UESPWiki:Archive/CP Anonymous Editing

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Semi Protection
This is an archive of past UESPWiki:Community Portal discussions. Do not edit the contents of this page, except for maintenance such as updating links.

I've done a search, but didn't find a discussion on the values/problems of anonymous editing before it was turned on. (Search revealed just the news item and an old discussion from the early days when Dave turned it off to as an anti-spam measure.) There's a lot of discussion about it in the preceding section (Curing Stupidity), but it's useful to have an appropriately titles section (like this) for people who just skim the watchlist, only checking out changes that look interesting (i.e., semi-active sysops like myself!) So, enough justification for a new section...

Personally, I would have preferred that anonymous editing be kept off. I feel pretty strongly that if someone wants to make an edit they can take the time to sign in and identify themselves to some degree. Accountability is a good thing.

Aside from that general argument, there's also the observation that most stupid edits are anonymous edits. So disabling anonymous edits would presumably reduce the number of garbage edits. However, Acteal made a good counteragument here in that the garbage editors will just create garbage accounts if anonymous editing doesn't exist. So, counter-intuitively allowing anonymous accounts actually makes it easier to identify garbage edits!

Good point, but I think that there are some options (with some pro and con discussion)...

  • Put in a delay time between acount creation and edit allowance. I.e., you have to to wait 1-7 days after creating the account before you're allowed to edit.
    • Con: Requires php coding? May not be worth it unless a software patch already exists. Or is there a system setting?
    • Con: Can be gamed by creating a bunch of new accounts, letting them mature and then using them later. Counter-argument: But it would at least filter out the short attention span folks. (I.e., only the dedicated garbage editors would do it.)
    • Con: Might deter out some useful editors who get into things with a very small start -- e.g., spellchecking, etc. Counter-argument: Okay... But the most useful folks would be the one who are around the site a lot. For them it wouldn't be much trouble to register for an account and then around a week.
  • Somehow flag new users. As mentioned above, the redline user name is one clue, but not totally reliable. Another one could be an activity/age flag by their name. (E.g., a flag for less than 50 edits and/or an account < 2 days old.)
    • Con: Again, probably would require php coding.
    • Pro: Has the advantage that it's a "soft block" rather than a "hard block". A hard block prevents the user from doing something, which is thus obviously something to be worked around. While a soft block allows them to do it, but flags the contribution as something to be watched by others.
    • Con: However, doesn't actually prevent garbage, just flags it better, which still leaves the work of removing it.
  • Simply close down/protect some pages and/or sandbox them. I.e., have a sandbox gripes page that gets wiped out every couple of days or so.

I'm not committed to any of these ideas yet, just bouncing some ideas around. But number one looks fairly good to me. In fact, I'm somewhat inclined to support a seven day wait. --Wrye 00:00, 24 October 2006 (EDT)

Followup: Aristeo describes above an editor ranking system, which I'm confused about. How much of that is supported in code? By clicking on Protection tab, I see a distinction between Anonymous, registered and administrators. I.e., three levels -- but Aristeo lists five levels. I'm particularly unclear about the 96 hour limit (is it that user isn't "registered" until 96 hours after being granted user name??) and by the distinction between paged and pageless editors (is there a code supported distinction here, or is Aristeo just saying that he trusts paged editors more?) --Wrye 02:26, 24 October 2006 (EDT)

