Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous)

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Merger proposal during AfD

I often see AfDs with lots of !votes for merge or redirect to some other article. If someone proposes a merger while the AfD is happening, what then? It sort of splits the discussion. Has this been discussed? Do we have some guidelines on this? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 03:01, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Many AFDs end up with "merge" as a result. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Administrator instructions covers how "merge" results are to be implemented. --Jayron32 03:04, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Hi Jayron32. But what about when AfD and merger discussions happene concurrently and both are going in opposite directions? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 03:18, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

And sometimes there is a concurrent page move discussion and merger discussion.

This example shows that: A May 15, 2016 page move request then a May 16, 2017 merger proposal. They were both ongoing at the same time and it caused a bit of confusion as the page move wanted A --> B while the merger wanted B --> A. Do we need some sort of protocol? Linking to each other so users are aware? Making them subsequent (if needed) and not concurrent? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 03:18, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

The protocol is covered at WP:FORUMSHOP; though not explicitly. Best practice is to merge the discussions in some way. --Jayron32 03:21, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Some way? Ah, and therein lies the rub. (I always like saying that, but am not sure when it applies.) Anna Frodesiak (talk) 03:22, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

I can't speak about which direction these are going, but Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Covfefe incident and Talk:Donald Trump on social media are happening right now. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 03:22, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

In my opinion: If this were handled soon after the RM discussion opened, a close on grounds of FORUMSHOP, with an explicit link to the AFD, would have been appropriate. However, with this many votes (including 2 admins), it's too late to do this. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 05:02, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Hi עוד מישהו. Certainly for the example pointed out above, it is too late. But what about some way of handing this in the future? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 08:31, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
If the merge request was madew after the AFD, then simply close the move request with a link to the AfD. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 14:54, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
I like that idea, but would that be allowed? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 19:18, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
I think that we can IAR in this case, considering that it's close to Speedy keep #2 (since forum shopping is disruptive to the processes here), as well as the "wrong forum" rukle (since once the page has been nominated for AfD, merging it should be discussed there). עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 21:33, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Hi עוד מישהו. I'm thinking of future cases only. So yes? Would one get yelled at for quickly (before too many !votes start to land) closing the second or third item and posting a link to the first item as the centralized/first place for discussion? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 06:31, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
I have seen discussions at WP:AN being closed quickly for reqsons such as FORUMSHOPPING, never seen it at merge requests. The only real test for IAR is to do it and see how others respond - altyhough it won't go beyond yelling and possibly asking you to undo the closure. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 13:24, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
An additional thing you can do is put a note at the top of each requesting a single closer preform a unified close of both. A good closer can hopefully find a reasonable combined outcome, even if the two conflict. Alsee (talk) 11:43, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Hi Alsee. Wouldn't that be fixing it after it was broken? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 06:31, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Anna Frodesiak, preventing the problem in the first place is of course best. I was just trying to add an option to clean up a mess that has already formed. Your comment at 03:18, 2 June appeared to suggest two well developed discussions that had effectively formed consensuses in opposite directions. If it is a contentious matter, I can picture a battle breaking out over which of the two discussions should be squashed. Alsee (talk) 12:11, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Of course dear Alsee. I am sorry. I did not mean to appear ungrateful. Yes, indeed a way to nip it in the bud is best. As for the current thing, discussing how it should be handled here may not be best. Let's let that one happen as it will. You are welcome, of course, to post at one of those pages, but I fear it too late to help that case.
So, the future: Can we, if we see a second item started, quickly close it and send people to the first item? Would that put all heaven in a rage? Would that get us all hiding under the proverbial sofa? (There is no proverbial sofa. Sofas aren't used in proverbs.) :) Anna Frodesiak (talk) 12:33, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes, closing a discussion and linking to the other one normally works pefectly. It's a well established practice for merging a split discussion. The more swiftly you catch&close the second discussion the better.
I'm sorry if I created confusion. I have a habit of considering worst case scenarios. Heh. The idea of "requesting a single closer preform a unified close of both" should only be done as a last resort. It would be an attempt to salvage the situation if you have two large, well developed, conflicting discussions, and people start squabbling over how to fix it. Alsee (talk) 13:41, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Adding ping for Anna Frodesiak. Alsee (talk) 13:43, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Hi Alsee.
Hearing "...well established practice..." is music to my ears. Good!
And you didn't create any confusion. I am in a state of confusion that was created at birth. Bad DNA or something. They explained but I was all confused.
Anyhow, now I know what to do (or recommend) in advance. That's good, because, like you said "...the more swiftly..." Best wishes and thank you!!! Anna Frodesiak (talk) 17:01, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Anna, it's reasonably well-established, but so is the practice of complaining that the "wrong" discussion was closed. And – well, perhaps some editors are perfect, but I think that most of us have accidentally overlooked pointers to other discussions at least on occasion, and if we usually hang out on one page but not the other, then inertia becomes an issue. It can be hard to actually get a discussion moved, even if people aren't upset about it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:02, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
Hi WhatamIdoing. Wouldn't the first discussion be the wrong one to close, and concurrent ones discussing the same thing that were started after be the right one(s)? And if there were 2 !votes, it could seem reasonable, but if there were dozens, should that ever be closed mid-way? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 23:08, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
I can imagine all of these arguments, plus more, in both directions. "Mine was first – close the other one" followed by "Mine is the current one – stop yours!", and so forth. I recommend using your best judgment, being gentle with people who aren't paying attention, and possibly copying/pasting one discussion into the other (ideally so that it pings everyone whose comments you've moved). WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:30, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
Fair enough. I'll take it case-by-case. And I'm not sure about copy pasting being a good plan, and I doubt if it would ping more than a few people, and it may ping nobody. Best, Anna Frodesiak (talk) 23:38, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

