User talk:Abd/Wikipedia/List of self-reverted edits

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The purpose of this page[edit]

This is a page to use to discuss examples of self-reversion. Having concluded that working within the rules and community responses at Wikipedia wasn't working, that my careful respect for the guidelines and policies was not being recognized by the community, whereas blatant abuse attacking me (and others) had been ignored or tolerated, I decided to take a different approach, and work "outside the law."

I had been blocked for two weeks for edits of a kind that had been accepted until a certain admin became aware of them, an admin who had previously been involved in tightening interpretations of bans, with enforcement unexpected by me.

My new plan involved defying the block, but making only positive contributions, neglecting, as to policy, only the current block and ban violation and evasion. Initially, all edits were acknowledged as block and ban violations, and were, hence, self-reverted. (Or were themselves reversions of prior edits that had been defined, anew, as ban violations.) However, as it became apparent that block/ban enforcement would not respect self-reversion, (as expected, but I waited for proof), some level of semi-clandestine or clandestine activity has been allowed. None of this is activity that damages the project. For examples, see contributions for Abd sock]. This was an old, acknowledged sock, used for testing purposes before. As it did not have 10 edits, I made those edits, and self-reverting them could have defeated the purpose, to establish an autoconfirmed account that could, when needed, bypass page protection. However, the name of the account made it really, really obvious who it was. This account was then used to make a correction on an RfAr page, which was self-reverted per block, and to add information to the Abd user page. The latter was not self-reverted, I'd hesitated and block enforcement has been swift. I wish admins would be so efficient with other problems!

(One of the things that is made very apparent here is how swift ban enforcement is, where admins know where to look for violations. It means that they are watching, but what is also visible is that, with self-reversion, there is a ready opportunity to review the edits, and there should be no rush, after all, the content has been removed! So, in the block of User:Abd sock, the blatant error that Abd sock had just corrected, revealing his identity, was ignored by the blocking admin. Why? It was very simple to verify. The demonstration: a lack of care about content, in this case, a lost RfAr/Admendment, deleted as being archived, that never made it to the archive destination, a clerical error. What is important, obviously, is enforcing his own block. Were there a history of bad self-reverted edits, that ignorance would be justified. There wasn't and won't be.)

(This is enshrined in guidelines: RBI as a response to socking requires that the edits of a blocked/banned editor be "ignored." If they are actually accepted, then it would "encourage" the editor. Sure. It would encourage the editor to continue making good edits. Uh, isn't that the goal of all the policies and guidelines?)

The plan for self-reversion would be that self-reversion, if accepted, would lead, through a policy exception, to no need to enforce, unless the edits were so egregious that they required revision deletion. In fact, contrary to policy, a pair of my edits was revision-deleted solely on the basis that they were ban violation. But if no ban enforcement actions had been taken, at all, there would have been no need for the revision deletion, i.e., no offensive content would have been left in place, even if it had been offensive in itself, which it was not.

The admin making the revision deletion is trying to prevent the community from seeing and reviewing the edits, that's obvious. There is no other reasonable explanation (beyond ignorance of the policy on RevDel and a belief that bans must be enforced, no matter what).

The most common responses to self-reverted edits, by the communities involved, has been to accept them and consider the content, or to ignore them. That is, they are harmless or better. All except for ban enforcement, which is a waste of administrative time in this case. That's why I attempted, in 2009, to establish policy that self-reverted edits would not be considered ban violations (unless egregiously offensive, under the same rules as for revision deletion).

So far, this action research has been effective in clearly demonstrating that ban enforcement takes precedence, for whatever segment of the Wikipedia administrative community that is exercised, over improvement or maintenance of content, and that, therefore, since the right of the community to ban is being respected (or else why bother with self-reversion?, self-reversion should be tolerated and should normally avoid sanctions. This has been shown by prior experiments with self-reversion, also documented (partially, so far) on the attached user page.

It may take time to establish a sufficient body of evidence to obtain consensus on this. Other banned editors are invited to participate in this experiment, providing a broader sample. --Abd 15:16, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Suggested guidelines for self-reversion under ban[edit]

