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Require registration to editEdit

There is no consensus to implement this proposal.—CYBERPOWER (Chat) 21:21, 29 November 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I believe that at this time and age, Wikipedia should require that all those who wish to edit or add to our project should be registered users. It is easy for an unregistered user to vandalize an article which many of us have gone through a lot of trouble to write, then immediately make a copy as if that is what was truly written, thereby dis-crediting our project and adding to the reality that ours is an unreliable encyclopedia. The fact is that the majority of the vandalism is caused by un-registered users who have nothing better to do with their lives. If Wikipedia wants to keep it's good and honest contributors who love to share their knowledge with the world in general and wants to gain some sense of being a reliable encyclopedia, then it must do something to protect it's contributors and the articles which they have written from the constant vandalism going on, otherwise what's the use of staying here? Tony the Marine (talk) 05:50, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Um, is this a proposal? Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 08:11, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. A Wikipedia:Perennial proposal (with which I agree). Xxanthippe (talk) 08:43, 14 October 2019 (UTC).
  • I feel that this is where we're eventually heading. I'm personally neutral on it, although the WMF might block it if passed like they did here and some other times. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 17:52, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
    • Things have changed a lot since 2011. Personally, I doubt the WMF would block it if it were passed today. Kaldari (talk) 20:24, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Given m:IP Editing: Privacy Enhancement and Abuse Mitigation things might have changed substantially enough to allow another discussion. I support. --Rschen7754 18:16, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - It's time to face reality.--WaltCip (talk) 20:18, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. Not requiring registered accounts allows people to more easily make pests of themselves. Having said that, I will note that there are other facets to this discussion. One such facet I will call the problem of "regulars". You know—the good ol' boys club. It's one thing to be collegial, it is another thing to be cliquish. Many people vote together. I'm not entirely immune to that. Unregistered accounts do this less. They are not only free of a personal identity but they are less likely to form alliances. No, I have no proof for this. Bus stop (talk) 20:49, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
    Many editors tend to think the same way. That doesn't mean they "vote together", and they would still think the same way if they were unregistered. It would be harder to imagine that they were "voting together", however, since it's harder to remember IP addresses (and IP addresses often change with some frequency anyway). ―Mandruss  04:13, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    It is definitely much harder to remember IP addresses. And IP addresses change. Ultimately I'm opposed to unregistered accounts. I found myself arguing with someone with an IP address, and an IP address that kept changing just in the span of that argument. That's when I decided that I oppose unregistered accounts. But at other times it has occurred to me that unregistered accounts are like fresh air. They tend to have less history and consequently their perspectives have the potential of being new and unencumbered. Bus stop (talk) 04:43, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • I'll give a moral support with mixed feelings because I see many very useful IP edits and lots of us, including me, started editing as IPs and might not have started if registration had been required. What is tipping me to support is the fact that I monitor some error-tracking categories and I usually see 20 or 30 articles per week where an IP with very few other edits has made arbitrary changes to birth dates, or other dates. I only see articles where the IP has accidentally broken the date (recent example) so there are many more changes. Recent changes that trigger the possible birth date change tag are listed here. Johnuniq (talk) 21:11, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong support. I won't bother composing the strong case for this. It has already been written numerous times (and probably others could provide one or more links to it). The main question is whether WMF cares about a community consensus on this issue. Userbox. ―Mandruss  21:26, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. Yeah, the proposal linked by Rschen7754 is nonsense but it's not clear to me how forcing registration would solve the issue. More importantly though the support case here is just as evidence-free as all other proposals to restrict editing to registered accounts made so far; besides, so as long as we are attached to Wikimedia we are supposed to Founding principles which do not permit a total ban on IP editing. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 21:38, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
    These principles may evolve or be refined over time... - It appears that whoever wrote that was wise enough to allow that things might change in ways that justified revision to the founding principles. ―Mandruss  21:44, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
    Maybe, but this wouldn't be the right place to ask. More substantively, given that "leave an open door and deal with problems as they come" philosophy is what allowed Wikipedia to achieve its current status, this does not seem to be a good part to change. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 21:55, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
    @Jo-Jo Eumerus: Maybe, but this wouldn't be the right place to ask. So you're saying that this is wrong venue and no consensus here can stand even a chance of getting that item removed from the founding principles? Then why haven't you moved to close on procedural grounds? ―Mandruss  22:02, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
    My concern is not mainly the procedural one and arguing procedural points tends to drive discussions off-course. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 07:14, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose, but would support if this ever came to fruition. -- Rockstonetalk to me! 21:48, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

*Support - This worked back in 2003 when the internet was barely ever used and vandalism wasn't a thing ..... It really is about time the project was made in to a mandatory-registration site. –Davey2010Talk 22:05, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