Invitation to test and discuss the Echo notifications blacklist


To answer a request from the 2016 Community Wishlist for more user control of notifications, the Anti-harassment tools team is exploring changes that allow for adding a per-user blacklist to Echo notifications. This feature allows for more fine tuned control over notifications and could curb harassing notifications. We invite you to test the new feature on beta and then discuss it with us. For the Anti-harassment tools team SPoore (WMF) (talk) , Community Advocate, Community health initiative (talk) 15:25, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

When a WP language version is (mostly) inactive

Prompted by this post to ANI, I looked at the Romani Wikipedia and noticed that it seems to be fairly inactive. What is the best advice to give to people who discover abuse - in particular blatant abuse as reported in the linked post - at an inactive language version? Is it the stewards that step in? (I don't actually know whether there are active admins at rmy.wp, but I'm guessing that there may not be a lot of them given that there is a banner at the top of the project's pages calling for a revival of Romani Wikipedia, if interested speakers of the language can be found.)

Sorry if this question is misplaced, but hopefully there's somebody who can at least point me at a relevant guideline :-) --bonadea contributions talk 09:49, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

@Bonadea: Not sure of the best place, but it's certainly not here, which is solely concerned with the English Wikipedia. Discussion about Wikipedia in other languages (where posting on that other language Wikipedia is impractical) is normally done at meta:, and I think that you could start at m:Talk:Language committee. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 10:00, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
bonadea, global or cross-wiki issues are handled at Meta wiki. Their "Village Pumps" is at Meta:Babel. Meta:Wikimedia Forum is probably the more appropriate page. If Romani is defunct, or admins are unavailable or there is any sort of systemic dysfunction, that's where to raise the issue. Alsee (talk) 11:58, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
I would guess that if you find abuse, especially with inactive or small wikis, you should contact one of the meta:Stewards. --Izno (talk) 12:18, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Belated thanks to all. I knew that en.wp is not the place to report abuse at other wp versions, obviously, but the IP who made the report did not know it and I thought it would be more helpful to find out where they should go to report it. Thank you Alsee for adding that info to the ANI thread! Cheers, --bonadea contributions talk 18:52, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

The Plot to Hack America and Donald Trump series

Should the article The Plot to Hack America make use of the template {{Donald Trump series}} ?

See Request for Comment, at Talk:The_Plot_to_Hack_America#RfC_about_the_Donald_Trump_series. Sagecandor (talk) 05:37, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

Disambig for topics not covered on Wikipedia?

I just noticed that we have articles on Kaushik Narshibhai Patel and Timil Kaushik Patel, both of whom (if Wikipedia is to be believed -- I've actually never heard of either of them) essentially share a name with a convicted murderer who doesn't appear to be mentioned anywhere on Wikipedia.