  • Use this only to make contributions that are either clearly positive, or at least clearly harmless when self-reverted.
  • It's suggested to keep edits relatively simple. Complex edits are less likely to be reviewed, and the goal here is to make contributions that are ultimately accepted. Otherwise you may be wasting your time and that of those who might review the edits.
  • Avoid repeating the edits, with an edit that seems to have been overlooked, some repetition might be allowed. Self-reversion complicates page history, so it's better to wait a good time, such as a month. Solicit review instead.
  • Carefully follow policies and guidelines in the edits themselves. Do not use self-reversion for any kind of personal attack or attempt to humiliate other editors.
  • Use preview strictly and thoroughly, because repeated editing to correct minor errors will complicate the history and irritate other editors. If you do make a major mistake, though, correct it and again self-revert. This should be avoided: be careful. (Self-reverted edits don't have to be perfect, though. Errors can be corrected later. It's a wiki. Only call attention to serious errors, my suggestion.)
  • Self-reversion can demonstrate self-control and an ability to make cooperative suggestions. The goal is to make it easy for other editors to cooperate with you, by reviewing and bringing your edits back in.
  • Identify yourself with self-reverted edits, and self-revert "per block" or "per ban" of your user name.
  • If possible, document all self-reverted edits, and ultimately with what happened to them.
  • If your self-reverted edits are generally ignored, consider taking up some other hobby!
  • But you can solicit review. Off-wiki solicitation by email or, say, on Wikipedia Review, is fine, or limited suggestion on user talk pages. Don't, however, set up a sock account to review your own edits. This will be a red flag that will attract enforcement, and sock investigations waste a lot of admin time, and will waste the time of neutral editors. Be careful of making long comments, and rigorously avoid harassment.
  • Let Abd know about your self-reverted edits, so that your experience can be documented.
  • On some of the WMF wikis, self-reversion may be respected. It will not currently be respected on Wikipedia, until and unless it's demonstrated, clearly, to be useful. That will take time. Be patient.
  • You can watch the attached user page to see how the community is responding to self-reversion, with other editors.
  • Other users interested in this may wish to review self-reverted edits to determine acceptability. While sometimes restoration of a self-reverted edit has raised objection, none of that has been sustained or has resulted in sanctions. Policy allows leaving in place the edits of banned users, contrary to what is sometimes claimed, there is no necessity of removal, per se, and restoring them is equivalent, except that by restoration, you are taking responsibility for the edit being useful in some way. You may restore with comment or changes (that's often done), and if a restored edit is removed, an acceptable response has been to replace the comment, on a Talk page, with a reference to history, and then comment upon the edit, arguing or referring to what is relevant.
  • Good luck. --Abd 15:16, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Blocking/Tagging of w:User:Abd sock[edit]

This was expected, but there is a point demonstrated here. I've been an admin and involved in ban enforcement, and when I see an IP or sock, I check the contributions, and any editor handling this would be likely to do that. The last contribution of Abd sock, the one likely to arouse attention first, was a self-reverted edit (the only self-reverted edit the account made). It would take strong restraint not to look at it. But... these admins don't care about content, they care about block enforcement, their power, which they do not want subverted, even in a harmless way. This was fixing a blatant archiving error, where an RfAr/Amendments request was deleted instead of being properly archived. Easy to verify, the diff was given to show the deletion for archiving, and simple to see that the content -- from many editors, deletion would never be allowed -- never showed up where it would be archived. --Abd 16:27, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

This has got to grate on them, because the error will eventually be fixed or Wikipedia is more down-the-tubes than I thought. I'll call attention to it first to the editor who did the deletion, I'm pretty sure it was unintentional. If it wasn't intentional, he'll fix it and I'll be done. If he doesn't fix it, then I'll raise attention elsewhere. Just a little bit of escalation at a time. It's already up on Wikipedia Review, but sometimes stuff there isn't read, especially mine. --Abd 16:32, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Random Questions[edit]

Any idea who Panichappy1 is? His first global contribution to the wikimedia sites seems to be in your archive attempt. Thenub314 03:15, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

You noticed. No, I have no idea. It's probably a throwaway sock, because no serious sock would be wasted on an edit like that, where it's going to be examined closely by jaundiced eyes. Did you notice that I took the Panichappy signature out? See, this is how self-reversion works. Enric Naval popped in and finally fixed it. He is largely responsible for my old cold fusion topic ban! Yet, here, he takes my suggestion and implements it. He only saw that because he's interested in what I do, partly to make sure I don't make trouble. Self-reversion turns ban enforcement into positive content changes. It's not mysterious. If I fed him garbage, he'd learn to ignore it! I'd be shooting myself in the foot. Self-reversion creates cooperation where there was opposition, when it's understood, and it is naturally understood. Nobody had to teach Enric Naval to do what he did. (And he accepted an edit at Cold fusion, as well.) Thanks for asking. --Abd 04:16, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I might not continue self-reversion in the same way, because, I discovered today, they set an edit filter that prevents any IP editor from using "Abd" in the edit summary. In any case, these pages are not being used to plan what I do, but only to document it, after the fact. I will, later, write guidelines for editors who are facing a ban and want to handle it with minimum disruption, and these will dovetail with proposed policy changes. Hopefully, as a result of all this, self-reversion will be recognized. I know it looks grim at the moment, but it looked like that before ... and the end was positive. --Abd 04:20, 8 May 2011 (UTC)


