How to be a Wikimedia sysop/Wikiversity/Deletion

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Wikiversity is quite different from the other WMF wikis, which are more focused on "single outcomes," i.e., the goal of Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, which has a single article on each topic (though the topic may become narrow). Wikiversity is a cross between a university itself (courses, students, teachers, and what they do) and a university library (collection of written and other resources). Hence Wikiversity is naturally far more "inclusionist" than the other wikis, generally. We may have pages with personal opinions, fringe ideas, original research, etc. We do have a neutrality requirement, which means that, ultimately, fringe ideas should not be given prominence beyond their position in the full educated world, but that has to do with placement and framing, not with the very existence of the material.

A Wikiversity custodian will come across all kinds of odd material, material that is more properly an encyclopedia article, that is poorly written, that is personal in nature, i.e., "private ruminations." It's easy to just delete such material, but if you have ever worked on a page and seen it deleted, you will understand how disconcerting this can be. Custodians are charged with the task of balancing benefit to the community and the wiki and the user base, with benefit and education and service to individual users. We often have many options available that allow us to serve both goals and keep order at the same time.

  • Even nonsense pages might be userfied, i.e., moved to the user space of the user. A nonsense page that is pure vandalism should be deleted, but be careful: what looks like vandalism to you might be a labor of love for a 7-year-old user, and, yes, we have had such, and with some love and care, they may become full-blown students and eventually regular content creators. But a nonsense page does not belong in mainspace. If the creator has created an account, they can be moved to the user's user space. Redirect would normally be suppressed, but the user should be informed, if you have time. Invite them, don't blame them. Let them know that they are welcome to write a new w:Jabberwocky in their user space. For pages created by IP users, see Wikiversity:Playspace. You may create your own playspace, if you are willing to monitor the pages placed there. If it's your playspace, you can call it anything you want (some have thought that "play" was a negative term, and education is Seriuz Bizness).
  • Something inappropriate in the top level of mainspace might have a place as a subpage. Student exercises, which are often a form of original research, can exist as subpages of a course or seminar. Essays can be there. Ordinary editors can handle this, it doesn't require custodial tools.
  • Check for speedy deletion templates. If you agree with the deletion request, you may delete. However, if you think that it might possibly be controversial, generally, you should not delete. You should remove the tag and request deletion on Wikiversity:Requests for deletion. Give your reasons for deletion, do not present this as a deletion request from someone else, though you might link to a prior speedy request. You will be the responsible nominator. If you disagree with the deletion, you may remove the tag. Be sure to give a reason with the edit. Do we have a template to notify deletion requestors of procedure? I.e., that they may formally request deletion on the RfD page?
  • Linkspam. One person's linkspam is another's useful links. Sometimes linkspam is really obvious, an account is created, immediately places the links, and they are to, say, a term paper site offering to write your term paper for you for a fee. These edits can be rolled back, and, if the editor repeats them, the editor may be blocked. Generally, on Wikiversity, you should not shut down Talk page access, except for very good cause. Necessity, really. A spammer might also become a useful contributor! Usually, spammers won't even be looking at that user talk page. It's the exception that we are considering here. A site owner may well be an expert in an involved subject. If the site owner can be engaged, instead of just blocked and rejected for spamming, they might help create resources on their favorite topic, and then they might even be able to place -- or suggest -- a link to their site! If the site has been globally blacklisted, which often happens with sincere enthusiasts who place links all over the WMF, we can whitelist it locally, and this will provide a return path for these people. So encourage people with a Conflict of Interest to disclose it. We will expect these people to cooperate, not to demand or dominate with revert warring, sock puppetry, etc. Open the door to cooperation while closing the door to pure spam. In a recent case, a user placed a series of "useful links" on her user page. These were really, almost certainly, linkspam. However, the user page wasn't deleted, rather the links were deleted and the user was gently informed. She may never show up again, but ... it was really about as easy as deletion of that page, and is far more welcoming.
  • Repeated linkspam. Use the MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist to block obvious spamlinks. Do not use the blacklist for "content control," only for spam. Get help if you don't understand how to use the spam blacklist, it can cause collateral damage. There might be individual pages whitelisted even if an overall site is blacklisted here or on the global blacklist.
  • Wikiversity is a mess. And Wikiversity represents vast possibilities. We can clean up the mess, one page at a time, while enhancing the possibilities. Large communities in the United States used to always have junkyards and shops which sold used material. Something was lost when these places closed down. Let's get mainspace in order -- it's a huge job and we will need to recruit many to accomplish it -- while welcoming everyone, to the maximum extent possible.