I'm a little concerned that crime junkies who don't know anything about cricket might accidentally think that one or the other of the above cricketers, both apparently LPs, is the same person as the child-murderer, also probably an LP. I'm a crime junkie who doesn't know anything about cricket and I quickly figured out what was going on, but I'm also a Wikipedian with above-average knowledge of how WP:NATHLETE and WP:NCRIME work, which probably can't be said for most of our readers.

Is there precedent for some kind of "Not to be confused with such-and-such person about whom we don't have an article" headnote?

Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:33, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

Well, the guideline says not to (WP:NOARTICLE) so it is actually already covered. Whether it's a good idea is a different question. However, if the alternative subject is not notable enough for inclusion, why mention him at all? Should we place hatnotes on all articles of people with common names because there are certainly enough convicted criminals with the same name ("This John Smith is not a murderer, rapist, arsonist etc. but there is a guy with the same name you might have heard of")? Or can't we trust our readers to assume that the subject of the article is not a criminal if the article contains no information about a crime? Regards SoWhy 12:15, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
I don't think there's much you can or should do in that sort of situation. Writing "this person is not a murder/rapist/pedophile/terrorist" in someone's biography is severely prejudicial. It can consciously or subconsciously plant that idea, where it didn't previously exist. If we were to dig up every name of non-notable every person in history who committed some crime or scandalous act, we would wind up with one or multiple name-matches for a huge number of biographies. Alsee (talk) 12:44, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Thing is, though, the criminal might well not be non-notable, while the cricketers might well be. NATHLETE is infamously loose, while we are extremely strict about standalone articles on criminals (oftentimes what would essentially be a biographical on a criminal is deliberately written to be about the crime, even when said crime does meet the much stricter standards of NCRIME). BLP also makes it a lot easier to write about athletes who are peripherally notable and have not been the source of any significant controversy than about violent criminals who don't merit encyclopedia articles but whose presence in news media means their names are likely at least as well known as said athletes. You may well be right that writing "Not to be confused with..." could very well create that association needlessly. I'm just putting this out there to see what people think; I'm not actually considering editing the articles to this effect -- if I did I would just do it. Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:58, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

WP:Signpost's newest issue

News update: The WP:Signpost just published the newest issue after over three-month hiatus. Read it all yourselves. --George Ho (talk) 02:47, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

Curious about "probably good edits"

Hi. Long-term RC patroller here. Along with options showing and hiding registered/unregistered users edits there's a new option on the Recent changes page about hiding and showing "probably good edits". I'm curious about what the difference is that makes an edit a 'probably good edit' compared to one that isn't. Thanks. Minima© (talk) 21:51, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

It was originally called "Hide good edits".[1] See mw:ORES review tool which still uses the old name. Users who enable "New filters for edit review" at Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-betafeatures don't see this option but instead get more detailed options. PrimeHunter (talk) 22:49, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Minima, the edits are examined by a machine-learning system (a simple AI). The strongest factor for a potentially bad edit is simply that it was made by an IP. It also looks for profanity, words like 'gay' or 'faggot', strings of repeated letters, all caps, blanking sections, WP:puffery words, words like "I", various kinds of wikitext-markup changes, and tons of other stuff. I think it can spot if it was previously reverted. Basically a "probably good edit" is one that has lots of good features and no bad ones. For example an edit that contains a <ref> probably gets rated more positively. Cited info, from a user experienced enough to use a ref, is much less likely to be damaging. However the software can't understand the meaning of a sentence, so it can't tell if the info is biased or wrong. Alsee (talk) 08:00, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the detailed reasoning. I understand that it isn't perfect, but it probably is a better option to use to patrol certain edits if Cluebot isn't working. Minima© (talk) 13:03, 10 June 2017 (UTC)

Anon editor making small changes to Hebrew text (talk · contribs) is making large numbers of small changes to Hebrew text. See Special:Contributions/ There are no edit comments. Someone who reads Hebrew should check these. Could be improvement, vandalism, or some dispute over Hebrew spelling. Thanks. John Nagle (talk) 20:15, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

Volunteer closed RFC and refuses to explain why

Recently I had an RFC which was closed (inappropriately I feel) by an inexperienced volunteer. When I went to the volunteers page and asked (very politely I might add) for an explanation, I was at first told "No - I see no need". Upon further inquiry, the volunteer agreed to explain the reason for his closure, and then promptly disregarded his commitment to do so. Further entreaties were met with radio silence. Here is a link to said discussion - is this how volunteers are supposed to behave when asked a simple question that would take less than 5 minutes to answer? 2600:1012:B068:9A8C:51CA:D45C:30DF:BD0E (talk) 00:03, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

IP, could you please link to the RFC discussion and not just to the user's talk page? Oiyarbepsy (talk) 00:27, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
Please disregard - situation has been handled. 2600:1012:B05A:3A60:CCDD:CB0D:4EA6:40F2 (talk) 00:58, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

Anti-Harassment Tools prioritization

Plant a Sapling for Better Future.jpg

Community health initiative
Helping the Wikimedia volunteer community to reduce the level of harassment and disruptive behavior on our projects.