  • Even more significant, that was when we had just started building the encyclopedia and needed an enormous work force to do it. Sixteen years and 5 million articles later, we can do fairly well without the editors who decline to create a completely anonymous account simply because they have an aversion to registration of any kind (or, dare I say it, because they want to avoid the accountability that comes with a persistent and stable identity). ―Mandruss  22:17, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
    How exactly is a completely anonymous account related to a persistent and stable identity? Looking through my last 100 blocks I see there are more throwaway sockpuppet accounts than IP addresses. Registration is overrated. Just ask the Twitter Bots. -- zzuuzz (talk) 22:44, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
    I think there is a difference in character between the individual who doesn't want accountability and avoids it in a manner fully legitimized by the site, and the individual who is prepared to sock to avoid it. RegReq won't suddenly transform a large number of the former into the latter, in my view. ―Mandruss  23:13, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
    2003 when the internet was barely ever used and vandalism wasn't a thing You and I have very different memories of 2003. ~ Amory (utc) 01:49, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    • Amorymeltzer - I don't think I started using the internet at home not until something like 2004-2005 so I assumed everyone else was the same lol, Certainly didn't the internet in '03 and certainly didn't know EN existed lol. –Davey2010Talk 14:02, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
      Perhaps if IPs were served their Wiki connection as if down a 9600 baud modem the vandalism might drop   Cabayi (talk) 07:18, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per zzuuzz - Admittedly I have mixed feelings on it however it is indeed true socking is an issue here although not all socks are vandals, Mandatory registration wouldn't stop the vandalism and so in that respect maybe something needs to be done about both not just one or the other ..... or maybe I'm over-thinking this!. –Davey2010Talk 14:09, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    • Support - Vandalism will go down. BigDwiki (talk) 01:17, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment/Question about logistics - As said above I'm neutral to this whole thing (but would support if that whole IP-masking shenanigans comes true, though thankfully it doesn't seem to have much traction), but if this does pass and the WMF doesn't block it, would the "Edit" tab for any given article redirect any non-logged in user to Special:CreateAccount with an editnotice about mandatory registration? Would this depend on the level of page protection? Thinking about it some more this would have the positive side effect of reminding users when they are logged out and forget to log (back) in, although that in of itself is not a reason to adopt this proposal. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 22:20, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. requiring an account to edit. "You can edit now" is a founding principle and the key mechaism for turning readers into editors. However, some of the problems would be ameliorated by auto-welcoming, whether on the first, fourth or tenth edit. Also, to assist registration, given the difficulty of finding a good username, a pronounceable username should be suggested.
Weak oppose unless a way is found to make “edit right now” remain true. Maybe some kind of auto-registration. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:47, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
Support requiring an account to create new pages, and requiring an email address to authenticate. Throwaway alternative accounts performing subtle vandalism and promotinal content creation are a far more serious threat to Wikipedia than silly kids making silly test edits. The need for an email address is a small measure to curb mass alt. account creations. A mobile telephone for authentication may be a good idea. Without revealing private information, account creators should be auto prompted to explain multiple accounts linked to the same IP, email address, or telephone number, not for actual scrutny, but to apply discouragement for creating many unlinked account. For people with accessiblity or access problems, there is Wikipedia:Request an account, although that process's 6 month backlog soounds pretty bad. It does however have good suggestions for overcoming most problem.
IPs can still get help to create an article, via Wikipedia:Requested articles, for example. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:51, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
SmokeyJoe, users have been required to have an account to creat new articles for years, and since ACREQ they also need to be Autoconfirmed. IPs can create pages easily enough as drafts and submit them through AfC. Authentication per mobile phone is a good idea but may not go down too well in developing countries (although I live with two of the word's poorest countries just over the border and everyone there seems to have a mobile phone) or areas that are not well served by cell masts - and there are still a lot of those areas (deserts, mountains, low population) even in fully developed economies. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 22:22, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
Kudpung กุดผึ้ง, require an account to create any page, not just articles. My little bit of knowledge of third world countries is that everyone with access to the internet has access to someone with a mobile telephone. Everyone with access to the internet has access to email. It should not be easier to create a Wikipedia editing account than to create an email address. Allow reader accounts to register without any authentication. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:13, 26 October 2019 (UTC)
SmokeyJoe - well I have the advantage that I have a lot to do in various developing economies, but I have noticed that a huge number of the poorest people in them even in the rice fields of Laos and Cambodia somehow have mobile phones if not the $50 smart devices we have (and which everyone over 8 here in Thailand) has. I was just concerned that you might not have been aware that we have restrictions for creating articles in mainspace for some time now. However, I don't hink anyone should need to register an account to read the encyclopedia. I think it should be just as easy, or even easier, to create a Wikipedia account than set up an email. In fact our current registration system is very simple and should not be putting anyone off. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:21, 26 October 2019 (UTC)
Kudpung กุดผึ้ง, I think you have reminded me at least five times of autoconfirmed now being required to create a mainspace page. I thought I was one of the noisy proponents that led to it being implemented.🙂
Yes, the poorest people in the world have mobile phones, or access to a family mobile phone, or a community mobile phone. I am aware of this for some of the poorest in India and Africa. They have easier access to a phone than to a computer to edit Wikipedia. You can’t just call these people, but they can arrange to call you, or receive a call by appointment, or receive a code. For the most isolated people without phones, such as in parts of Indonesia, no phone, but certainly no Wikipedia. In China, mobile phone numbers are de facto human IDs. Note that wechat, whatsapp, Facebook, all uniquify your identity by telephone number (just see what happens when a child tries to register an account using their mothers telephone number).
I think that in some ways registering is difficult, it is difficult to find a username you like, but apart from that it is mostly too easily to make a fresh account for every topic your want to do PAID writing for. It is slightly difficult to make a myriad of different email addresses, but it is much more difficult to use a myriad of different telephone numbers. We wouldn’t require a unique telephone number, but if checkusers had access to accounts all registered with the same telephone number, that might be useful in fighting throwaway accounts. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:42, 26 October 2019 (UTC)
    • Stirring stuff, but who is monitoring the many IPs who delight in making arbitrary changes to numbers and dates (see my comment at 21:11, 14 October 2019)? Inserted junk can be handled months after the event because it's easily recognized but I suspect that articles are being eroded in a way that will not realistically be cleaned up. You are right that anyone can edit was a founding principle, but its time has passed. Johnuniq (talk) 23:09, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
      • I don't disagree with your "moral support" for requiring registration for editing. If that were to happen, I think registration should be made much easier. If IP vandalism is both serious and takes months to repair, that would mean that the active editor count per article has fallen below a threshold, and it marks the senescence of Wikipedia as we new it. I suspect that this is the case. I think the answer is to decease the ease with which new people can create new pages, but to not decrease the ease with which readers can fix things immediately. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:29, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
If the active editor count per article has fallen and Wikipedia is truly past its peak in terms of membership, then you can't assume that the ease in which IP vandalism occurs wasn't a contributing factor. I spend more time repairing than I do contributing (way more), and it's discouraging. It wasn't always like that, especially early on after I first joined. It just so happens that the editors who used to watch the articles I'm interested in and fight vandalism are no longer around; they've given up and left. So I've found myself assuming that role more and more over time. Allowing IP drive-by disruption to remain uninhibited could actually encourage the downward trend, if in fact we're in the middle of one. Just shedding some light here that the trend may actually be the result of the problem (i.e. increasing IP vandalism) as opposed to being a reason we cite in favor of allowing it to continue. --GoneIn60 (talk) 03:46, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: I had a lot more typed up, but I'll be concise: I don't believe we ought to betray our principles so rashly. I don't like IP spam and all that stuff either, but this is not the way to do it (and neither is the WMF's debacle-in-the-making). I don't have any alternatives, but I do know that this isn't the way. (As an addendum, should the WMF proposal go through, I may reconsider this vote). Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 23:59, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong mixed feelings. I can see the thinking here, and have often thought the same. I also know that there are IP addys out there still contributing good material to the project. (also that Jimbo prefers IPs be allowed to edit - or at least he used to, but Larry Sanger preferred registration, .. but see how poorly that worked). I'll think on this, and if I end up feeling more strongly one way than the other, I'll revisit ..... maybe. — Ched (talk) 01:11, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    there are IP addys out there still contributing good material to the project. Absolutely, but we should not assume that we will lose them if we require registration. It's quite possible that their position is "I don't want to register if I don't have to." And, remember, they are likely just as addicted as we are. ―Mandruss  01:21, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
And here [1] is an edit by an IP that is totally unproductive. Only too common in my experience. Xxanthippe (talk) 01:36, 15 October 2019 (UTC).
  • Just like we shouldn't assume they'll stay, trying to guess their position is laughable. Addicted? You probably aren't familiar with my editing history. — Ched (talk) 17:13, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure what that is supposed to show; that an IP was unproductive? I can find registered users who cause more trouble than that. — Ched (talk) 17:13, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support – (1) Registration doesn't stop anybody from using any other website. (2) Editing an article really isn't something you do in five second on a whim. If you do that, you usually screw it up. It kind of requires a commitment to be a productive editor. You have to at least review the article history and talk page before making any but the most trivial edits. The work that goes into editing is so much harder than registering an account, I just can't imagine how the latter would stop anyone from the former. (3) IP editors have a hard time integrating into the community, in no small part because it's impossible to remember which IP is who. On a collaborative project, that is a real barrier to success and productivity–can't work with someone if you don't remember their name because it's a string of numbers. (4) We sink a lot of time in dealing with IP vandalism. This will reduce that, freeing up editor time. (5) Email registration is probably a good idea, too, to prevent mass account creations. Levivich 02:59, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    Some good points, and add the difficulty of communicating with an editor who can't receive pings and whose user talk page is often a short-term affair. By the time I get to their talk page, it's no longer their talk page. This, in an environment where editor communication is crucial. I once spent a good six total hours of my time over a number of days trying to chase one of these guys down, and finally gave up in frustration. It's absolutely crazy that we some of us find ways to justify things like that. ―Mandruss  03:13, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    And what makes you think a freshly-registered user will want to stay, or even communicate? We get reports of uncommunicative users all the time at AN/I, and it can't be attributed to a language barrier. Not to mention seeing your first edit reverted out of hand shortly after it is made is a good enough reason to never want to log in again. —v^_^v Make your position clear! 23:59, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose An evergreen proposal, and not one I think that will improve the project. There's lots of good IP editors - the vast majority, in fact. SportingFlyer T·C 03:20, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose there are countless areas of the encyclopedia where this would have an overwhelmingly negative impact. Sports probably stand out as the biggest (score), but also copy editing, general fixes, and overall maintenance. There's also the huge recruitment aspect: most people who become active editors first edited as an IP. Get rid of that, you get rid of the gateway to editing as a whole, and we actually start losing numbers. TonyBallioni (talk) 03:23, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    most people who become active editors first edited as an IP. Please show evidence that they wouldn't have registered immediately if that had been required.
    Ok, I'm weary of debunking obvious reasoning errors, so I'll cease bludgeoning this discussion. Good luck all. ―Mandruss  03:28, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    OTOH there is no evidence that IP vandals wouldn't register immediately if that was what was required. Galobtter (pingó mió) 03:31, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    Has someone cited vandalism reduction in a Support argument? I haven't. ―Mandruss  03:34, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't know what the impact would be on editor recruitment (probably negative) but TBH I could very well see this make it harder to fight vandalism. Vandals can easily create an account, and it would be certainly much harder to do {{schoolblock}}s (and school vandals represent a fairly large portion of all vandalism) when only CU's can track IP edits. Galobtter (pingó mió) 03:31, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment – I share similar concerns with other editors that required registration for all editing activity may not be the best solution for a host of reasons. However, there's a lot of middle ground between outright registration and open IP editing, and I suspect technical limitations have prevented good proposals from ever coming to fruition. Examples of alternative proposals (technical limitations aside):
    • Allow IP editing to continue as it does today, except on articles that have reached GA or FA status. Gives active editors incentive to stick around and promote articles.
    • Don't require registration for the first several articles (say 5) from any given IP. This allows immediate contribution, but discourages disruptive editing in one pass across dozens of articles. The number can reset every 30 days or some other specified timeout period.
    • Require random email verification from IPs. This means for the most part, they still have the ability to edit at will. However, on occasion (every 5-10 edits for example), it will prompt them to verify an email address. This will encourage them to register over time, especially if making good edits. IPs flagged as disruptive will have to constantly register new email addresses to continue their disruption. This happens transparently in the background without admin/human intervention.
    • IPs can create new articles and actively contribute to articles that are fairly new (say less than 2 years in age). This allows the rapid formation of new content, but discourages vandalism years later after an article has undergone significant changes.
    • Some combination of the above
Again, there are undoubtedly some technical limitations (unknown to me) which would prevent proposals like this from ever seeing the light of day, but I suspect the only possible compromise depends on an alternative solution that doesn't beat a tack with a sledgehammer. --GoneIn60 (talk) 04:30, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • I wrote this almost twelve years ago, and about 90% of it's still relevant to this discussion. —Cryptic 05:41, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
I don't think it is, Cryptic, that was a very long time ago. There were only 192 participants in that discusion, which BTW was never wrapped up. Since then we've gone stages further, such as ACREQ (after a long trial), in which the number of participants was in the many hundreds - both times, 6 years apart - with a very clear consensus, both times. No negative impact was established during the trial or has been since the permanent roll out. We now have a backlog at NPP that has reduced from around 22,000 to 'only' 6,000 (which is still unacceptable). A quick look at the New Pages Feed (NPP & AfC lists) will clearly demonstrate that a significant % of new aricles is still inappropriate for an encyclopedia, or just simply rubbish. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:32, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Insufficient data to make a rational statistics based decision. As far as I know, there is no convincing evidence that the current positive effects of IP editing exceed the negative effects or vice versa, and I see no easy way of measuring it. Those who struggle against the damage are likely to focus on the negative effects, those who don't are less likely to do so. I for one do not consider it a worthwhile use of my time and skills to concentrate on policing bad actors, but I also yearn for more collaboration and constructive input from a wider range of contributors with some clue and competence. I do not think that the status quo is tenable over the long term. An interesting experiment would be for WMF to clone Wikipedia, and make one clone for only registered editors, and the other for status quo. See which one thrives and which fails. They could be re-merged later after the effects are known. I know which one I would edit and use, but I don't know if it would be the one to thrive or fail. Editors would tend to migrate to whichever version they found most satisfying to work on. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 07:11, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    • PS: In the topics that I edit most, my impression is that very little value is added by IP editors, but not very much harm is done either, and what harm there is is mostly fixed quite quickly, by registered editors. My assessment of net value of IP edits in these topics is negative. This trend may vary enormously, I just don't know. IP requests and comments on talk pages appear to be more often of some value, possibly because the IP editor that engages in dialogue is more clueful and serious than one who does not. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 07:30, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
      • PPS: I would Support a trial of obligatory registration, either for the whole Wikipedia, or for parts thereof, where the parts could be opt-in by WikiProject, opt-out by WikiProject, or randomly selected. Run on a similar basis to WP:ACTRIAL. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 07:37, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
        • I second this - this proposal should've come with at least some decent data to illustrate the problem, but it just says "the vast majority" of IP addresses. Surely our proposals should be as well-sourced as our articles? Until I see some good breakdowns of the actual issue backed up by data, I have to Oppose this proposal. --Ineffablebookkeeper (talk) 13:25, 27 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose pending IP Masking result - I would probably agree with this if IP masking was bought in with high-level limitations on sight. It definitely looks like it's coming, but NKohli does seem willing to engage, so actual implementation is a bit up in the air. In any case, I don't see a need to jump the gun. IPs are a net positive once you've factored in the ability to create registered accounts so easily. After that discussion, this will need a properly thought out RfC. Nosebagbear (talk) 08:49, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. I initially wanted to oppose based on the fact that on-the-spot editing is a founding principle (as at least one other editor stated). But with the growing number of visitors, and diminishing number of dedicated patrollers (at least per article), open IP editing poses a quality risk to the project. Considering accounts can also be instantly created, even without email verification, or having an email address altogether, making registration mandatory is still quite open in honest opinion. As Pbsouthwood stated, a trial would be a good first step. Rehman 09:01, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Nag Encourage registration with something like "edits will be restricted as to number/size/scope until registered".Selfstudier (talk) 09:05, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - absolutely. GoodDay (talk) 09:11, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • If we're really going to be talking about this, then I do indeed oppose it. There's been no evidence proffered to justify such a completely radical proposal, nor any evidence supporting the claims made in the proposal. Vandalism is a fact, and requiring accounts might limit it a bit, doing so won't remove the issue. Especially when a news story breaks, anonymous editors are the lifeblood of content creation; TonyB points out other areas of advantage. As enWiki has grown, we have relatively fewer active editors, and we do not need to encourage but rather than reverse that trend. This would certainly be tossing the baby with the bathwater. ~ Amory (utc) 09:56, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Suggestion. It does not have to be all or nothing. A partial trial of non-IP editing could be introduced by allowing semi-confirmed (or whatever) users to apply WP:Semiprotection to articles that they judged needed it without having to go through the rigmarole of applying to administrators. The semi-protection could be removed by administrators on application as it is now. It could then be assessed if the trial improved or degraded the editing of affected articles. Xxanthippe (talk) 10:13, 15 October 2019 (UTC).
  • Right for the wrong reasons I disagree with OP's rationale (assigning the majority of vandalism to IPs, equating vandalism with discrediting an article), but I agree with the proposal. Registration is quick and easy, and if we make it mandatory and someone can't or won't take the five minutes to make an account, I have to wonder how they survive the rest of the Internet where registration is already required. creffpublic a creffett franchise (talk to the boss) 12:52, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • More thoughts on logistics If we are going to have a trial of this on only part of Wikipedia (say, FAs and GAs), we'll need a new form of protection that's not outright semi-protection (which restricts editing to autoconfirmed users). Also, concerns of vandals creating accounts, while valid, can be partially assuaged by (still?) allowing administrators to have a sort of account-creation autoblock; this would not to the best of my knowledge require the knowledge of the specific IP address entailed and thereby CU, although it might significantly increase unblock request backlogs. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 14:04, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • It's complicated. I would absolutely support this if IP Masking is shoved down our throats. As it is, requiring accounts might make it harder for non-checkusers to identify peristent vandalism, as it's easier in many ways to create sock accounts than to change your IP address (especially if you want to change your IP to avoid a rangeblock). While I might support only allowing IP editors to edit in a "Pending Changes" mode, I wouldn't support an outright stop to IP contributions at this time. --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 14:43, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. Yes, it's perennial, but I've always supported it. Most vandalism I see is from IP editors, and, to be brutally honest, the majority of edits I see from IP editors are either outright vandalism or so poor as to be worthless. Both require immediate reversion. -- Necrothesp (talk) 14:51, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Actually I see loads of minor or sometimes valuable corrections or adjustments, & would not want to lose the ability of drive-by people to do this. Only ready to support limiting ips to a set number of edits - say 20, perhaps per year. I might also support maximum numbers of characters added or removed. Of course this would only hamper some ips and not others. I'm happy not to go on tolerating ips who edit very heavily over a long period - most are no doubt returning banned users or sock-puppets. Johnbod (talk) 15:11, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • No thanks. There is less of a case for this than there used to be as the edit filters revert much vandalism without needing human involvement. We still need IP editing as an entry point into editing, and i doubt that anyone disputes that. The real question is whether the registration process would lose us more goodfaith editors than badfaith ones. I'm in the camp that considers that vandals mostly do the minimum necessary to do their vandalism, so allowing IP editing, like allowing blank edit summaries, makes vandals easier to spot, but not more numerous. If that theory is correct, then mandatory registration would lose us more new good editors than bad as well as making vandals a tiny bit harder to spot. It would be interesting to see some academic research on these very different views of the benefits of compulsory registration, but Citizendium and WikiTribune are enough evidence for me. Of course we could go the whole hog and require registration via facebook et al. That likely would deter many vandals, but it isn't exactly compatible with our open source ethos. ϢereSpielChequers 15:29, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Largely per WereSpielChequers and Davey2010. I am not sure it would have the intended effect and there is certainly a chance of doing more harm than good. Many good users started life here as IP editors and the fact that many IP edits are not that great only means they need help and guidance. PackMecEng (talk) 15:42, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • One part of me wants to ban IP editing, but it's really kind of pointless. Making an account is free and easy, and we don't limit how many accounts a user can (as opposed to, may) have. So people just make throw-away accounts and that's really no different than editing as an IP. Yes, we say you can't be a sock, but we do very little to prevent it. So which would you rather have; anonymous vandals using IPs, or anonymous vandals using throw-away accounts? -- RoySmith (talk) 15:52, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    The latter. It makes vandalism more difficult. Especially if you require email registration. Levivich 16:17, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Neutral. Based on my observations over the years, I have the feeling this won't help with the problem of vandalism, just change it. But it will force the WMF to consider which should be given priority: keeping Wikipedia open to anyone to edit (over the quality of content), or improving the content of Wikipedia (over allowing everyone to edit it). -- llywrch (talk) 16:20, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose, this would not substantively help with vandalism and would only provide another access barrier to editing. Basically in agreement with WereSpielChequers's comment/observations above. postdlf (talk) 16:27, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
