Hello PiRSquared17, and welcome to Wikiversity! If you need help, feel free to visit my talk page, or contact us and ask questions. After you leave a comment on a talk page, remember to sign and date; it helps everyone follow the threads of the discussion. The signature icon in the edit window makes it simple. To get started, you may
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- Thanks for the welcome! PiRSquared17 01:57, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Hi PiR, I have corrected the redirect on your userpage. Hope you don't mind. Cheers, and welcome to Wikiversity. --Diego Grez 01:59, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
- Thanks for that! PiRSquared17 03:36, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
My userpage[edit source]
Thank you[edit source]
User:Augusto De Luca and 556 other pages with the same name[edit source]
Nice to see your question on wikt. Where global sysops were allowed to delete, the pages were deleted with no fuss. Where not allowed, tags were placed. Many of these tags are still sitting in place. Quite a few have been removed, for obvious reasons.
There are global policy issues raised by this sequence. First of all, it appears that five users have been globally locked without any discussion. A global lock seems totally appropriate for the user creating the user pages, but only to stop him, and it should have been done first thing, as soon as it was apparent that something questionable was going on. The user should have been warned, with communication on meta enabled (I think global locks allow users to still access their meta talk page, but I'm not completely certain about that).
What's happening here is that prohibition against self-promotion, which is a limited prohibition, some kinds of what might be considered "self-promotion" are allowed, is being interpreted to prohibit all self-promotion.
Further, there is no policy that I know of about mass-creating user pages. As is mentioned in the RFD, a steward created 800 pages very quickly. That was okay -- and, indeed, it was okay, there was nothing wrong with this. Now, we have SUL. Users are not told that they should restrict their user page creations in any way. They have no warning that if they exceed some unspecified rate of creation, they will be whacked for "spamming."
It's similar to the use of the spam blacklist to whack massive additions of content, cross-wiki. It's useful with spam. But what if the mass additions are not spam? I know a poster boy for this issue, it's lyrikline.org. Long story. The additions of links to lyrikline.org -- all of them were legitimate, the blacklisting administrator disagrees and pointed to one link that was debatable. I actually restored that link, later, it was fine! -- were reverted globally by antispam volunteers. Lyrikline.org is a prize-winning nonprofit web site, it's actually reliable source on poets. The problem? Well, the pace at which the links were being added. There isn't any actual policy on that, it's all seat-of-the-pants, ad hoc judgment. And the user adding them was connected with an IP that was the lyrikline office. But I don't think checkuser was run, and the user may or may not have been an employee of lyrikline. More likely, simply a volunteer. They certainly were not selling anything, they are a collaboration between the German government and universities.
Took over two years to get that delisted from the global blacklist. I became a very unpopular figure -- "wikilawyering" -- for requesting it and bringing it up occasionally. They absolutely do not like any sort of community supervision.
They -- and global sysops like you -- do a great deal of extremely valuable work, but ... do these technical volunteers own the projects? Or is this a *community* affair?
I'm not taking this to meta yet, I want to get all my ducks in a row. I think you are aware that there are those on meta who would block me in a flash if given the excuse.
But Wikiversity is the one wiki (or maybe set of wikis) where academic freedom is respected, where we can actually suggest to a "spammer" that they make some positive contributions. Real spammers never take us up on this, because they never look back. Once in a while we may get someone promoting their own web site, for example, who actually could make legitimate contributions. Augusto De Luca is an astonishingly good photographer. He seems to be able to convince a lot of notable Italians to let him photograph them. And he's been releasing a lot of images for free re-use. Instead of being grateful that he makes himself available with a user account, we globally lock him. Had he violated policy, had policy been followed and the global lock was necessary -- as something maintained -- okay, you gotta do what you gotta do. But policy was not followed, and users with no warnings, no history of disruption, and sometimes not even editing any more, are being globally locked. Allegedly "paid spammers." With no evidence of that, other than being SPAs interested in the photographer.
Had all this behavior happened on en.wikipedia, that would simply not be possible. But because it's cross-wiki, with little governing policy, it can happen quickly, and without on-wiki discussion.