Good Tuesday, Wikipedia!

I'd like to invite you to participate in a discussion about how the Anti-Harassment Tools team at the WMF is prioritizing our work, and how you can help. Join us at Wikipedia talk:Community health initiative on English Wikipedia#Anti-Harassment Tools prioritization.

Thank you, and I hope to see you all there!

TBolliger (WMF) (talk) 20:44, 13 June 2017 (UTC) on behalf of the Anti-Harassment Tools team

Two non-English Wikinews proposed for closure

Two non-English Wikinews sites are currently proposed at Meta-wiki for closure: Norwegian and Albanian. You are invited to discuss those separately. --George Ho (talk) 08:18, 17 June 2017 (UTC)

Glimpses of paradise : the quest for the beautiful parrakeet

Does anyone this book (pdf, epub)? @Casliber:? OJJ (talk) 10:46, 17 June 2017 (UTC)

@OJJ: I had it, I read it and I sold it to a second-hand bookshop. The story of the Paradise parrot is too depressing for me I'm afraid...Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 14:59, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
@Casliber: OK. --OJJ (talk) 08:25, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

Search results from selected sister projects now active

Today I found out that search results from selected sister projects—Wiktionary, Wikibooks, Wikivoyage, Wikiquote, and Wikisource—are now active. Even I discovered that it happened two days ago. I typed in "singing", clicked "containing" option, and found out the results from selected sister projects. Too bad for other sister projects, like Commons and Wikinews, whose newsroom has articles pending review. But at least we have great news. See more at the archived RfC discussion.

For practice, I went to my own preferences, click "Gadgets" tab, and then clicked "Disable the suggestions dropdown-lists of the search fields". Therefore, I can see the results from sister projects more and more with the "dropdown-lists"/autocomplete system disable. I don't know when I can re-enable the system as it doesn't direct me automatically to see those results.

Thoughts about this? --George Ho (talk) 18:42, 17 June 2017 (UTC)

  • Call me pessimistic, but I will give it a week before people start to complain and demand that this function be disabled. Blueboar (talk) 20:15, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
@Blueboar: As much as a week? The complaints started several hours ago. -- John of Reading (talk) 20:27, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
I made a note there saying that enabling/disabling such feature can be done at WP:VPPR. Pinging Shearonink, BlackcurrantTea, and Lugnuts to this thread. George Ho (talk) 20:56, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
The matter can be also read: Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)/Archive 154#Sister projects search results. I also posted an announcenment at WP:Community bulletin board. --George Ho (talk) 21:11, 17 June 2017 (UTC)

Right now, the option to disable/opt-out search results from sister projects is proposed. George Ho (talk) 06:13, 18 June 2017 (UTC)

Update: The opt-out gadget option is available per discussion. You may go to user preferences and then click that option. --George Ho (talk) 17:13, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

Note: Per RfC discussion, there was "no consensus" to include search results from Wikibooks. Therefore, I filed a task at Phabricator. --George Ho (talk) 01:01, 23 June 2017 (UTC)

Notification for a survey

Hi English Wikipedia editors. I'm reaching out to you to notify you that we (Wikimedia Foundation Research team) will launch a 3-question survey in 13 languages on Thursday, June 22, to learn more about Wikipedia readers (think of readers as anyone who visits a page on Wikipedia, so an editor reading a page is also considered a reader). The survey will go live on 2017-06-22 and is planned to stop after a week. The current sampling rate for enwiki is set to 1 out of 40. You can track the task at T168197. Some more information about this research: an announcement on wikimedia-l and the list of participating languages. If you're interested to discuss this research further or if you have questions, please ping me. If you're interested to be the point of contact between us and your community, please ping me as well. Otherwise, please know that we have a close eye on the survey and we expect everything to go smoothly from the technical point of view as we're repeating what we have done a few times last year and tested it in a few languages in 2017 as well. Thanks! :) --LZia (WMF) (talk) 09:11, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