Although I'm not in support of outright registration, I think it's naive to assume making it harder to vandalize wouldn't have a noticeable impact. Would it solve the problem and stop everyone? Of course not. Would it curb the behavior for some over time, given the increased effort and nuisance it would create for them? It's a reasonable possibility. Right now, they just have to change IPs or IP ranges. Imagine the nuisance of having to create a new account and verify email every single time on top of that. --GoneIn60 (talk) 17:18, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose There are probably a limited number of times where the weight of anonymous IP editors overwhelmed all admin capabilities and reasonable protection routes. The day to day IP stuff that causes problems is out-balanced by the number of IP that actually make useful contributions. --Masem (t) 17:23, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support in principle, as IP editing has several practical drawbacks. But the lack of actual and meaningful data about this aspect is a valid concern. A trial (either for a strictly limited time or in a limited area of articles) could help to gather more substantial evidence and analyze possible effects on the community. GermanJoe (talk) 17:29, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose I don't think I can add much to a discussion that has already been had many times over the years. I believe WP:HUMAN and WP:WNCAA already cover a lot of my thoughts on this matter, there's even an association of us that remain unregistered on principle, see here. Many editors are not attracted to the social side of Wikipedia which account creation invariably snares them deeper into they just want to go about their business and be left alone. In addition, this will prevent many useful and constructive editors from participating, remember 80%+ of IP edits are constructive. Far from being a horde of spammers, vandals, and trolls new and anonymous users built most of Wikipedia's content, see here. I've done WP:RCP, the problems caused by WP:VOAs are equivalent to those caused by IPs and when subtle often take longer to get noticed. Finally, compare Wikipedia to Citizendium and tell me if that's really the direction we want to go in. I have my issues WMFs idea as well, but this is not the solution. (talk) 18:22, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
        • I absolutely don't support long-term frequent ip editing. There's no way having an account "snares people deeper into the social side of Wikipedia" if they don't want it to - this is just nonsense. Thousands of registered users just ignore any messages - User talk:DilletantiAnonymous is a shining example for you, with 246K bytes, not one by him. As an ip you are exposing a remarkable amount of personal information to anyone on the internet who cares to check it. Numbers are hard to remember for other editors & registered editors will rightly remain suspicious of those who choose not to register. Some may be harmless, but very many are not. Johnbod (talk) 04:17, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
That's a passionate claim,|, but there are 35 million registered accounts. Admittedly they might not have all been used very much but it demonstrates the willingness to register You won't probably continue to follow this discussion because you don't have a watchlist and won't receive notifications. Johnbod makes a strong point. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:41, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Equating IPs with vandals is insulting, considering that the vandal edits from IPs are a minority of all IP edits made. This is also not a fight we should be having right now in the first place considering Framgate. Also, requiring registration would more like than not discourage actual good-faith editors while doing nothing whatsoever to thwart vandalism, especially since we already get a lot of accounts that register just to vandalise/have a laugh at our expense, and that is before autocon/EC-buster socks. —v^_^v Make your position clear! 21:06, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. A large number of our good edits are from IPs. I have a large watchlist, and... I dunno, easily 10% of the good edits are from IPs. So for a start you're throwing those away right off, most of them.
Then, you have that X% of registered editors first dip their toes in as IPs. What X% is I don't know? 50%? More? Less? Whatever it is, you're throwing some of those future editors away. Registering an account takes a certain amount of emotional commitment to editing, a commitment we would be asking for in advance of a sample of the experience. (It does, and arguments of "no it doesn't" or "it didn't for me" doesn't change that: it does.) I never register at websites for features I don't either plan to use a lot, or have come to use a lot, even tho I have a throwaway email account. I just don't. Lot of people don't, probably.
As to the proximate reason for this proposal, "It is easy for an unregistered user to vandalize an article which many of us have gone through a lot of trouble to write, then immediately make a copy as if that is what was truly written"... is that an actual real problem? I have not heard this. Also, if someone is trying to be be like "See, even this Wikipedia articles says that Trump is a space alien", the fact that she's pointing to a copy on her own web site kind of takes away most of the value there. Plus if you're committed to this level of trollery, I image you'll just register an account.
Project is not broken AFAK. If IP vandalism is spiking, I haven't seen evidence on my watchlist. If something is not broken, trying to fix it might break it. Herostratus (talk) 21:33, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Vandalism is easily dealt with and might even be a positive because it gives people something to do as reverting vandalism is useful and easy. What is becoming untenable is the large number of arbitrary changes to numbers and dates and other factoids. Unfortunately that's anecdotal with no hard information available. However, see the example I posted above, and see these and these edits (reported at ANI). There is no way to evaluate arbitrary changes by a shifting IP other than to spend a couple of hours investigating the sources for each number. Johnuniq (talk) 23:03, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Edits by a registered user can be evaluated. If someone registers and does nothing but make arbitrary number/date changes, they are automatically suspect. I would politely ask them on their talk page what the reasons for the changes were. If no response and the changes continue, the editor will end up indeffed and their changes rolled back without fuss. It is much harder doing that with an IP as they usually ignore their talk pages due to disinterest, or shifting IP. IPs are also used to templated waffle on their talk and I suspect that many of them ignore it for that reason. An IP cannot be indeffed, and getting even a month-long block on an IP is not easy due to Wikipedia's folklore from the early days about AGF: a new and brilliant editor might want to use that IP tomorrow. Johnuniq (talk) 02:27, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
  • To your point, nothing would. However, requiring new registration coupled with email verification would discourage a lot of them from staying active over time. Being disruptive becomes a product of diminishing returns; the effort required begins to outweigh the satisfaction. The proposal here isn't the right way to do it though. We need an automated system in place or a tool for non-admins that allows more pressure to be applied to offending IPs, while at the same time preserving unhindered access for the vast majority of other IPs. There are better options we're not discussing. --GoneIn60 (talk) 02:35, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
  • "what would stop a registered user from doing exactly the same" There is a psychological element. An identity is something to protect. We care about our reputations. Simply making someone create a user-name causes them to think about what user-name to choose. Right there, in the making up of a user-name, one is becoming responsible for something. Many of us have the experience of regretting our choice of user-name or at least considering preferable alternatives. Bus stop (talk) 04:34, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Yet we get users who register an account just to commit vandalism all the time. "Protecting" an identity is meaningless if the identity is throwaway in the first place. —v^_^v Make your position clear! 20:49, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Vandalism is easily dealt with and might even be a positive because it gives people something to do as reverting vandalism is useful and easy. Please read the rest of my comment where I replied to you above because it contains substantive points that you have not acknowledged let alone responded to. Johnuniq (talk) 23:18, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
  • might even be a positive because it gives people something to do as reverting vandalism is useful and easy. - PRICELESS! ―Mandruss  23:34, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Reverting obvious vandalism is easy. Reverting subtle vandalism is not - it is quite possible that a lot of it remains unreverted, particularly if done by registered editors. Reverting vandalism and investigating possible vandalism are not particularly productive uses of time in comparison with actually building an encyclopedia. Reverting vandalism may have the theoretical upside of drawing one's attention to other aspects of an article that could use a bit of improvement, but only if they result in that improvement actually happening. Vandalism is a huge timesink, but it kind of goes with the territory. It is part of the natural environment of an open Wiki, a form of parasitism. We adapt or die. Look at filters, they are an adaptation that has served us well. What would happen if they had not been developed? We need better defenses. Sometimes we get them. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 06:37, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Most of us started out making an edit or two before registering, and most of us would find it easy to create a new account if we wanted to foment mischief. It's ultimately none of my business why someone would want to reveal their location and in many cases more by not cloaking themselves in a user name, and banning it would be one more barrier to joining the editing community, one more discouragement, when we want to draw people in and always will (no, the encyclopedia is not "nearly finished", and yes, we need fresh eyes and hands if only to replace those we inevitably lose every year, if not to provide fresh perspectives and new skills) and requiring registration will do nothing to hinder vandalism. If anything it will make some kinds of vandals, such as schoolkids, harder to detect. Yngvadottir (talk) 05:12, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Despite Mandruss's unsupported assertion that there is "a community consensus on this issue.", there is not. For example, in the current discussion my vote will make this a 12-15 in favor of the opposition, not counting split votes or nuanced answers or the like. I don't see how that represents a "consensus" to require registration. Nor am I aware of any of the past discussions on this exact issue which had such a consensus. Normal operation of Wikipedia should have zero barrier to entry, even creating a free account presents an unneeded and burdensome barrier to entry which will ultimately drive away good-faith users more than it would drive away bad-faith vandals. --Jayron32 15:51, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
    @Jayron32: Would have appreciated a ping. I've given up on this discussion as hopeless, so haven't been following it, and only happened to notice your comment by freak accident.
    The lack of consensus you correctly refer to did not exist at the time of my early comment, so I think "unsupported assertion" is more than a bit inappropriate. I didn't say there was a consensus, I allowed that there was a potential for one at that time. ―Mandruss  22:25, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Just noting that I would support if this proposal had a chance of passing. Regardless of whether most IP edits are constructive, it's still a fact that the vast majority of vandalism comes from IPs, as seen by this graph if we are to trust it. They also add to the unconstructive pile we already have to deal with regarding registered editors. It's not offensive to acknowledge facts. Been here since 2007, and I've seen, especially when patrolling with WP:STiki or WP:Huggle, that most of the vandalism comes from IPs. Requiring registration would cut down both on vandalism and socking. And Wikipedia requiring registration isn't the same as what happened to Citizendium. Citizendium wanted more than just registration. And other sites that have tried to be like Wikipedia aren't as successful anyway. Wikipedia was first and had already attained a level of popularity that Citizendium had to compete with. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 00:58, 17 October 2019 (UTC) Updated post. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 01:07, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
    • That graph is based on 248 edits that happened 12 years ago. Even if it happened to be a representative sample, back then, I think things might have changed in the meantime. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:51, 21 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Facts not in evidence. IPs are WP's main problem? We'd be better off without them, because they do so much more harm than good, even considering many contributing editors started as IPs? Exactly what problem is this drastic change supposed to solve, and how is this the only way to solve it? This change is supposed to have no negative consequences whatsoever, and we know this how? Well, I think WP's main problem is editors that joined after 2010; we should get rid of all of them. This new proposal of mine is as rational and justified as the one proposed here. --A D Monroe III(talk) 01:25, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
    Please help us with gathering the required evidence. What is the methodology for determining how many IP editors would register if it were required? Once we have that, how do we compensate for IP editors who are less than forthcoming in their responses – those who say they wouldn't because they don't want to, but actually would if it came to that? Do we pretend those editors don't exist in significant numbers? And so on. Explain these things to me and I'll get right on it.
    There is such a thing as unreasonable burden of proof. Akin to moving the goalposts, it's placing them a mile away from the kicker from the outset. ―Mandruss  02:09, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
    You've made the assertion that IP edits are a problem that needs fixing, and that Wikipedia is better off if we just got rid of them. It isn't really incumbent upon others to provide evidence that you're wrong. Null hypothesis requires that the burden is always on the person making the positive assertion to provide evidence to support it. Demanding that every assertion one makes must be accepted as true without proof otherwise is strange. Asking for simple evidence that requiring registration is necessary is not an unreasonable standard. You've (in the collective) asserted Wikipedia needs to do this. Why? --Jayron32 12:41, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
    Inertia lives in demands that proponents of change prove the unprovable. It makes it virtually impossible to respond to change, in this case that change being 18 years and 5 million articles. If you dispute my assertion that proponents' arguments are unprovable, I've asked for some explanation of how to prove them – an eminently fair request – and I have not seen that. As I said, unreasonable burden of proof. Absent debate judges, you and others making that unreasonable demand will prevail here, being enough to prevent a consensus for change, but I'm not going away without calling you out for unfair argument. ―Mandruss  06:13, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
    You've not even established that we need anything to change. You've said we do, without providing any evidence that we do. And then said that anyone who asks for a reason why is making unreasonable demands. I still don't see why you can just demand a major change to the way Wikipedia operates, and provide no evidence why we need to. --Jayron32 14:10, 21 October 2019 (UTC)
    We have provided reasoning why we need to – reasoning based in knowledge of the world, human nature, logic, etc. That's the best we can be expected to do. I've no beef with countering reasoning – that's what fair discussion is – but I don't like my arguments rejected out of hand because they lack proof of the unprovable. ―Mandruss  22:43, 21 October 2019 (UTC)
Here's an idea. Why not have software supply would-be unregistered users with accounts, including computer-generated user-names? In other words—you would have no choice. If you want to abandon that assigned account, you are free to do so. But there should be some type of a small penalty to disincentivize abandoning assigned accounts, such as a 24 or 48 hour waiting time to get a new assigned account at that IP address. The advantage to this is that the computer-generated user-names would be much more memorable than the string of numbers of an IP address. Bus stop (talk) 00:36, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per every other time this has been proposed. Sam Walton (talk) 08:19, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose as requesting my account took a few weeks, and people who just want to fix on typo or similar, aren't going to go through the hassle of requesting. this will only gate-keep the editing of Wikipedia, which goes completely contrary to the goals of Wikipedia. ArkayusMako (talk) 12:09, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
I'm not arguing one way or the other for the "registration", just responding to the above. @ArkayusMako:, I have no idea why it would take a couple weeks, it's usually pretty instantaneous. Glitch on our side, your ISP, some point in between? IDK. But sorry about that.— Ched (talk) 12:30, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose - I have seen many useful edits by IP users. Especially small fixes and updates. I did a few of those myself before creating an account. And if I ever stop using a registered account, then I will continue to make some of those edits as an IP user as well. I also see many good reasons why people would want to avoid being part of the Wikipedia community. It is rather toxic at times. --Hecato (talk) 14:38, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose – Fighting vandalism is a huge time sink here, but it won't necessarily be stopped by registration, which may leave us with the inveterate, belligerent vandals, while keeping useful editors out. I'm seeing a lot of helpful edits from IPs on my watchlist, and my sense is that vandalism has gone down since I became active in 2013. Dhtwiki (talk) 19:39, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong support - IP vandals are a major time sink, they chip away at the credibility of the pedia, and I see no feasible way the good aspects of not registering possibly outweigh the bad. Atsme Talk 📧 20:13, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - I have always thought that allowing unregistered editors to edit in article space was an original mistake, but because it was an original mistake, it might not be corrected. Now that WMF is prepared to go to bizarre lengths to protect unregistered editors from themselves, in a way that will probably interfere with the prevention of vandalism, we should recognize that the easier way to protect unregistered editors from giving away their IP addresses is to require that they register pseudonymously (or with names), and we have always had pseudonymous registration. Perhaps the WMF has considered the risk that unregistered editors are facing with regard to privacy and not the counter-balancing consideration of the integrity of the encyclopedia. If the WMF really really wants to allow unregistered editors with masking, it could restrict their editing to talk pages, but that would sort of be the worst of both worlds. Just tell them to register. Robert McClenon (talk) 16:59, 20 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose because IP editing is a core principle of Wikipedia and must continue to be. Also, in my experience, the IP vandals I have dealt with are usually very minor nuances, whereas the vandals who take the time to actually register are the ones who waste a significant amount of our time, and this proposal will do nothing to solve that issue. --Secundus Zephyrus (talk) 15:33, 23 October 2019 (UTC)
    • The problem is that many IPs have a hobby of changing numbers and other factoids because it's fun. What they do cannot be called vandalism because it might be a good-faith edit. If done by a registered user, their activity would be noticed eventually and their changes reverted after blocking the user. That is not possible for shifting IPs. The example I posted above is still there after ten days and exposure on this noticeboard. Johnuniq (talk) 00:45, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
      • I don't think it's so easy to track down and block these users when they have been registered as compared to IP. I recently dealt with this registered user, who made many small number changes, all over the course of one day. It was such a small amount of edits that it went under the radar, and they never got blocked. Who's to say they didn't create a new account the next day to vandalize some other articles? --Secundus Zephyrus (talk) 03:39, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
        • While we always AGF, every new user is suspect and someone who focuses on changing numbers in their first few edits will get attention. Some shifting IPs edit for years as there is no reason for them to do otherwise. It's impractical to carefully examine every IP as there are too many of them and they can't be indeffed even if hoaxing is discovered. Johnuniq (talk) 06:39, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong support. The myriad disadvantages of IP editing far outweigh the advantages, including more privacy with an account. I have often proposed a short intro period where IP editing of talk pages is allowed, for example up to 50 edits, and then require registration, but that can be gamed with IP hopping. IP editing of articles should not be allowed, even now, but if so, then it should be in a (figuratively) "throttled" manner (using other methods of limitation) which makes it so inconvenient that they will feel impelled to create an account.
The only advantage to IP editing I can think of right now is the common abuse by registered editors who sock to perform actions forbidden at Wikipedia. They won't stand by their edits. -- BullRangifer (talk) 02:37, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support if IP masking comes in. IP editors may or may not be useful, but if masked will be basically out of visibility and control. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 03:38, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. I mean, really, this is likely the only site in the world which allows for IP editing, and seen that WMF is jumping through loopholes to cover up the mistakes that said editors make when editing as an IP this is the way forward. --Dirk Beetstra T C 06:52, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support reluctantly as I know a lot of IPs are in fact productive editors. Unfortunately the OP is correct. The level of vandalism from IPs is a constant weight on the project and a huge time sink for the community including our gradually shrinking admin corps. It is damaging the project's credibility. Requiring registration with a valid email address should not be unreasonably burdensome and I believe it would reduce the volume of deliberate disruption. -Ad Orientem (talk) 07:04, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support although reluctantly. The point about IP masking is convincing enough, although not my main reason. Like others, I have found a number of useful cooperative IP editors, but sadly these are a small minority. And I don't think it's just vandalism, I think we have a problem with editors who have accounts logging out to make unhelpful, often pov, edits. Doug Weller talk 13:06, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support although I would find a small exemption like 1-2 edits per month reasonably. This would allow somone to fix an occassional typo for instance - something some people might not bother to do if they had no other interest in editing and creating an account. MB 14:13, 24 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Approximately 17% of all edits on this project are from IPs. See this data as collected from the database as part of the discussion that is already happening on Meta on this topic area. Only about 27% of those edits are reverted - which I'd venture to say isn't all that different from newly registered accounts (many of which are vandalism, too). Doing the math, about 12% of all of the edits to this project are unreverted edits made by unregistered (IP) editors. This is a massive amount of editing that we really can't afford to lose. Risker (talk) 15:17, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
  • 12% isn't all that much, and some of those IP editors would register and still make those edits, so the loss is even less.
Yes, probably most editors started as IP editors. I started in 2003 and created an account in 2005 because of the disadvantages of being an IP editor and far more rights and abilities as a registered editor. The loss of privacy was a big factor.
We could allow IP editing, but make it more difficult than now, enough that they would seek to register, and we need to stop the false equivalence statements that IP editing is just as good or legitimate as registered editing. It's generally not. The few good IP editors, if they are serious, would register. We should market registering more strongly.
We also need to stop the common practice of logging out to make controversial edits. The connection between an IP and a registered editor is available to checkusers, and an automated control process should flag such edits, whereafter a checkusers should check the edits, and if they are multiple, they should privately contact and warn the editor. If the edits are controversial or against policy, they should hand out a block for deceptive and evasive actions.-- BullRangifer (talk) 23:32, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
Doing the math is one thing Risker, but by doing the practical thing by being a regular at NPP, AfC, and having a watchlist of some 33,000 articles and being the the coord of WP:WPSCH over thousands of school articles, and having been in the vanguard of ACTRIAL for years until it was finally rolled out, my empirical results are very different from yours.Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:52, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
