVU presents itself, could be displeasing to other people.

People in the CVU, like Cool Cat but also some others have been, very 
helpful in limiting the amount of harm vandals, testing school kids and 
other 'less helpful editors' do. In fact, I think the good the group is 
doing, outweighs the bad by far. I also see some value in having some 
structure, as opposed to some others on this list, since problematic newbie 
vandal 'fighters'  will always exist. I personally rather see them join a 
group in which their actions can be seen and, if necessary, corrected, then 
doing so on their own, undetected, in the wrong way for who knows how long.

In my opinion, CVU activities and people could benefit from another name and 
structure (and there are people working on that), but regarding CVU as the 
source of all evil, like the Cunctator appears to do, is not likely the way 
to accomplish anything...


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