Pontus (disambiguation)

Move article Pontus (disambiguation)Pontus--SrpskiAnonimac (talk) 21:05, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

@SrpskiAnonimac: This is the wrong venue, please see WP:MOVE; and if you need to make a formal request, do so at Talk:Pontus (disambiguation) using the method shown at WP:RM. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 07:34, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

Hello my name is Neurorebel

Moved from WP:VPp

I have been studying English for thirty years... This is much more a technical question but I know that the tecnologic department only worries about informatic issues so im forced to submit this here. Thge question is, can you understand me? As non native English speaker (my mother language is spanish), someone argued against me lack of competence in English [}. This user was Beyond My Ken, and possibly he is right but out of messure and unfair as he told me that my English is very bad, i dont feel offended with this though one consequence is im being actually handcoughed in enwiki.. Concisely, Beyondmyken is not lying when he says that I have errors when using (writting specially) the language of the natives but neither is doing fair on me. I myself also notice this errors but BeyondMyken is not fair because they are those that are so silly that deeply embarrass me being that i fail far from bad ortography and bad conjugation, may be you find some typos in this text. Which i point is my domain of this language is rusted besides of being very poor and hence they result from confusion besides ignorance, I use English so often that sometimes I cant notice the difference with spanish and I need to think to know in which language am I reading some text. May be you can note that I dont have the classic errors that a foreign speaker ussually comits, such as misconjungating or adapting words from spanish resulting in uncomprensible and inexistent in English, or a very limited vocabulary. Very at last i represent the group at all when minimally my search for common or uncommon latin roots for unknown words fail and generally those are cases where i take too much risk. Beyondmyken arged thatI dont know to use contractions so if you rather prefer a spanish tilde(´) besides nothing between or the propper appostrophe (is it this? "'") it´s ok for me because I use different keyboards and Imk not always sure where the apostrophe is, when i used windows it was alt+39 but not anymore my case, you will agree that this are minor errors Like writting English besides english, I all my life have written the latter as i was taught. The center of all of this is that I effectively need an intensive course on wikiversity for reviewing conjugation and prepositions, lately "in" and "on" are being the same for me and I have even written "it dont" besides "it doesnt", also confusion with have and do (not with "make" and "do"), as I said, errors are there but they are fruit of confusion rather than ignorance. Learning latin even didnt help me improoving, by the contrary replaced the space that English once occuppied. What I really want is your concensus about my competence in English by means of being able to at least create short articles and edit in the same manner. --Neurorebel (talk) 23:23, 20 June 2017 (UTC) P.D.:I havent used any corrector this time, Im sorry

Neurorebel, I am not a very prominent editor on Wikipedia but, for what it's worth, I (as a native English speaker) have been a professional editor of non-fiction periodicals and school textbooks.
You ask about your level of competence in written English. A feature of the English language is that it's possible to make a great many mistakes and still be understood, while falling far short of the quality expected of a competent writer. This appears to apply to your written English at present.
In your query above, there are so many mistakes in spelling, punctuation, grammar, vocabulary and layout, as well as many typographical errors, that I'm not even going to try to count them; certainly there are many more than one per line of text.
In my opinion (with which others may disagree), you are generally able to make yourself understood, and could usefully contribute material and sources to Talk/Discussion pages so that other, competent English users could add them to articles. However, you are not sufficiently competent in written English as to be able to add text to Article pages without making very many errors. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 05:22, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
Don't worry. I directed him to Wikiversity and Wikibooks, both of which can help him improve his English. I even told him about v:Writing and v:Typing. --George Ho (talk) 05:42, 23 June 2017 (UTC)

RfC about the author credits of first edition in first sentence in book article

RfC about the author credits of first edition in first sentence in a book article.

Please see Request for Comment, at Talk:Trump_Tower:_A_Novel#RfC_about_the_author_credits_of_first_edition_in_first_sentence. Sagecandor (talk) 02:38, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

The main page talk template.