Slowly, over the years, as people learn about this, because it happened to a friend of theirs, the community image of Wikipedia is being trashed. I talk to academics and many are disgusted by Wikipedia. Do we care? --Abd (discuss • contribs) 18:50, 28 March 2014
- To answer your question, locked users cannot even log into their accounts, let alone determine why they were locked and appeal it. This is a fatal flaw in the CentralAuth (well, it's by design) and GlobalBlocking extensions. It is only possible to block IPs (bugzilla:15294). There is almost surely no policy against mass-creating userpages. In fact, at least two stewards have run bots to do this for people on request. I also wrote a script people can use to do this. Nobody complained about that (in fact, some people liked it a lot). Hopefully it will be made obsolete by bugzilla:14759, m:Global-Wiki, or something else. I read your concerns about the spam blacklist on Meta (and the other site ). Was an attempt even made to communicate with Augusto or the other accounts? I agree we should not be locking accounts because they look like spammers, without even trying to contact them. It is a shame. He could have contributed a lot to Commons and other wikis (if it really is him). PiRSquared17 (discuss • contribs) 22:40, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
- I have seen no evidence that anyone made an attempt to contact the user. I've attempted to communicate on issues like this, on meta, and I'm generally treated as a hostile outsider. You can see the attitude in our RFD, from one steward. I don't want to make it more difficult for the antispam people, far from it. I want to make it easier. If safeguards are built into the system, locking could be done like blocking -- or like blocking should be -- it should actually be *easy* to block or lock, and then to undo it. The technical problems are actually easy to fix, even if the developers are covered with cobwebs. What it takes is intention, and that takes thought and that takes discussion and these people hate discussion, or at least too many do. Part of it is a language problem.
- We can fix this situation, I know how to do it, but if I do it on my own, I'm dead meat. That is the reality at meta. I've gotten locks reversed and web sites delisted from the blacklist, I know the policy and the practices.
- Personally, I'm taking it slow. I did act quickly here, because Wikiversity is a place where I know the general community consensus, and I can anticipate that, very likely, in spite of stewards popping in with opinions, this community will keep the page. I started a resource to study the work of this photographer. A real class led by the photographer is not impossible, but it might have to be on it.wikiversity. I really don't know what the photographer's intent was.
- You are correct to be cautious about assuming it was the photographer running the account. From what I've seen, though, the claim that the edits were done by bot doesn't seem to be founded in actual fact, it's based on certain assumptions, and I was appalled to see that "evidence" in the RfC. A global sysop doesn't know what is displayed in CA, assumed that the time there is the edit time. Definitely not. It's possible the photographer paid someone to make those edits for him. And I can see the immediate reaction to this: Paid Editing!!!! Horrors!!! Ban them!!!! But that's a shallow response. For a user editing their own user page, where a conflict of interest is blatantly clear, one could pay anyone to do it, it is not contrary to any policy. The ideas about paid editing have to do with an entirely different situation.
- A steward has also locked four other accounts, calling them "paid editors." (See User:Abd/Augusto De Luca. The only evidence is that they were single-purpose accounts interested in this photographer. One account created a boatload of articles on the photographer. But he didn't flood the wikis, and nearly everywhere, the articles stuck and others have edited them. Was he paid? We absolutely don't know that. They call this spam, but if the articles followed policy, it wasn't spam. SPAs are allowed to edit. Those four editors would have attracted no attention if not for the mass creation of user pages. And they played no role in that. It was merely that a steward looked for who had been editing the articles using the images, already with "Spam" in his mind.
- I've filed my share of global lock requests, and I've opposed them, sometimes successfully. I know the standards. Had a discussion been started on the Steward request page, say by me, for these four accounts, locks would have been denied out of hand as "stale." They have globally locked inactive accounts. One of them had only edited it.wikipedia. Not cross-wiki at all. Absolutely, that request would have been denied.
- There are no policy pages to guide global sysops and stewards, in these matters, that I've seen. There is no community that seriously watches for abuse; the few users who do it are commonly teetering on the edge of being blocked.