Doing the math is the right thing, Kudpung. Everyone has their own different experience. We all tend to forget our very first experience, the one that opened the door to us becoming Wikipedians. Bottom line, we wouldn't allow articles to exist based on our gut instincts or personal beliefs or experience, and we shouldn't change a primary pillar of the editing experience based on those things, either. We have empiric evidence, and we should use it. We do not want to become one of those internet sites where people refuse to accept factual information in favour of personal belief; it's antithetical to our primary mission of providing verifiable information. Risker (talk) 21:49, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose in the strongest possible terms. The ability to contribute anonymously is one of the most fundamental aspects of what makes a wiki thrive. Registration marks a commitment to the community, which not everyone is ready or willing to make. I want to support the opposition who claim that it gives opportunities for readers to edit and only join the community when they feel comfortable. This is not unique to Wikipedia and is a phenomenon that has been encountered on countless wikis including WikiWikiWeb which used a system of meatball:WikiBreathing where the ability to edit anonymously was expanded and retracted periodically.
    The ability to edit without an account is an important aspect of wiki culture precisely because it allows readers to gradualy learn about the community, form attachments with those who do have names, and eventually feel comfortable making account. This is why even on wikis with much stricter naming criteria than ours, users who were uncomfortable using their real name were encouraged to "either write anonymously or wait until they feel comfortable" (meatball:UseRealNames). The claim that it is how readers get introduced to the community is not fantastical but recognition of the way wikis have worked for over two decades. Restricting that ability and forcing readers to commit to an identity within the community before they are ready is not a good idea. Wikis have life cycles and WikiBreathing like this eventually turns into a meatball:GatedCommunity where we restrict who can contribute and be part of the community further in order to bring back former prosperous times. Counterproductively, this eventually leads to the decline and death of the wiki. I don't find this pattern far-fetched given the growing restrictions we've already been placing on anonymous users in the last few years such as prohibition from mainspace page creation. WikiWikiWeb used WikiBreathing to a good level of success, and we can too, but the pattern is not a perpetual tightening of restrictions.
    Further, the ability to edit without registration is important for people who do have registered accounts (see Wikipedia:SOCKLEGIT). The ability to avoid a meatball:SerialIdentity is an important aspect of protecting the ability for content creators to work in topic areas which may otherwise cause them economic, legal, or physical harm. My account is known in my professional circles, and so if I am making edits to subject areas that are taboo or professionally embarrassing I edit logged out. For those who live under repressive regimes, the ability to distribute their edits across different IP addresses and not centralize their contributions under a single identity makes it harder for those regimes to gather evidence and persecute them for helping build our encyclopedia. Restricting the ability to edit without registering an account is not only a theoretical concern, but one that will affect the ability of our community members to safely contribute to the encyclopedia. I cannot support this. Wug·a·po·des​ 23:28, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
That's a very passionate speech Wugapodes, but it's clearly not based on either researched data or solid empirical findings. I'm sorry, I don't buy into any of it. It's the kind of argument that the opposers were making to ACTRIAL. We proved them wrong. We need to be practical rather than emotional. Registration marks a commitment to the community, which not everyone is ready or willing to make - doesn't that kind of contradict what we want and need: users who, like those of us who have been on Wiki regularly for years and care about it, and are committed to it. Does Wikipedia really need hordes of drive-by IP edits of which a significan % do not enhance the articles or the discussions. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:55, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
@Kudpung: I never said it was based on data, it was a rational not empirical argument, and I don't really care if you buy it because I never expected you to. Obviously we have very different philosophical positions on how a wiki should operate and that's okay, but I was never under the impression you'd agree with me. Besides, when Risker gave empirical evidence on how IPs contribute to the encyclopedia, you just ignored it because it wasn't your experience based on being a regular at NPP, AfC, and having a watchlist of some 33,000 articles and being the the coord of WP:WPSCH over thousands of school articles, and having been in the vanguard of ACTRIAL for years until it was finally rolled out. You say it's not a significant percentage, but the data from WMF database dumps that Risker linked you to shows that over 2/3s of IP edits are not reverted despite having one of the most intense automated and non-automated anti-vandal infrastructures in wikihistory. That's over 473000 constructive edits a month which you're calling insignificant. Why are your personal experiences somehow more important than mine or anyone else's, especially when they don't seem to be in line with data that others have given?
You say ACTRIAL "proved" people wrong as if AFC is some miracle corner of the encyclopedia that doesn't have any problems. It's literally only manageable because we summarily delete anything that's been around too long which creates a backdoor to deletion without discussion (Don't like a page? Move it to draft space and wait 6 months). It's led to a bureaucratic nightmare for non-regulars doing outreach events making it harder to recruit expert editors. For example, this past January, if I wasn't bold in requesting EVC rights for an edit-a-thon I wasn't even planning at the Linguistics Society of America Annual Meeting, none of our participants would have been able to create articles. We also wouldn't have been able to overcome the IP block on account creation which. Fr shared IP addresses this idea of requiring registration will put up registration restrictions at educational institutions, conferences, libraries, airports, or coffee shops which we have no way of predicting, forcing potential editors to go through a second more baroque process ("Sorry, we know you want to edit, but 6 people before you wanted to edit, so you'll need to go to this second process and wait for someone to get around to it") or just give up entirely.
Having loosely affiliated users is not the opposite of what we want or need, it is in fact exactly what we want and how wikis thrive. We cannot be expected to have a core community watching like hawks over nearly 6 million articles. Having people who are actually interested in those topics able to, with no commitment, fix things as they see necessary is the whole point of why we are a wiki and why it is part of our meta:Founding Principles: that was the intent from the beginning. Why on earth would I want to force everyone to be as addicted to this site as I am? Not everyone wants to volunteer hours of their lives or build emotional connections with strangers on the internet just to fix a typo every so often. If you'd like to address any of my substantive points instead of just attacking my tone, I'm all ears, but you can't substitute your personal experience for empirical data one thread up and then dismiss my arguments for being based on personal experience rather than empirical data mere hours later. Wug·a·po·des​ 18:48, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
Wugapodes, I have never even vaguely inferred that: AFC is some miracle corner of the encyclopedia that doesn't have any problems, in fact it's actually fraught with problems. I also think the assumption that New Page Reviewers deliberately shunt pages off to draft space for tacit deletion is totally inaccurate, and you would need to back that up with proof. I doubt that any experienced New Page Patroler has such an idea in mind at all, and I also doubt that the majority of drafts ensue from the New Pages Feed (but that's something we can check up on).
Stats can often be subjectively used the way one wants to see them; Risker and I have been around a very long time but our long term spheres of committment and specialism hardy even overlap. We agree with each other as often as we don't but I never ignore what she has to say because she is one of the most mature and experienced users we have - and if we do disagree we do it objectively. That said 'Only' about 27% of those edits are reverted out of 17% of edits that are from IPs is still tens of thousands of edits and too much and does not account for the vandalism of the kind that slips through unnoticed; I would not have said 'only', I would have said 'as much as'.
There is however a big difference between impassioned opinion and solid empirical experience. The arguments for ACTRIAL for example, were never a series of subjective pleas - they were objective statements of need, and the empirical finally became data confirmed as soon as we were able to convince the WMF, because we knew it would. Despite the overwhelming consensus, out of courtesy to the naysayers, we still called for a trial first. and ACREQ is a very important milestone demonstrating that Wikipedia's growth being orgamnic, archaic ideologies have to make way for modern requirements.
For what this RfC is all about, per Blueboar: The question is: If we require registration, would those IP editors still make those edits, or would it drive them away? If the answer is that they would have happily registered (if required), but didn’t bother simply because it wasn’t required... then statistic is meaningless (and we would lose nothing by requiring registration). If registration would drive them away, then the statistic is meaningful (and we would lose a lot), so I see no harm in at least running a trial as many have also called for - the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 20:24, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
But that's my point, AFC didn't solve all our problems and there's no reason to think that this will solve all our problems. I didn't say NPPs deliberately use draftification as backdoor deletion; the problem I raised is with the loophole AFC's necessary WP:G13 creates where nearly anyone can move something to draft space and if no one notices for 6 months have it speedy deleted. This is beside the point.
Stats can be subjectively used, yes, but it boggles the mind to believe that requiring registration wouldn't have an impact on edits. Even regular editors sometimes cannot be bothered to log in just to make an edit. I gave examples of the problems that would arise in getting people to register for accounts based upon my experiences with edit-a-thons and the technical restrictions built into the software. I described how it will affect the ability of editors, including myself, to effectively use WP:SOCKLEGIT to make constructive edits and why registering an account wouldn't be a sufficient protection for some editors. So yes, I firmly believe that we will lose a significant portion of constructive edits by requiring registration. Requiring registration is putting a barrier in front of people who are mildly motivated to contribute, and one that is easily overcome by people with a strong motivation to disrupt. There's a clear difference in incentive, and unlike AFC, these contributions will still be monitored in the exact same way as we already do, so it's not like there's any new filter to ensure quality edits.
Would having a trial give us evidence about whether this is effective at reducing vandalism? Sure, but do we need it? No. The way to stop vandalism is obvious, become a walled garden. We could just be a normal encyclopedia with an editorial board and known contributors; we would have no vandalism at all! Except that's not what any of us want, and so the mere assertion that doing something will "prevent vandalism" isn't sufficient when it threatens our fundamental values. We have vandalism from registered users already, go look at SPI or AIV, so why would requiring registration stop vandalism? AFC didn't stop BLP violations or hoaxes from being hosted on our servers, it just put them somewhere else. The problem here is that editors with registered accounts would still be monitored in the exact same way as we already do non-registered accounts, so we don't even have the advantage of sequestering that Draft: namespace gave us. Besides, we still wind up with hoaxes and BLP violations in mainspace despite AFC, and many more in Draft space. We cannot simply do stuff "because vandalism" anymore than we should engage in security theatre at airports; vandalism is inherent to an open wiki and we need to find ways to mitigate it that don't undermine our fundamental values. This is as much a philosophical debate over our founding principles as it is a question of how to stop vandalism.
We need to decide what level of disruption is tolerable in exchange for an open wiki, and I reject the premise that we should modify or abandon our founding principles for unclear goals with no logical plan on how to achieve them. Non-registered editing and the numerous advantages I've given is not something I'm willing to sacrifice for vague "anti-vandalism" goals. I'm not willing to risk losing valuable contributions for any period of time in order to trial a plan whose main goal is stopping the vandalism we already stop using the tools we already have. I need a stronger logical argument than "Some vandalism comes from some IPs therefore prohibit IP editing to reduce vandalism". I don't know why arguing for the status quo requires mounds of evidence when that is the thrust of the argument being presented. Wug·a·po·des​ 22:41, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
It is true that Kudpung and I have focused our attention on different areas of the project. Ironically, it is probably me who spends a greater percentage of her enwiki volunteer time dealing with truly problem edits. As a checkuser, I know the overwhelming majority of socks and similarly disruptive accounts are registered accounts; it's actually pretty uncommon for people to log out and "sock". Keep in mind, these are genuine, problem accounts doing something that is in violation of one or more policies. As an oversighter, I can say that the majority of edits that require suppression are made by registered accounts, with a quick review indicating that less than 20% of suppressed edits involve IPs (and a good chunk of those involve registered editors accidentally editing logged out).
The statistical information I quoted was generated for a different purpose - to give Wikimedians some empiric data to analyse the potential impact of masking IPs of unregistered/logged-out users. Prior to the generation of that data,I had guestimated that we had between 8-10% of edits being done by IPs, and that more than half were reverted for some reason or other (even then knowing that a huge percentage of reverts are for good-faith edits that are not policy-compliant, such as "correcting" a birth date or adding a fact without a reference). I was wrong on both counts. That's exactly why we shouldn't be basing policy on what we experience, but instead on what is verifiable and empiric. Most of the opposes are based on "gut feelings" or personal experiences; they're not based on any realistic analysis of evidence.
We simply cannot afford to lose 12% of our useful edits. We can't afford to close down the major conduit that brings us new editors, particularly given the (generally evidence-based) barriers that have been put in place for account creation. What data we have points squarely at the importance of retaining editing by unregistered users. Risker (talk) 20:59, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Wikipedia was founded on certian principles, among them being the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Does it make things inconvenient for us? Sure, oftentimes, though our automation tools have mitigated this to a large degree. I don't believe convenience is worth going back on that foundational principle. The WordsmithTalk to me 20:49, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as I don't see how this will help with vandalism? New users will just be created, only to be blocked and another user created and so on. Also, this would just be a barrier to editing which is not what the "free encyclopedia" is about. comrade waddie96 ★ (talk) 14:38, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I've certainly seen IPs doing bad things (and anyone who hasn't should really get out from under that rock), but I've also seen them do very helpful things. Often this is gnoming stuff that otherwise goes undone for a while; fixing typos, updating a dead link to its new location, stuff like that. It also means stuff it's less likely people will notice, while someone of course will notice when a different IP replaces an entire article with profanity. Besides, an IP is actually less anonymous than an account. (If the latest round of idiocy helpfulness from the WMF goes through, on the other hand, I may well change my mind at that time.) But at least for now, "You can edit this page right now" has always been a part of our project, and we should not change that just because some IP editors are a pain in the ass. So are some registered ones. Seraphimblade Talk to me 21:20, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose I know how IPs can be troublesome, but I've seen many cases in which IPs had helpful, constructive edits; Seraphimblade mentioned some above. Doing this will certainly decrease the level of vandalism, but it will also decrease the level of good-faith edits made to Wikipedia by IPs. Besides, we already have WP:5P3, stating that "Wikipedia is free content that anyone can use, edit, and distribute", "anyone can" "edit" Wikipedia. Also, we shouldn't forget that IPs sometimes fix vandalism caused by other IPs (or even other users, we can't track every bit of vandalism on this project). Ahmadtalk 08:03, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. It's a wiki, intended to be free of barriers to participation. We must not require any extra actions in order to be able to edit. --Yair rand (talk) 09:25, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Many editors, including yours truly, started off by editing with only the IP address, excited by the very low, practically non-existent, barrier to entry. Requiring an account, even if it's free and quick to register, puts up a mental barrier that may discourage newcomers from joining. We who are familiar with Wikipedia know full well that this ought not to be a barrier, but newcomers are unfamiliar with the site's workings, and may worry that free and quick registration is just some sort of bait that commits them to costs or obligations down the line. Allowing people to edit without registering, and with no commitments, removes any skepticism that there are strings attached. IP editors who edit frequently and make good edits are usually encouraged to, and often do, create an account within a few months time when they are more comfortable with that. Sjakkalle (Check!) 19:21, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong Support An ID is more permanent, gives more access into the platform. SO by all means yes to creating ID's. NO, not all IP's are bad, but with an IP it's hard as heck to communicate as the IP changes and the message intended for them goes to someone else. Sure - do it! Necromonger...We keep what we kill 16:47, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose all efforts to make en.wp even more insular and cliquish. Wikipedia isn't your personal platform or playground. It's the encyclopedia anyone can edit. Gamaliel (talk) 19:51, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - I have long thought that allowing editing of articles by unregistered editors was a mistake that was not likely to be corrected, and would therefore be left standing for decades. It is still something of a mistake. At this point, the fact that the WMF is planning to protect unregistered editors from themselves by masking IP addresses means that this is instead the time to correct that original mistake. Unregistered editors should be allowed to edit talk pages. Robert McClenon (talk) 16:54, 7 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment - Was the mistake of allowing IP addresses to edit made as a correction to the opposite Citizendium mistake of requiring real-world identities? Isn't allowing pseudonymous registration a reasonable compromise? Robert McClenon (talk) 16:54, 7 November 2019 (UTC)
    • In my opinion, that would be a deterrent to someone who would not want to spend a minute to register. I certainly wouldn't want to, especially given their invasiveness - this would make Wikipedia similar to sites like Quora and Pinterest, which would force people to log in. epicgenius (talk) 16:57, 7 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. In theory the OP suggestion is a good idea, as it would be easier to track vandals with registered accounts, vs. vandals who bounce between IP's. However, for those who really do want to make a positive anonymous contribution, this is a simple yet effective barrier that will deter many good-faith edits because of the hassle involved in registration. Not to mention that this would not stop people who are intent on vandalizing. So it would both fail to catch vandalism while driving away potentially good editors. This phenomenon is called a registration wall, and it basically repels users who don't want to create a set of credentials that they may never use again. epicgenius (talk) 16:57, 7 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support – not only because so much of my time is wasted on reverting or repairing IP edits. Only a disappearingly small fraction of IP edits on my watchlist have been useful. The overwhelming majority is either of no use or downright vandalism.
Secondly, it is almost impossible to communicate with IPs, as they very rarely use their own talk pages and in the case of floating IPs these are entirely useless.
Thirdly, and the main issue for me: the mission of Wikipedia has shifted. We are no longer so much building as maintaining an encyclopedia. Building was aided by IPs, we really needed as much input as possible. Maintaining is another line of work entirely, especially when it comes to less visited pages. These often suffer vandalism (or otherwise harmful edits) that goes unnoted for very long periods. Protecting the work that has already gone into Wikipedia will be much aided by requiring registration.
Naturally, registering should be simple and fast. But even that tiny bit of extra work will stop tons of deliberate vandalism.
Exclusion: Not having to waste so much time on IP nonsense will put me in a place where I can be more welcoming and helpful towards new editors. I expect others may react similarly.
Privacy: A username will afford editors much more privacy than an IP.  Mr.choppers | ✎  17:46, 7 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I've wasted too many hours reverting IP vandals but I still think anonymous editors do far more good than harm. I started by making a few IP edits, was satisfied to see the articles improved in a small way, and signed up. I suspect that we gain a lot of good editors that way. We now know that the privilege of editing Wikipedia is well worth jumping through registration hoops, but it may not be obvious to a potential recruit at that stage. Practical considerations aside, we may also feel a moral obligation to remain the encyclopedia anyone can edit. Certes (talk) 23:10, 7 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose while most vandalism is from IPs, we also get many constructive contributions from them. As noted it would make it harder for new users to join Wikipedia. Also it would increase the need for CheckUser since disruption from accounts is more difficult to deal with than unregistered users. Crouch, Swale (talk) 08:39, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. The fact that anyone can edit means the bar for new users is low which is what Wikipedia needs. If you read an article and notice a typo, you are much more likely to fix it if all you have to do is click "edit" and fix it. 99.99% of readers won't register an account just to fix small imperfections that need fixing. The idea that IP editors are all or mostly vandals is without foundation as far as I can tell. In fact, since it's so easy to register an account means that those interested in vandalizing will just do so but most good readers who might be enticed to start editing by making small fixes won't. I for one am pretty sure I wouldn't be around if I had to register before editing because my first edits were IP typo fixes and suchlike and I only registered because I found the ability to edit almost anything fascinating. And I'm pretty sure this applies to a lot of people, including some that now support erecting barriers that would have kept themselves away. Regards SoWhy 20:32, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support this obviously doomed proposal. I don't know whether it would actually curb vandalism or improve editing, but I think it is worth considering that it might help retain new editors - yes, it's a barrier to entry, but it also encourages investment in the site, and generally speaking that encourages return visits. There's a reason why so many commercial sites nowadays try to get users to register - it keeps users coming back. Additionally, the reality is that no matter how much we remind established editors about WP:BITE, IP editors are always going to face disproportionate (if inappropriate) presumption of bad faith; they're more likely to be reverted for the same edits, and likely to encounter suspicion in controversial discussions. New editors are completely unaware of this bias against IPs when they arrive (and therefore won't understand why they're having a bad experience, driving them away); getting everyone to register accounts would reduce this disparity. We might also make it so registering automatically creates a blank userpage by default, since a red name has a similar prejudicial impact. Finally, more generally, Wikipedia was founded when the internet was much younger. Nowadays registeration is taken for granted - it is not burdensome to people who have grown up with it. --Aquillion (talk) 12:37, 11 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - this will free up so much editor time and will thus contribute to content improvement, as well as editor retention because the tiresome treadmill of vandalism will become much smaller. True, a few IP edits are very good. Such good edits take effort, and such effort-exerting people will put forth the tiny effort it takes to register. There are many other reasons in favor of this that I won't repeat as they have been expressed above. -Crossroads- (talk) 07:42, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong support I personally think that if an IP editor is here to make constructive edits, they will be willing to spend seconds to create an account. Puddleglum2.0 Have a talk? 19:49, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I've read all the arguments, seen the statistics, thought about assumptions (e.g. how many of the constructive and valuable IP-editors would choose to register, and how many would stop editing WP). In my own anecdotal experience, most of the edits by the unregistered are constructive, improving the article. A decent number of them correct falsehoods that have been smouldering there for years, others regularly update referenced figures. I guess we all don't know what would happen if everyone had to register an account, but I really don't think it's worth testing. I too, made a number of unregistered edits before I decided to register here, and can easily imagine I wouldn't have even tried if registration had been mandatory. ---Sluzzelin talk 20:07, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. If one really wants to contribute to this project, (barring technical restrictions, or psychological ones, like those guys who are constantly in porn mode) they will register an account. I have never edited Wikipedia as an IP. Futhermore, regarding vandalism, I believe someone so hopeless as to deface a Wikipedia article with "cxxk and bxxxs" has no patience to register an account. If they do? Well, I applaud them, but let us get rid of the majority that do not. Such is my humble opinion. GUYWAN ( t · c ) 18:46, 29 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support I seem to spend half my Wikipedia life reverting IP vandalism. I have limited time and would much prefer that time to br spent on articles. It is far too easy for vandals to disrupt any pages they care to vandalize. Serious contributors do not see a problem in registering their account. David J Johnson (talk) 19:19, 29 November 2019 (UTC)