Wrye, it was in fact Aristeo and not me that made the counterargument in response to my original argument. I still agree with you that anonymous editing would have been better left off, but I'm happy enough with Aristeo's counterarguments and the general consensus not to belabour that point.
However, I don't agree with a 7 day limit for the same reasons that Aristeo wants anonymous editing. The 7 day limit would completely block the positive once-off editors from fixing up small spelling, grammar and other typographical errors that they notice as they read, which highly active editors may have missed.
Ideally, I would like to see some sort of ranking system or alert appear on the Recent Changes list so that it is easy to identify the noob edits for checking and possible cleanup/wikification. --Actreal 07:45, 24 October 2006 (EDT)
Anyone who's active on the wiki should know who is new, who isn't as new, and who is a regular editor. A ranking system extension, although it might seem like a neat little feature and may be dandy to have on forums, would create an unwelcoming hierarchy among editors. It would destroy fair consensus and would make edit count desirable instead of edit quality. The rating system that I described is just a visual reference that allows people who monitor the recent changes (me) to discriminate against those most likely to make stupid edits among those least likely to make stupid edits. For example, I would more closely monitor the edits of 123.12.23.10 than I would Nephele or Hoggwild5, simply because I trust them and I know they aren't going to be trashing the wiki.
Anonymous editing was enabled to allow people who monitor the recent changes (me, again) to enhance the discrimination process detailed above. Also, if someone finds a typo, they should not be forced to create a one time "f99234wjf092" account just to do so, as it inconveniences them and it inconveniences us when our user list is crapped up. I do think new limits need to be programmed into the wiki that give the anonymous editors less privileges – here are some of my ideas below:
  • Anonymous editors should not be allowed to create new pages.
  • Newly registered users should not be allowed to edit semi-protected pages for 96 hours.
Those two were taken from Wikipedia's limitations, which I think will work well with our project. (My view on this is a tad different then yours, Wrye, so this should become an interesting conversation. ;) Anyway, thanks for reading, and your all welcome to give your suggestions. --Aristeo | Talk 17:12, 24 October 2006 (EDT)
I like the two new limits suggested by Aristeo above and would like to see them implemented ASAP. It should reduce the number of namespace errors and totally out-of-style edits on pages like Oblivion:Glitches. --Actreal 22:25, 24 October 2006 (EDT)
I'm going to reverse course and support the current system. Having spent some more time looking over recent changes, filtering for anon users and figuring out the protection levels, it seems workable. One of my main objections was too little accountability, but in fact that seems to auto-resolve since committed editors do register. In addition, I'm not having a problem with anonymous edits in the areas that I (semi) actively watch, and if Aristeo, who does a lot more patrolling, finds it more useful than damaging, I don't have a practical argument against it.
The allowance of anonymous edits also reduces the need for any additional editor ranking system. And there definitely are problems with a simple count based system -- one of the main problems being the tendency to 'game' it by posting tons of useless little posts (witness ES Forums) -- which only increases the amount of garbage on the system.
Perhaps it would be useful to have a small indicator of extreme newbishness for users that would show up on the recent changes page. E.g., up to their 50th edit a noob icon shows up, but nothing else, and no restrictions are correlated to it. Not only would such a flag be useful for identifying changes to watch more closely, it also gives us a chance to cut them a little extra slack, welcome them to UESP, and point them at relevant help pages, if necessary. But after the 50th post is reached, the icon disappears and no further indication of post count is given.
So again, I now support the current system. I wish there had been a little more discussion ahead of time (with a clear title), but :shrug:. --Wrye 19:23, 24 October 2006 (EDT)
I just did some research, and both of the restrictions that Aristeo suggested for anonymous editors and new accounts could easily be implemented using wiki settings (for details, see User talk:Aristeo#Account restrictions). I personally would be in favour of implementing these changes. It seems like a painless way to make Aristeo's tiers a reality, limit the ability of anonymous and new users to make unproductive changes, but still allow anonymous editors to help with fixing typos or making suggestions. --Nephele 16:51, 31 October 2006 (EST)
Before making these changes, does everyone support them? If so, we can forward them to DaveH. --Aristeo | Talk 12:19, 1 November 2006 (EST)
Yeah, this was one of those everyone agrees in the IRC room, so it must have full consensus with the community scenarios. Part of the problem was my eagerness to allow anonymous editing for the reasons I described, and I'm sorry about that. I guess the lesson learned here is to talk about major changes to things on the community portal (or one of the more focused message boards) before making them -- regardless of the agreement-level of the IRC cabal. --Aristeo | Talk 12:19, 1 November 2006 (EST)
I'm glad the decision was made to allow anonymous edits. I'm one of those described above who fixes small typos while reading articles. Occasionally I'll do something more ambitious. (e.g, on Wikipedia; I'm still new to this site.) Bottom lines for me are:
(1) Creating, and then logging into an account are obstacles, and to make a minor correction, I am not going to bother signing in. (There must be a million other people who feel the same way.)
(2) The wiki philosophy is one of openness and is based on the concept of collective effort; these are directly attacked by onerous registration and login rituals.
BTW, this is a great site. Lots of great content. 66.188.6.131 23:43, 4 December 2006 (EST)

Subpaged from Community Portal. --Wrye 22:20, 19 December 2006 (EST)