Overall goal: establish a policy here or on any WMF wiki that self-reverted edits, unless intrinsically disruptive even if reverted, would not be considered block or ban violations. The purpose of this is to allow a path to reconciliation of banned users with communities, through establishing a history of positive contributions, acknowledged as such by the acceptance of at least some of these self-reverted edits. "revert per ban of Abd," as an example, demonstrates cooperation with a ban, not "defiance." It represents a user making it unnecessary to enforce the ban (with blocks and range blocks) if the user does this consistently when making edits that would otherwise be ban violations. (For this purpose, a block is considered a site ban.)

The problem with a strict, inflexible topic ban -- or site ban -- is that it does not allow a user to establish a record of cooperation. It's like the spam blacklist, when actually useful sites are blacklisted, sometimes because of massive additions of links, some of which might be appropriate: all the links are deleted and the site blacklisted on an assumption that it's all spam, and it's said that users may request whitelisting, but whitelisting requests sometimes sit for months and the editor isn't even aware if it's granted or denied. And when delisting is requested, often the reason given for denying that is "it was spammed," -- i.e., two years ago! -- and "there is no sign that spamming will not recur." There is no testing.

Bans also encourage sock puppetry, if over-strict and perceived as unjust by the user. Self-reversion was designed to allow positive contributions, while being self-enforcing of the ban, thus being a middle ground that does not totally exclude but that rewards good edits and ignores bad ones. However, the fixed thinking that "Editor SoAndSo is incapable of collaboration" and therefore that this editor should be entirely excluded, and especially when this is done without true consideration of all the issues, but is simply decided by a single administrator without careful review, leads to self-fulfilling bans. They can create undesirable behavior, and the Scibaby affair on Wikipedia clearly shows this. Last time I looked, over 500 socks and counting. A huge waste of time, that might have been avoided with some collaboration with Scibaby, instead of abrupt original exclusion based, in fact, on his POV. Perhaps short blocks if necessary, escalating only as needed, and then self-reversion, suggested as a way for the user to cooperatively edit, in a problem area, might have avoided this entire mess.

Self-reversion is not for editors who are incapable of collaborating, they simply won't do it, and that was demonstrated in the first case where self-reversion was proposed. Ultimately, that story will be told, but at the moment, it would be too much about one editor (though he's now completely banned on WP) to tell it here. I'm documenting cases where self-reversion worked to show collaboration, and, so far, my own case shows this. That is, I'm being intensively blocked and an edit filter was even set up on my user name (so I can't write, in an edit summary, "self-revert per ban of Abd," because any appearance of "Abd" as a separate word in the edit summary by an IP is rejected by the edit filter and it's logged and visible. I'm learning a lot!)

However, the actual self-reverted edits are mostly being accepted, or they are harmlessly ignored. In other words, there are edits that are shown, by consensus, to be improvements in content, and others wherein there was no judgment, and no fuss -- except for blocks being issued based on them, or page protection to stop them, or RevDel to hide them (why?), or an Edit filter set up, and if that's wasting an admin's time, I'd suggest that blocking editors for making good edits, when they were self-reverted, is a voluntary waste of time, it's certainly not necessary for the protection of the wiki, and that's what the history here is showing, so far.

Sanctions for "block evasion" when the edits were self-reverted, and not egregious (i.e., meriting what RevDel policy allows for deletion), is punishing cooperation. Bad Idea, my opinion, and if this history is clearly turned into a report, as is eventually intended, that report might be used to change policy, toward what was first proposed on Wikipedia two years ago, which at first seemed acceptable, but which was later rejected based on highly political opinion expressed, it was very personal, in a small, mostly unnoticed discussion.

Whether or not Wikipedia ever listens to this is not necessary for my goals. This is on Wikiversity because I'd like Wikiversity to consider, once the evidence is in and can be coherently and concisely analyzed, incorporating self-reversion into blocking policy. There are a small handful of blocked editors for whom this might be appropriate, as a way of re-integrating them into the community. We should base policy on actual study, something which is only rarely done. Mostly it's just a handful of editors with opinions, often based on undocumented experience, sometimes just based on speculation. We can do better. --Abd 18:57, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

RfD on this page closed as Keep[edit]

[1]. If anyone sees material on the user page which violates Wikiversity or WMF policy, please remove it. Or discuss problems on this page. Please do not otherwise modify the user page except to correct clear errors, discuss everything else here. --Abd 17:24, 28 July 2011 (UTC)