- We can fix this one matter, my opinion. (If we can't fix it, I'd say the community, then, is beyond repair. But I haven't concluded that.) The user pages are not that important. The user did not enable email, which would have made them highly useful. However, the major user who "promoted" the images does have email enabled, I will try to contact him. And then we may be able to get communication going. I have, in the past, managed to facilitate local acceptance of globally banned users, users who were under a lock. It simply takes consensus.
- Global locks are not global bans. But I've seen stewards who think they are. Now that there is a global ban policy, there is some protection.
- I want to make it clear that I think it was *proper* to lock the Augusto account, temporarily, until communication was established. (That does mean that I agree that Augusto was violating policy. Part of the problem is that there is no policy.)
- I'm worried that the global sysops and stewards who have acted here don't seem to realize that this wasn't ordinary, blatant spam. If they can't tell the difference between spam and self-promotion, they aren't steward or sysop material. It's crazy, that steward pointed to the Wikipedia user page guideline, seeming to think that it explained why the behavior was bad. Bu that guideline clearly allowed what this user did, as to a Wikipedia page.
- The *only* issue was creating so many of those accounts at once. We have a secret law, it is not documented, but it's enforced by antispammers. I've seen many get badly bitten by it, who obviously did not expect that what they were doing was any problem at all. They respond with perplexity. When I saw the response of Lyriker (the "lyrikline.org spammer"), it actually made me cry. He clearly didn't understand the problem, but he stopped when he was warned, and started to remove the links he'd added, and then gave up after not very long. I know how he felt. "But I was only trying to help!" They blocked him (on en.wiki and on one other, as I recall) and blacklisted the site anyway. An absolutely fantastic web site, truly wonderful, highly useful for Wikipedia, etc.. (He wasn't locked.) Spammers are Evil! In the struggle against Evil, sure, sometimes innocent people get hurt, but we can't let Evil win!
- I have not taken this to "that other site." That's because I'm in the middle of researching it, and the situation is very complex. Before I'd go to meta with what I find, though, I would probably comment there. That site is read by many high-level functionaries, and I'm respected there, generally, and so I'm not going to barge in like Don Quixote, alone against the evil windmills.
- I can't resist on more comment. "Wikipedia is not a battleground." But I assume you have seen the home page of WikiProject Spam. Do you know what happens when a battleship off the coast of some country fires all those guns? --Abd (discuss • contribs) 00:08, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
Global sysop help needed[edit source]
In documenting the sequence of events in the Augusto De Luca affair, it could be important to know the timings of events, particularly the timing of the original edits, and the tagging actions for files later deleted. On a subpage of User:Abd/Augusto De Luca, I am setting up lists of the user pages, and, where an ordinary user can access the information, whatever I can find. What I can't find will be indicated there, and a global sysop can jump to the pages involved, and would, I assume, be able to read file creation time, and other relevant times.
I don't yet know that this information is important, but am putting out a feeler to see if you might be willing to help, should it become important.
I'm amazed to see how many quickly jump to conclusions here. I think it comes from antispam burnout. I've been told by administrators that this happens to them, that they start to see spammers and COI editor underneath every appearance. Once one has a visceral response to spam, it will start to color everything, that's how the brain works. So, then, one pulls together a little evidence that makes something look a certain way, that confirms and rationalizes the emotional response, and doesn't bother to actually check it.
My training is in science, and the motto of my Cal Tech physics professor was "don't fool yourself, because you are the easiest person to fool."
I've spent over two full days documenting this stuff, and still consider my conclusions preliminary and incompletely substantiated.
I am assuming good faith on the part of the antispammers. However, I am also assuming good faith on the part of Augusto De Luca and the others.
I'm an old-school Wikipedian, basically. Banned on enwiki there quite precisely for that, for defending the community against involved administrators. Successfully. It turns out that taking administrators to ArbCom and being confirmed by ArbCom as to what I claimed is very hazardous to one's wikihealth. I was warned about this by a highly reputable and experienced user, that if I filed an RfC on an administrator, I'd be banned. She cosigned that RfC. I was banned, as a result of a sequence of events that began there. She wasn't. She had widespread support, I didn't. It's funny, they blamed me, not her. See, I was considered an "outsider." A "wikilawyer." A "troll," and other nice names.