Comments and discussionEdit

  1. If this is to be something binding then it will need to be turned into an RfC and advertised on WP:CENT. Otherwise, it is simply a local consensus and won't matter.
  2. For those wanting some data about IP edits, I have extracted some specific information from what the WMF reported and placed it here.
     — Berean Hunter (talk) 10:51, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
    Noting that there is data from the database at m:IP Editing: Privacy Enhancement and Abuse Mitigation/Research. It shows that roughly 17% of all edits on this project are by IPs, of which approximately 27% are reverted. That means that roughly 12% of all edits on this project are unreverted IP edits. Risker (talk) 15:17, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
The question is: If we require registration, would those IP editors still make those edits, or would it drive them away?
If the answer is that they would have happily registered (if required), but didn’t bother simply because it wasn’t required... then statistic is meaningless (and we would lose nothing by requiring registration). If registration would drive them away, then the statistic is meaningful (and we would lose a lot).
Has anyone surveyed our IP editors to ask this question? Blueboar (talk) 15:49, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
I think this has been asked in a lot of editor surveys, although probably not in the way you'd think. As I recall, editor surveys showed that somewhere between 80 and 90% of editors made their first edit *before* creating an account (i.e., as IPs). I think everyone who is commenting on this page should be required to state whether their first edit to Wikipedia was as an IP. It's the primary way for us to recruit new editors, always has been, and we really can't afford to close that door. Risker (talk) 15:58, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
  • I think this entire discussion is a very good precursor to a full blown RfC. Depending on what we get here after 30 days will be a very good indication of how to formulate a decent RfC proposal (poor proposal statements are one of the reasons why many RfC fail or simply become too convoluted).
FWIW, Risker, I made about 3 or 4 IP edits before registering. They were only very minor correction to grammar or obvious typos, but if I had been required to register due to the importance of Wikipedia I would have done so. Note that even after registering, I did not immediately become a regular contributor for a year or two until I had retired from my main career. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 00:16, 26 October 2019 (UTC)
A major problem is the number of entirely meaningless or even harmful IP edits that aren't caught. 27% reversal doesn't mean that 73% of IP edits are useful. Also, I often revert in the form of a new edit (not sure how others operate), which may include reverting any number of IP edits that are missed.
What is the reversion ratio of the edits of registered editors?  Mr.choppers | ✎  17:51, 7 November 2019 (UTC)

Comment by KudpungEdit

There is, as yet, absolutely no proof whatsoever that requiring registration would be either a net benefit or a net loss to this Wikipedia. At ACTRIAL which took years to get done due to resistance from the WMF, pressure from the community finally proved all naysayers wrong (and there were many of them). As Peter Southwood explains: ...insufficient data to make a rational statistics based decision. As far as I know, there is no convincing evidence that the current positive effects of IP editing exceed the negative effects or vice versa, and I see no easy way of measuring it. and goes on to say: In the topics that I edit most, my impression is that very little value is added by IP editors, but not very much harm is done either, and what harm there is is mostly fixed quite quickly, by registered editors. My assessment of net value of IP edits in these topics is negative. As stated, IMO logically, by Mandruss: ...but we should not assume that we will lose them if we require registration. It's quite possible that their position is "I don't want to register if I don't have to." And, remember, they are likely just as addicted as we are.