Its confuse (for newbies who go there expecting to be here). It would be more helpful if it followed this structure:

Welcome! This page is for discussing the contents of the main page. It isn't for general questions unrelated to the main page or for the addition of content to Wikipedia articles. For questions about using and contributing to Wikipedia

   To submit an article or redirect, please use the article wizard
   The Teahouse: to ask your first basic questions about contributing to Wikipedia
   The help desk: to ask technical questions about using Wikipedia (how to edit, images, categories etc.)
   The village pump: to ask questions about Wikipedia policies, guidelines or operations
   The reference desk: to ask questions about subjects other than Wikipedia (including topics covered in the articles contained therein)
   The administrators' noticeboard: to report a problem (vandalism, etc.)
   Question help: to find out more about where to ask questions or make comments on Wikipedia

To submit content to a main page section

   Main page errors: to report problems about current/upcoming main page content
   In the news candidates: to suggest an item for the In the news section
   Did you know suggestions: to propose an item for the Did you know section
   Selected anniversaries: to add an anniversary to the On this day section
   Today's featured article requests: to suggest a featured article for the Today's featured article section
   Today's featured list submissions: to propose a featured list for the Today's featured list section
   Featured picture candidates: Images appearing as Today's featured picture are selected roughly according to "the order in which they were" promoted to featured status
   Wikipedia languages: to propose a change to the list of Wikipedias in other languages
   Main page FAQ: to learn more about the main page

(Click here to report errors on the main page)

If you have a question related to the main page, please search the archives first to see if it's been answered before:

--Neurorebel (talk) 03:02, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

Gaming dead-links for SEO

Has this been brought to the attention of people?


Essentially what is being argued for here is to replace dead-links with your own page in order to drive traffic. I'm bringing this up following a discussion at WT:MED where a user was doing just that.

An especially troublesome quote:

Plus, you can often take a bit of a shortcut building this content and doing outreach. For dead links specifically, you can take the (now dead) URL, head over to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, and look to see what the linked-to resource used to look like. Build something better, then reach out to everyone else who linked to the old page.

I interpret this to be essentially advocating WP:CIRCULAR and potentially very damaging. Worth a heads up. Carl Fredrik talk 20:00, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

Ping MPS1992, PaleoNeonate, RexxS, Beetstra, WhatamIdoing, Adrian J. Hunter -- Carl Fredrik talk 20:02, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
This is seriously problematic, and I'm not even sure this venue is the correct one to raise the issue.
Check out the following from the update section:

EDIT 9/4/14 – GrowthAddict came out with a new tool called WikiGrabber, which can quickly find some of the dead link & citation needed opportunities. Be sure to check it out.