As very recently demonstrated by a Wikipedia constitutional crisis, in times where major Wikipedias need to assert far more independence from the WMF except for essential functions such as legal, hosting, and funds collection, the Founding Principles are not necessarily as relevant as they once were and new principles are required that face up to today's reality. Jimbo Wales' Statement of Principles was written in 2001 (many of our editors, esp. the vandals, are too young to remember) and while it says: You can edit right now, there is nothing that says we cannot append: 'all you need to do is register and it only takes a few seconds' . They do not have to do anything to start contributing to the community - note that the key word is community not encyclopedia corpus. Wikipedia's success to date is entirely a function of our open community - to date = October 2001.

Of all the large Wikipedias, we have roughly double the % of IP edits. This is due to a diversity of reasons, quite importantly because the en.Wiki is the most multicultural of WMF projects. In the German Wikipedia, for example, the high level of registering is due to Germanosphere culture (and my 50 years of experience with it) more than anything else and these are things that computer achieved data cannot evaluate, just as it cannot evaluate the quality/relevance of IP edits or flush out the trash edits that were not manually removed or caught in a filter - and still lurk in their tens of thousands in the corpus. As per Levivich: We sink a lot of time in dealing with IP vandalism. This will reduce that, freeing up editor time.

Here's a suggestion for a compromise:

Without registering you can take part in discussions at any time. You may make a maximum of 4 edits to mainspace (articles) without registering after which you will be required to register and log in. However, without registering you can create a draft article at any time and submit it through AfC, but you will not have the benefits of a registered account.

It won't stop the spontaneous sprees of vandalism though. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk)
  • Given how divided the community seems to be on this issue, this compromise, or something like it, seems like a promising way forward. Levivich 04:55, 26 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose the original proposal. The "compromise" above is obviously unfeasible (who is the "you" who can make a maximum of four edits? per IP address? per day? per person??) We need to make it easier, not harder, for people to click "edit". We're doing pretty well on the "encyclopdedia" part of Wikipedia, we should improve the "free" and "anyone can edit" bits. —Kusma (t·c) 20:56, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
Kusma, my 'compromise' suggestion is clear enough, you've been around long enough to know exactly what I meant. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 16:16, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
Kudpung, okay, so do you mean Wikipedia should introduce tracking cookies to count how many mainspace edits have been made from a specific computer? Or do you suggest that for ISP IP addresses that are often re-used, it should be a game of chance whether a user can edit mainspace, depending on whether they get assigned an IP address that has made more or fewer than four edits? (Ever? In the last year? In the last month?) I assume you mean one of these things, but I can't understand which one, and I don't think either is a particularly good idea. —Kusma (t·c) 17:00, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
Kusma, I don't really care how it would be technically enforced - at least not at this juncture. That said, Media Wiki software has very granular settings and ACTRIAL did not pose a challenge to the devs despite their remonstrances and claims. Nor did the roll out of ACREQ spell the doom and gloom many prophesied - we're still doing pretty well on the "encyclopdedia" part of Wikipedia. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 22:10, 1 November 2019 (UTC)

The point of the good IP editsEdit

I see this as the common theme in the 'oppose' !votes above, so I am interested in the logic and evidence behind these arguments. My thoughts:

  • There is no evidence that of the X% of good edits performed by IPs would also not have been performed when those IPs just have to click through a 'registration' and then make the edit. If that is now 12% (somewhere argued above) would that now go back to .. 10%? 1%? It certainly is not what User:Risker defines as a 'massive amount to lose' (but I agree that some will/may be lost).
  • Whether as an IP or with an account: this is still an encyclopedia that anyone can edit. There is no restriction that IPs cannot create an account, anyone can create an account and edit.
  • Accounts vandalise as well, sure, but I do not believe that the majority of accounts vandalise whereas that is true for IPs.
  • A good IP can not always be communitcated with (same is true for a bad IP) as they move to a different IP and the discussion is 'broken'. It is easier to praise a named account (who then may stay) then an IP who may never see the message if they already moved somewhere else.

--Dirk Beetstra T C 08:26, 29 October 2019 (UTC)

Beetstra, your basic premise (that the majority of IPs vandalize) is already empirically shown to be untrue; only 27% of edits of IPs are reverted for any reason (including "suboptimal" edits such as making good faith edits without references), so that is nowhere near the majority. Did you make even one edit as an IP before you registered an account? Risker (talk) 15:47, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
(inserted)I don't want to get involved in this discussion and I don't have stats to offer or a solution to suggest, but there is a problem and it is getting worse. Take a look at my editing history from just yesterday for example; text search for "Reverted edits by" and look at some of the IP edits I reverted in that short time frame. The first step in finding a solution is recognizing that a a problem exists. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 09:05, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
Risker, nope, that is not my premise. Even if 99% of the edits by IPs are good, then that still does not mean that ALL of them, or even a majority of them, would not do these edits when they were asked/forced to login. You have no evidence that we loose all these editors, I don’t have any evidence that they would edit just as well. But that is your premise, that we loose all of that, and I don’t believe it. Dirk Beetstra T C 16:55, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
The question is, why don't you believe it? The majority of people participating in this thread haven't answered the core question, which is "did you edit as an IP before you registered an account?". There's past evidence that this is the case, although I'm having a hard time finding it. So...did you? I doubt very much I would have ever registered an account, and I certainly wouldn't have in order to fix a typo. In fact, I probably would have stopped reading Wikipedia because there were too many junky articles. Risker (talk) 17:02, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
Risker, I am not sure if I edited as an IP (maybe, but I am somewhat account savvy, realising the benefits early on). I did accidentally edit while logged out, edit I think I suppress after I had access to revdel. That people got hooked after changing a couple of things as an IP is also not a guarantee that they would not have done those things if they were forced to create an account on their first edit. I agree that it seems intuitive, that a lot of people would say ‘**** it’ if they get that question, but neither of us have any numbers to back that up. Especially since it is an easy sell: to keep your identifying info invisible you have to create an account. Dirk Beetstra T C 03:59, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
I hesitated to answer this question, since as you stated elsewhere, we should be working with data, not anecdotal evidence. (I did not, but since I have no idea if my particular rationale for not doing so is widely held, I don't think anything can be deduced from this info.) Plus, times change. Web surfers are increasingly used to registering accounts (or re-using their login credentials from Facebook, Google, and the like), and Wikipedia's rising ubiquity provides an ever-more tempting lure for readers to create accounts to edit. So trying to extrapolate from the experiences of those who started editing years ago (either as a registered user, or as a long-term unregistered user) will only be partially applicable to today. isaacl (talk) 04:53, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
FWIW I registered an account before making my first edit.--Ymblanter (talk) 09:23, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
So...did you? Yes, I did – because I could. Had I been required to spend two minutes creating an account, while divulging absolutely nothing traceable to my real-world identity (not even a throw-away email address), I would have done so. I have willingly given more information to YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, Consumer Reports, Hulu, Yahoo, PayPal, and others because I felt the benefits justified the risks, and I've yet to regret a single case. But your assertion that this is "the core question" is false; if every participant stated whether they did or did not, the results would not be particularly meaningful to this issue. ―Mandruss  10:30, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
There may be no evidence, yes, but I can remember many websites, in some I've been an active participant, which requiring registration affected them heavily (in a bad way). I mean, when an IP is reading an article and notices a typo, grammatical error etc, they can simply edit and fix it. When we require registration for that, they will have to take the process of choosing a username which nobody have chosen before, choosing a password, and registring into the Wikipedia, just to fix a simple typo. To my experience, many people would just leave it be.
Accounts don't vandalise as much, but one reason can be the existance of IP editing in Wikipedia. When all contributors to this project become users, I guess we will have to deal with a larger amount of user vandals.
In terms of communication, we can invite them to register (as we already do if I'm not mistaken). Communicating with IP editors isn't easy, I admit it, but (part of) this can be the result of not paying enough attention to IPs. I mean, can't we develop more tools so we can communicate with them easier than now? Ahmadtalk 09:45, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
No, we can't develop more tools so we can communicate with them easier than now, because IP addresses change. The "tool" that solves that problem is registration. Just about every website in the world besides Wikipedia requires registration. Yet, they still have millions of registered, active users (think of any social networking site, even the new ones like TikTok). This more or less proves that registration doesn't stop people from participating in a website. I don't understand why (1) anyone thinks registration is an impediment to user growth, and (2) anyone thinks that if we require registration we will no longer be "the encyclopedia anyone can edit" (if anyone can register, then anyone can still edit). Levivich 15:42, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
On the communication point: it is already practically impossible to communicate with an IPv6 editor via their talk page, because their discrete IP rotates rapidly, sometimes from one edit to the next, and you can't ping nor post on the talk page of an IP range. I'm not sure that preventing IP editing is the right way to address that, but our current broadly-accepted method is attention-getting blocks, which is also not ideal. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 16:04, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, but (in that specific case) we're talking about a social network, not a free encyclopedia. In a social network like, say, twitter, I can't vandalise someone else's tweet, but I can vandalise a lot of things in Wikipedia simply because anyone can edit it. Besides, people can write almost anything they want in a social network; they can give personal comments about anything, what we don't accept at all. As a result, they enjoy joining social networks. There is one thing I need to clarify: I know that millions of people will still edit Wikipedia after this, as Wikipedia (especially enwiki) is big enough for that. And I admit, communicating with IPs is really hard, maybe almost impossible in some cases. However, I'm aware of all the good things they do. I've been an active RC patroller in fawiki for some time now, I've seen many IPs emptying articles, swearing the article's subject etc, and I've blocked many of them. At the same time, I've seen IPs clearing vandalism and doing gnoming stuff. The main point, in my opinion, is that we will most likely lose a part of our contributors (which involves vandals and good-faith editors), so we need to evaluate it carefully and see if it can help us to a (somehow) large extend or not. I think we're (in general, I mean) focusing on IP vandals a little too much, ignoring good aspects of IP editing in Wikipedia. Ahmadtalk 17:11, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
Actually, on most networks, the IPv6 IPs are *more* static than then IPv4 ones. They should, in fact, be *easier* to communicate with, not more difficult, in most cases. But this is not a particularly relevant point; we have plenty of evidence that (many to most) registered accounts don't respond to messages either; so much so that we even had to make "you're expected to respond to messages" an expectation in our policy for administrator conduct. Risker (talk) 17:34, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
+1 (And some don't response even after the "you're expected to respond to messages" message.) Ahmadtalk 17:43, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
In my experience IPv6 /64 subnet assignments are very stable (moreso than IPv4 /32s), but discrete assignments within /64s are highly dynamic, lasting minutes to hours before a new discrete address is assigned within the same /64 subnet. My understanding is that's how IPv6 is meant to work, based on meta:Help:Range blocks/IPv6. So if I see something problematic from an IPv6 editor, by the time I notice and get to their talk page to leave them a note, they're already on a different address within the /64 and they don't get any notification about my message. It can also be that discrete addresses within the /64 are assigned to individual LAN end-users on the same WAN connection (like IPv4 NAT) but I've not seen that as often, and even then the assignments don't seem very stable. Users ignoring messages is a different issue, I'm talking about messages not being delivered to the right user in the first place. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 17:33, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
@Ahmad252, Risker, Levivich, and Ivanvector: that current editors do not respond when you know they got the message is not the issue: that is evidence of bad manners or even of bad intentions. It is however the root of my problem with IPs. Yes, a lot of people do not repond when they do get the message, but on a rotating IP a lot of editors do not get the message in the first place. Spam-edit by IP1, message to IP1, spam-edit on IP2, message to IP2 ...thaose warning are unlikely to be read. If they are forced to make an account while on a rotating IP then they will at least not accidentally miss the message. They may intentionally make single-edit accounts (in which case they also would miss the message onthe first account), but then on the 2nd edit (or at least at the 3rd) you have evideence of bad intent. Now with IPs I would wait until we get to IP 4 or 5 just to try and communicate before giving up (and I do give up, I blacklist with 4 different IPs using a shady url, even if there are no warnings, I have no choice). Still, there will be cases where an IP may have been editing in good faith. So, we may lose editors because they may not want to make an account .. we lose editors because they do not make an account. Again, we have no numbers to back up any of these. --Dirk Beetstra T C 04:15, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
A few years ago, Beetstra, I probably would have agreed that it would be hard to miss a message when using a registered account. Now, in the absence of the big yellow banner, I can be actively editing for hours after a message is received if I don't look at my emails; that little yellow tag on the top of the page is almost invisible, and I almost never notice it. On the rare time when I do notice it, I always mumble under my breath because clicking it just takes me to my talk page, instead of the new message(s). I do believe it is exactly why we have seen an increase in lack of response from all kinds of editors. Now, I realize it was designed this way with feedback from a lot of editors, many of whom hated being interrupted with a "new message" while in the midst of editing, but as a communication flag, it's pretty awful. Having said that, we're really getting far off topic. Risker (talk) 04:29, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
Risker, the not seeing that you have a message as a logged in/out editor is indeed far of topic (note: your remark above "... so that we even had to make "you're expected to respond to messages" an expectation in our policy for administrator conduct" and now finding an excuse that you don't often see the message (and I have the same) makes me wonder how we can even enforce that).
The fact that logged out editors who hop around on IPs do not get a message is not off topic. The excuse for static IPs (and administrators alike) 'I did not see that I had a message until now' is not really an excuse, I tried to communicate with you, now don't back out that you missed the message. It is however an excuse for logged out editors who hop around on IPs.
All in all, there are many problems with IP editing, even if they do a lot of good work. We talk about vandalism a lot, but it also does not really make sense to praise an IP, the editor may by then already be on another IP (which does not mean we shouldn't praise .. but I expect that IPs are much less praised than logged in users because editors know that that IP may on the next edit be occupied by a vandal who sees the praise, and the actual editor may never see the praise). Dirk Beetstra T C 07:01, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
Beetstra, we should probably create another subsection for communication concerns. I know, we somehow can't praise IP editors as much, so yes, I admit that we may lose some potential editors. But, though I've never been an IP-editor before creating my account, IP editing is sometimes the first step for people to enter Wikipedia. That's the first impression, I believe; that gives them a general feeling about Wikipedia. An IP-editor may never see the praise (though I believe it isn't that unlikely for them to see it), but the feeling of fixing a problem in Wikipedia? They are likely to come back, no matter they see the praise or not, because they will probably see more minor issues in the articles they read everyday. And one day, hopefully, they are likely to create an accout in my opinion. Also, to my experience, IPs don't change that much. When fighting an IP vandal, I sometimes revert their edits three (or even four) times before blocking them, but the IP address doesn't change. Also, when I block them for some time, they rarely come back with a different IP to evade their block. It's the same case about constructive IP editors. I mean, I agree that communicating with IPs has its own challenges, but after all, is it always (or in most cases) that serious?
Also, I believe that this needs to be emphasized that we are losing a part of our potential editors anyways. As I said, I think a part of it is about "the first impression", while it has other reasons like what you mentioned above. We need to, generally, try to attract people to actually write this encyclopedia, not just to read it. Now, I think we need some numbers, maybe some comments from experienced, long-term RC patrollers as well, to actually evaluate this. I think it would be better if we first discuss this, and then come back to this discussion on registration requirement. We need to know more about IP editing on Wikipedia; more than some IP vandals, and more than some helpful IP editors we've seen around. This change (registration requirement) will have both short-term and long-term effects, so some numbers can be truely helpful in this case. Ahmadtalk 16:22, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
Ahmad252, my experience is different .. see e.g. [[2]]. 5 link additions, 5 IPs, 2 wikis. And I have a lot of those. You see vandals who do 4 edits from one account, because you do not know that one vandal is using 4 different IPs, or if it are 4 vandals. And that situation is awful, you may think that you give 10 vandals a level 1 good faith remark ... while actually you give 1 physical person 10 level 1 remarks. Or 10 of us may waste time giving 1 physical vandal 10 level 1 remarks.
Again the ‘most editors start of as an IP’ .. you have NO data if that would be different if we would enforce creating accounts. 9 out of 10 may just as well start an account immediately if they see an error if they can’t fix it without account. And yes, it may be 1 out of 10. We have no clue. But with account creation a vandal will get those 4 warnings, unless they are so persistent that they actually create 4 accounts to vandalise. We know what we likely are going to lose: hit and run vandalism, we have no clue if we would lose (or even gain!) many new editors. The latter is in any form a complete guess. Dirk Beetstra T C 17:23, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for that example, Beetstra. I just remembered a similar case, thanks to you. Yes, I agree that a vandal can use different IPs to continue vandalising Wikipedia, but they can create another account as well, right? I mean, to my knowledge, the limit is 6 accounts per day; a physical person who has an interest in vandalising Wikipedia can (ab)use multiple accounts in order to do it. And yes, I think a vandal who uses multiple IPs to vandalise Wikipedia can be that persistent to create multiple accounts. Some do it just because they find it funny, others may do so to insert a promotional link, we all know a lot about it. Also, I think we will probably experience an increase in the number of sockpuppet investigations. Good to see we have an active checkuser team here. Nonetheless, I think we'll still have to deal with such cases we currently have with some IPs (and some sockpuppeters), and I don't think this decreases the number of such cases dramatically (again, a simple guess).
Regarding that "no data" issue... Yes, that is really annoying; we can't really know. It may be one of the main reasons of the disagreement between users. Personally speaking, I have no clue of what this can cause, it's just a guess based on my personal experience. But I mean, more basically, we can compare IP edits with user edits in large scales. I know it isn't directly related to our current discussion, but is related to the subject of the thread in my opinion. Ahmadtalk 18:36, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
Ahmad252, sure, the more persistent vandal will make 6 accounts (spammers for sure, it pays their bills ...), but most vandals will not make that effort. As an IP ... It’s too easy. However, will the OCD IP editor make an account to repair that ‘stupid mistake’ ... yes, most will, just as that they now will do as an IP.
I would be in favour of an experiment .... we need this data to make an informed decision. Dirk Beetstra T C 19:54, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
Beetstra, yes, UPE editors working on an article are even more likely to create tens of those socks, I've seen (and requested CU for) many.
The point about the "experiment" is that enwiki is different from most WMF projects. English Wikipedia is somehow an international project with so many editors, we can barely simulate this situation on any other wiki willing to run an experiment at the same time. That's why I'm worried about this: We really have no idea of what that can happen.
I would also recommend contacting WMF to see if they can give us any useful data on this (not necessarily now, we can do it later. I have a feeling that we're going to discuss this again in the future). After all, they have authorized access to a lot of personal data collected from visitors (which we don't, not only us but also the functionary team). Ahmadtalk 20:22, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
Ahmad252, WMF is considering to 'spoof' IP names, they are not even considering to see whether enforcing account creation is an option, or at least to measure it. I agree about the worry, it may very well greatly improve our situation, or it may cost us a lot of new editors ... Dirk Beetstra T C 05:36, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

The real problem with IP editing is not vandalism but the fact that a growing number of IPs have a hobby of changing numbers and other simple facts. I gave this example a couple of times above, and that error is still there after 16 days. I notice that kind of problem because the number was changed so much that the template generated an error. I see over a dozen like that every week, but I only see changes that generate errors. There must be many more where, for example, "Born 12 May 1962" is changed to "Born 4 July 1966" with no explanation and no hope of follow up—asking a shifting IP why they make changes like that is a waste of time. An IP cannot be indeffed whereas an account who makes unexplained changes without responding will end up indeffed. An account has reputation—if someone with hundreds of edits and a clean talk page and block log makes a few changes like that, we can hope they are good. Too many IPs make changes for the results to be checked. Johnuniq (talk) 00:11, 31 October 2019 (UTC)

I come across these several times a day. Not because of any alerts, but because of the sheer number of articles in my 33,000 watchlist. When I see an edit by an IP in my watchlist, I check it out and it's almost always vandalism of the kind of sly changes that goes unnoticed. Probably the next most frequent type are genre changes. IMO there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of such subtle vandalism lurking in the corpus. Very few of the non vandalism IP edits in my watchlist are useful and still have to be reverted. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 15:57, 1 November 2019 (UTC)
This - and 27% only represents the number of bad IP edits that are actually caught and acted upon.  Mr.choppers | ✎  17:56, 7 November 2019 (UTC)
I fully agree with these comments. Maybe my view is skewed because I mostly look for spam in high-traffic articles. But 27% is nowhere near a realistic value in my experience. The value of "bad" edits including all kinds of bad edits (vandalism, spam, advertising, personal commentary, soapboxing, deliberate or unintentional spreading of false information) is probably closer to 70 or 80 percent. Anyway, this uncertainty about the actual situation in question could be helped with further unbiased research and tests. GermanJoe (talk) 20:35, 15 November 2019 (UTC)

How would this affect countries where Wikipedia is blocked?Edit

As you probably know to edit from here in Turkey (and I think also from China) we need to use a VPN and apply for ip block exemption. I think most potential editors in Turkey would want to edit Turkish Wikipedia and most people who would like to edit Turkish Wikipedia are in Turkey. If this proposal was accepted could all edits to Turkish Wikipedia be automatically ip block exempt? If so is there any downside for Turkish Wikipedia?Chidgk1 (talk) 18:17, 8 November 2019 (UTC)

This might be outside the jurisdiction of the English Wikipedia, which has little to no authority over the Turkish Wikipedia. From AnUnnamedUser (open talk page) 21:04, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
So is this page just about English Wikipedia? If so perhaps it should be made clearer at the top of the page. I suppose from what you are saying that each language Wikipedia can make its own policy about whether to require registration? So I will ask on Turkish Wikipedia.Chidgk1 (talk) 15:41, 9 November 2019 (UTC)
I seem to remember an article in the Signpost about this, though I can't find it now - Chinese editors attempting to use and edit English Wikipedia have to apply for IP exemptions, and something like it, every time they edit. Or, if not that, there are definite hurdles and barriers towards editing put in place for them that most people do not face. In considering IP bans, we need to consider everyone who uses our Wikipedia, otherwise we fall short of Wikipedia's aims. --Ineffablebookkeeper (talk) 13:39, 27 November 2019 (UTC)

It is easy for an unregistered user to vandalize an articleEdit

"It is easy for an unregistered user to vandalize an article which many of us have gone through a lot of trouble to write", but it is still much more easier for a registered user to vandalize an article which many of unregistered user have gone through a lot of trouble to write.

In fact what lacks here is a definition of vandalism and appropriate talk:

  • Vandalism is not a fact. The French says "Quand on veut noyer un chien, on dit qu'il a la rage" (If you want to hang your dog you give him a bad name first).
  • Talk is a key, anytime someone has a different view, you cannot avoid it. Wikipedia provides a talk page.
  • Wikipedia has freely worked during nearly twenty years, near one quarter century, without banning IP. Why should it change?

I have a dream that unregistered users will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their avatar, but by the content of their contribution. I have a dream today! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:11, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

Rate limit as prod to registerEdit

Is there yet a general realization that Wikipedia is a proud shining obelisk inscribed with much knowledge in all the scripts of the world, but made of chalk and drenched in a corrosive continual acid rain?

The above concern is what prompts me to check my watchlist and/or scan recent changes near every day. It freaks me out when I see vandalism and/or plain bad edits from *years* ago that were not caught because there is not enough effort put into checking edits.

I see Kudpung's proposal above (4 IP edits then must register). Aside from the inability to handle IP's that are shared/reassigned rapidly enough that IP doesn't reliably equal personage, it misses engaging the motivation of the good editor that we want to register. The good editor wants to fix things, correct problems, add to the content. They want to edit and we want them to. We don't want members of the ha-ha brigade to edit a few pages and scramble off. We want to stop or limit them. Let's combine these desires into one limit.

Limit IP's to one article space edit per day. Vandals can't do what they want to do - and we get relief. Good editors can't do what they want to do - and are motivated to register. Bad guys go away, good guys eventually register because they want to do good.

This proposal is the extension of the other restrictions on article space edits based on number of edits, SEMI and ECP. Why were those useful? There were 'target' pages which needed to be 'specially' protected. Given my concern above, I feel all pages here need protection from vandalism.

If you don't agree now, scan Recent Changes every day until you do. I have 2900+ pages on my watchlist. Some days I never get off my watchlist for fixing vandalism. I'd really like to get off the status quo of "It'll be alright, my leg is only a little on fire..." Shenme (talk) 04:31, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

This is a very good idea! One edit per day without registering seems like a great incentive to register. Best,  Mr.choppers | ✎  18:45, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
Suppoer. deisenbe (talk) 09:20, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
@Shenme: These "imbedded alternatives" rarely get much attention and you'd do better to present this separately after the close of the main proposal (assuming it fails). Whether to give it a hearing at WP:VPI first is your call, but that should be considered as it can help identify hidden flaws in the proposal. ―Mandruss  17:28, 17 November 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Are bloggers WP:RS??Edit

Cassie_Jaye mentions the opinion of a random blogger (David Futrelle, who runs a website called We Hunted the Mammoth). I thought Wikipedia included opinions from primary reliable sources, and not bloggers? Or, am I missing something? (Please ping me when responding) —Srid🍁 00:21, 12 November 2019 (UTC)

I assume you're talking about, Her effort was strongly criticized by ... David Futrelle ... who said it looked like propaganda. I don't see a fundamental problem with that. We're not taking Futrelle's statement as a fact, we're just reporting on what he wrote. Actually, the way it's in the article, we're not even doing that; we're reporting on The Guardian's summary of what he wrote, and The Guardian certainly is a WP:RS. No comment on the rest of the article, but I think we're fine with this particular issue. -- RoySmith (talk) 00:32, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
Ah, I overlooked the fact that the reference was The Guardian. But, if it had been his weblog URL instead, that would not be acceptable, right? —Srid🍁 00:38, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
Before we can assess reliability, we need to examine this in terms of UNDUE WEIGHT. Who is David Futrelle, and why should we care what his opinion is? Blueboar (talk) 01:07, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
Reliability and WP:UNDUE are unrelated concepts. If David Futrelle writes a blog and says, "the sky is blue", and we say, "David Futrelle has said, 'the sky is blue'", with a citation to his where he said it, I don't see any issues vis-a-vis WP:RS. Whether it's useful for us to say that, or a violation of WP:UNDUE, or whether that contributes to WP:N, is another question. But, WP:RS isn't the issue here. -- RoySmith (talk) 02:06, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
I agree with RoySmith. We often ask "Is this source reliable?" when we really mean "Should this be mentioned in this article at all?" WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:22, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
I feel I should point out that if it's just someone's personal weblog and hasn't been published or talked about elsewhere then it's likely WP:BLPSPS will apply since from what I can tell, this seems to be material about a living person. If it was focused on the movie in an article on the movie it may be acceptable although I agree it seems likely it would be undue and it's probably easiest to remove it for that reason rather than concentrating on other things outside of BLP cases. Note that Wikipedia:Verifiability#Self-published sources would also come into play i.e. "Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert". While it's possible that someone is such without an article on either the person or the blog, IMO it's rare and David Futrelle and We Hunted the Mammoth are both red links. Nil Einne (talk) 07:45, 25 November 2019 (UTC)

Use of direct transclusion in portals and the newer portal transclusion templatesEdit

This is a formal request to receive input from the Wikipedia community regarding a relatively specialized aspect of Wikipedia's portals, the transclusion of content in portals using the newer portal transclusion templates, in hopes that a firm consensus can be formed regarding:

  1. The general use of direct transclusion in portals, specifically, if a consensus can be formed to formally approve or disapprove of this technique, and
  2. The use of the portal transclusion templates in relation to said transclusion.