This is recent (Edit: or not, there are conflicting dates on that article — one from 2014, one from 2017???) and may help explain some issues we've seen over the past months. Site is
Carl Fredrik talk 20:09, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
@CFCF: For what it's worth, this has been going on for a long while but a reminder wouldn't hurt - just need to be cautious of users changing links (which realistically we normally pick up on rather quickly) -- There'sNoTime (to explain) 20:16, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
I agree that this is seriously problematic although I also accept that it may have been going on for a long time. I have the following rather vague ideas based on my own recent experience and report which prompted this thread:
I saw the very odd behavior involving replacing dead links with apparently top-level or higher-level links to some website -- as an editor largely unfamiliar with the topic I then visited the spammed website to try to work out whether the new link might be relevant -- the website looked to me like a possibly reliable source (apologies for my gulllibility in this respect, but that may not be unusual and in fact is perhaps key to the technique recommended by the spammers) -- I raised the issue on a relevant wikiproject talk page -- quite quickly the website was blacklisted -- the alleged spammer then became very upset across a number of venues.
My observation is that if people who write guides to spamming Wikipedia see the above process repeated, and perhaps even are made aware that the above sequence of events is the most common result of trying to spam Wikipedia in this way, then sensible writers of guides to spamming Wikipedia will stop recommending this technique, because having your website blacklisted is a much worse penalty than your website just not being used as a source or external link very much.
Therefore, perhaps what should be done is to make as many editors as possible aware of this method of fraudulently linking, and encourage them to report it to places -- like active wikiproject noticeboards -- where blacklisting action is likely to be taken. The slightly more unusual possibility is advertising more widely that fraudulent links to websites tend to get the websites involved blacklisted. MPS1992 (talk) 20:32, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
Obligatory link to Wikipedia:WikiProject Spam -- There'sNoTime (to explain) 20:35, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
@There'sNoTime: are you suggesting that we are already doing everything necessary, since such activities are already undertaken via that WikiProject? Or are you suggesting something else? Or just providing a wikilink -- perhaps implying that the WikiProject you have linked is failing to deter this sort of behavior? MPS1992 (talk) 23:13, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
@MPS1992: Apologies, I should have been clearer - I meant it in a "here's something interested editors may find helpful" sort of way. We're barely managing to keep these "SEO experts" in check, let alone being anywhere near doing everything necessary -- There'sNoTime (to explain) 08:04, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
Well, at least he encouraged people to "actually be helpful and improve Wikipedia instead of treating it like a graffiti board". And I'm willing to believe that some of the dead links being replaced were barely reliable at best, so we might end up no worse than before in those cases. I wish that he'd added a section to warn against stupid stuff, such as replacing links to the official website for a business with a link to your own business".
It might be useful to add information about this practice (but not necessarily a link to the SEO consultant's page) to the Template talk:Dead link page, as that's one place where people might look if they had a question about an edit. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:34, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the ping. We have WP:REFSPAM too which perhaps could be improved (adding some information about dead-link substitution and stressing that target sites are likely to get blacklisted if more than one editing account was involved). We also have WP:PROMOTION. We could ensure that common welcome messages like {{welcome}} and {{welcome ip}} include links to those (if they don't already). As for other means of public awareness I don't know. In some cases like for the "Burger King scandal" an open public letter was sent to the press. If someone wants to be ready for the next time a popular enough site gets blacklisted for dead-link refspam, it may be an opportunity for news to remind the public that Wikipedia is not for spamming... Smallbones? Face-smile.svgPaleoNeonate - 00:18, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the ping. I don't know where the open letter could be sent. Certainly not to the Shivar website - it would just be ignored. My feeling is that the general public has almost never heard of SEO and wouldn't get excited about it. Ad folks might just say "oh, we ought to try that." So I looked for an SEO organization with a code of ethics - of course there isn't one. I did find something under "SEO code of ethics" at "SEO for Dummies" (truth is stranger than fiction). About the only thing I can think of is to make clear at WP:PAID that SEO employees are paid editors and need to disclose. Smallbones(smalltalk) 01:42, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
WP:REFSPAM has been a problem for a long time, and SEO chatter about dead links has been discussed, but spammers are getting cheeky as they see it as their right to edit Wikipedia, just like everyone else. It's tricky—here is my recent revert at E-commerce. Of course the user just re-added the links. Another recent example is in these contribs—I had to write a polite note on their talk, and that takes time. Those resisting spam should know how to find links to a particular site in other articles—see LinkSearch and https (permalink). If the tool mentioned there does not suit, {{LinkSummaryLive}} may be helpful if used in a sandbox (just preview the edit). Johnuniq (talk) 00:41, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

Exploring how the Edit filter can be used to combat harassment


I’d like to invite you to participate in a discussion about how the Edit filter (also known as AbuseFilter) can potentially be used to combat harassment. The Anti-Harassment Tools team is looking into improving performance and adding functionality and we need your input to make our work successful.

Join the conversation at Wikipedia talk:Community health initiative on English Wikipedia#Exploring how the Edit filter can be used to combat harassment. I hope to see y’all there!

TBolliger (WMF) (talk) 23:17, 21 June 2017 (UTC) on behalf of the Anti-Harassment Tools team


Someone from Belgium tried to hack one of my on-line accounts that is associated with my Wikipedia username, a couple of days ago. The account is secure, but I thought it worth mentioning in case this is part of a bigger attack. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 19:27, 23 June 2017 (UTC).

I'm not saying you are wrong to be vigilant, but one of my accounts was attacked 215 times yesterday from every corner of the world, and that's only one of the many channels of attack used. reduced by automatic countermeasures and some quite large permanent blacklists which block entire troublesome nations. That's a fairly quiet day from my perspective; it would need to rise into the thousands before it surprised me. Murph9000 (talk) 19:40, 23 June 2017 (UTC)

Opinions on task forces? (Signpost request)


The Signpost is looking to publish an article on the state of task forces (or subprojects of other projects) and issues they face in 2017. Would anyone here be interested in giving us their thoughts/opinions, to be included in the piece? (It doesn't need to be long – just a paragraph or two will be fine, unless you want to write more.) If so, can you please leave a link to your submission at WP:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Submissions § The state of taskforces in 2017. Thank you, - Evad37 [talk] 03:04, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

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