North America1000 03:17, 13 November 2019 (UTC)

A previous short-lived RfC regarding this matter here was opened on 9 November 2019 (UTC) and closed on 11 November 2019 (UTC). At that discussion, its procedural closure was based upon the notion that this 2017 discussion set a precedent and consensus for the use of these transclusion templates. However, that discussion dates back to 2017, and consensus can change. Furthermore, the 2017 discussion occurred before the templates were developed and utilized, and since that time opinions have become more divided in various areas of Wikipedia about the use of transclusions in portals.

This RfC involves the following templates:

  • Content transclusion templates
  • Content slideshow templates

Some examples regarding divided opinions and concerns about the use of these templates in portals can be perused at the following discussions. More examples exist in various areas of Wikipedia. Some users feel that the use of transclusions to present article content is an improvement, because it provides verbatim content to that which is in articles and other areas of Wikipedia, as compared to copied and pasted content on portal subpages that can become outdated. Of note is that some portal subpages are now using the transclusion templates as well. Other users have stated that the use of transclusions to present article and other content is inherently problematic because no firm consensus for their use appears to have ever been formed, or that no consensus exists at this time for their use. To assist in finding content in these discussions in relation to said transclusion and these templates, I recommend utilizing the find feature in your browser and searching for "transc". This is because the general term is referred to using different words in various discussions, such as "transclusions", "transcluded", "transcluding", etc.

It is my hope that this discussion can remain focused upon direct content transclusion in portals in relation to these specific templates, rather than morphing into a larger general discussion about whether or not portals are wanted by the community, the merits or problems of portals, etc. In this manner, the discussion can stay hopefully stay on-topic in a focused, organized manner. North America1000 03:17, 13 November 2019 (UTC)

Discussion on use of direct transclusion in portals and the newer portal transclusion templatesEdit

  • Support the use of the content templates as a modernized means to keep portals up-to-date with verbatim content to that which appears in articles and other areas of Wikipedia, with a caveat that navbox-clone style portals that involve no curation whatsoever should not be created. I also support the use of the content slideshow templates as a means to provide more options in portal design, updating and maintenance. North America1000 03:19, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
    • Is it possible to also maintain a separate subpage containing all the transcluded article portions, just for eyeball reference? I think having such a thing would go a long way towards resolving the objection that this format makes it harder to see what content is being produced for the main portal page. bd2412 T 03:54, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
I think they are referring to using the "|showall= " parameter in {{Transclude random excerpt }} as seen at Portal:Canada/Indices#Featured articles in portal (scrolling list).--Moxy 🍁 06:23, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Both methods appear to provide the sort of transparency that allows any editor to easily verify or audit such a list of what in prior construction methods used to be called "subpages". BusterD (talk) 12:31, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm fine with it as long as some means are maintained by which editors can see the full set of topics and their presentation on the main portal page without having to click through each one individually. bd2412 T 16:06, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • One technique is for the main portal page to transclude a subpage consisting of {{Transclude random excerpt}}, with a |showall=yes flag inside a noinclude tag, plus any surrounding decoration. Using a subpage also reduces the risk of timeout errors, which might occur if a single page parses every article in every section rather than just one per section as in the main portal. Certes (talk) 16:58, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. One of the side effects of WP:ENDPORTALS was the creation of tools to automate the freshening of portals. If some editors would like to see existing portals improved not deprecated, I agree the transclusion of already created tools to automate time consuming tasks associated with portal maintenance might satisfy some issues often mentioned in mfd "delete" assertions. I do not see any harm in using these tools to improve exisitng portalspace. BusterD (talk) 04:14, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support with the example Portal:Canada of what I believe incorporates all the features of a transclusion portal at its best. That said even an automated portal like this will still need mantainers to assure that FA and GA selections are updated/removed when demoted or more vital articles added when promoted. Will also need to watchover DYK and news to assure they keep functioning. Pls note would still vote for all portals to be eliminated......but think if we have them the Canada portal is what we should be striving for as per the info page Wikipedia:Portal#Purposes of portals.--Moxy 🍁 05:06, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support as a means of improving portals and keeping them up-to-date and accurate. This is a no-brainer really, a simple and straightforward way to easily create snippets of relevant content about a topic. I do think a manual system should be kept in place as well, in case the portal creator/maintainer wants things written or displayed somewhat different than the transclusions give. ɱ (talk) 06:27, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Allow direct transclusion, but do not mandate it. It is very useful for having portal content update automatically (this avoids embarrassment especially with BLPs). The main downside is that article lead sections are often not made for being transcluded onto portals, and automated image selection is usually inferior to hand-curated images. To see whether problems exist (which can be hard with random transclusion), overview pages like Portal:Germany/Selected cuisine can be used (by using a subpage for this that is also used on the main portal page, the content on the overview and content used on the portal are automatically in sync). —Kusma (t·c) 06:42, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • As per my posts at Wikipedia_talk:Portal/Guidelines/Archive_6#Portals_are_moribund, I think lede transclusion is a good idea, but it pre-supposes that Portals are a good idea, and the merit of portals in their entirety or all but the top 10-100 is under serious doubt. Lede transclusion does remove the problem of aging content forks in abandoned portals. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:45, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Portals have shifted in purpose over the last decade to be a navigational tool and to highlight featured content, as opposed to their original "magazine-like" role. Transclusion makes it significantly easier to update these pages and allows for more content to be quickly added to portal space. (I think we all agree that automating the creation of portals using these tools is a no-go.) SportingFlyer T·C 08:39, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support, per Kusma. As I understand it, these templates resulted from an impressive impetus to enliven portals, after a long community discussion to delete all portals failed c. 2 years ago. The side-effect of how well they worked was that one user created a large range of very narrow-topic portals that subsequently had to be deleted. Poor use of a powerful tool should not affect any decision to deploy that tool in the right way. It shouldn't be a requirement, but it should be available to help maintain or enhance the apppearance or functionality of Portals as 'topic-tasters' or 'shop windows' into broad subject areas. Nick Moyes (talk) 09:53, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support (as a contributor to a Lua module supporting this feature). Transclusions keep text up to date and avoid content forking. However, Kusma makes good points above and we should stress that use of these templates is optional. Wikiprojects and individual editors may provide custom text where this is more appropriate than an article's lede, but should be prepared to maintain it. Certes (talk) 11:07, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. Transclusions keep portals up to date, make maintenance easier and decrease the need for a giant net of convoluted sub-pages. Direct excerpts from articles should all be transclusions (if possible, with some exceptions), to avoid "stale content forks", as some users call it. I have considered this to be consenus and part of best practices already, but I guess there is a need for a formal consensus. If we want to portals to be more appealing and useful to the general public and our editors, then I believe transclusions to be a necessary building block on the way to this new kind of portal design. Of course we should keep developing existing and new transclusion templates/modules. There are flaws and bugs and even the best tools can be misused, but that is just the way of things in software development. Things get improved over time and sometimes a tool turns out to have more than one use case. --Hecato (talk) 11:19, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. I already have used transclusions here as it effectively kills the argument that portals are not updated or maintained enough. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 17:54, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support the option of using these where it makes sense. They may not be the solution for every portal, but that is something editors can decide as they work on specific portals. --RL0919 (talk) 19:37, 13 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Procedural close. This RFC is gaming the system.
This RFC has ben carefully framed by NA!K to exclude any mention of the concern which I have raised repeatedly for a month: that the use of transclusion templates to create a portal with no visible lists of articles. This impedes scrutiny, and leads to non-detection of the very poor quality lists which NA1K has made (see e.g. the discussions at WP:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Ghana and WP:Miscellany for deletion/Portal:Transport, where I demonstrated severe problems with NA1K's list-making).
This issue of visible lists has been the subject of heated disputes between me and NA1K for over a month, so there is simply no way that NA1K could have been unaware of the nature of my concerns. I have repeatedly asked NA1K to work with me to build a neutrally-framed RFC, but instead NA1K has acted unilaterally to create an RFC question which focuses only on the technical issue and omits the the key point in dispute about how such templates have been used to impede analysis of their work. Other approaches are possible, as seen at e.g. Portal:Wind power (which uses transclusions of the articles in a visible list), but NA1K has chosen not to mention those examples.
I have posted a longer note[3] about this at WP:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#NA1K_is_gaming_the_system_again. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 02:36, 14 November 2019 (UTC)
@BrownHairedGirl: I believe the discussion above (below NA1K's vote) is essentially what you're talking about. There are some ways in which transclusion can be used, while also allowing for scrutiny and easy maintenance. For instance, using {{Transclude random excerpt}} on a subpage to create an index page, and then transcluding that page into the portal. From the way I read it, I don't think this RFC is attempting to explicitly endorse the transclusion method that involves using {{Transclude random excerpt}} with article titles hard-coded into the template parameters, which, as I understand it, is the problematic portal design that you have been criticizing. ‑Scottywong| [prattle] || 02:45, 14 November 2019 (UTC)
@Scottywong: I am trying to keep up with multiple discussions in the midst of an ANI pile-on, so I still haven't written the reply I needed to make to you on my talk page to clarify this issue. So we still have some crossed wires.
However, the fact remains that the core issue in dispute in the last month's drama has been the lack of a visible list ... and NA1K chose to frame the RFC without even mentioning that. There is indeed some discussion on that point, but it has been carefully omitted both from the question and from NA1K's post describing their view. That means that the question may be overlooked by many participants and possibly by the closer.
My concern is not directly with which of the forest of templates is used, but with the resulting impediments to scrutiny and usability. The question has been asked the wrong way around: instead of "what output do we want", NA!K has has asked how to do it, without even acknowledging that there is an other goal at stake. NA1K has repeatedly ignored my offers to work together to frame a neutral question, and has instead chosen to focus on the technicalities of how without even acknowledging the why.
This focus on technicalities has been a persistent problem of portals. There has been reams of discussion on the nuances of the Rube Goldberg machine structure, but almost none of the actual substance, which is the list of articles displayed. (Even the discontinued featured portals process had many reviews where there was no assessment at all of the quality and balance of articles in the list). This is all obsessing over the wrapper while the core is ignored ... which is presumably why NA1K is so offended by criticism of their blatantly POV list-making at P:Transport, and of their drive-by list-making at dozens of other portals where they made precisely zero effort to even notify the relevant WikiProjects that changes had happened, let alone to facilitate scrutiny by ensuring that there was a linked list and explaining how the articles were chosen (NA1K never went further than describing a quality threshold, and even that wa usually qualified).
Note that there has never even been an RFC on whether this production of one-at-a-time excerpts (with pure to see next) is a good way to display the list, now that built-in-previews are available to logged-out readers. (If excerpt generation was abandoned, most of the complexity and all of these transclusion templates would go too, as was done in any Germany-related portals). That was one of the questions which I wanted an RFC such as this this to address. But this RFC is carefully structured to omit that question too. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 03:26, 14 November 2019 (UTC)
I agree with the concerns raised above. This project thrives on transparency, and whatever means is used to generate content for portals (or, for that matter in infoboxes and other template setups used in various spaces) should provide complete transparency to easily enable any reasonably competent user to see everything that will be potentially displayed to the reader. If the transclusion method proposed above is adopted, some additional measure will be required to ensure this transparency. BD2412 T 03:44, 14 November 2019 (UTC)
BD2412, fortunately those measures already exist (the showall parameter), compare the examples mentioned by Moxy and myself. I think their use is good practice, but I don't think we should enforce a particular method of showing all potential content, at least not yet. —Kusma (t·c) 09:16, 14 November 2019 (UTC)
@Kusma:, Yes, they exist. They need to be uniformly implemented. BD2412 T 23:57, 14 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support allowing but not mandating transclusion in portal design. However, I'm somewhat confused why this RfC is necessary at all, because I don't believe that transclusion was outlawed before this RfC. I know that BrownHairedGirl has vocally lobbied against certain forms of transclusion (specifically, using the {{Transclude random excerpt}} template with a bunch of article titles hard-coded into the template parameters), because some methods can severely reduce the visibility of the content that is being selected for the portal, and can make maintenance far more tedious, and I would agree that that is a valid concern. I don't think that small RfC's on extremely narrow portal topics is what we need right now. Instead, I think we need to develop a solid guideline for portals that provides best practices for building portals, inclusion criteria for portals, and other important information. I intend to moderate a discussion among portal power users to develop these guidelines, but I fear that there may be too much animosity among rival factions to get anything done. Either way, I'll try. If you'd like to participate, let me know. ‑Scottywong| [chatter] || 02:42, 14 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as written on the grounds that there is no obvious reason for this question, and so it is probably a trick question. As User:Scottywong has noted, there has never been a policy or guideline discouraging the use of transclusion in portals. There may never been any guidelines about portals, but that is a different issue. In multiple MFD discussions of portals, the advocates of portals have repeatedly argued that a decision was made in 2018 not to deprecate portals, and have unsuccessfully argued it to avoid the deletion of specific portals. This question appears to be an attempt to gain approval to use a particular type of transclusion in portals, and therefore to argue that all portals using this transclusion must be kept. For this reason I request that this RFC either be Procedurally Closed or Clarified. In the absence of an explanation of why this RFC is necessary, other than as a ruse to justify all portals that use a particular type of transclusion, I will oppose. I am aware that this RFC will be closed with a decisive consensus to allow transclusion, and that advocates of portals will now argue that all portals that are converted to use transclusion should be kept. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:46, 14 November 2019 (UTC)
    • @Robert McClenon:, I don't see how "transclusion is permissible" can translate into "portals using transclusion must be kept". If someone tomorrow were to create a Portal:Toenails or Portal:Frank Darabont, no matter how perfectly transcluded the content was, there would hardly be a reasonable argument for its existence. BD2412 T 00:01, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
      • User:BD2412 - Then what is the purpose of this RFC? What is it changing? There is no reason why this RFC is necessary unless it is either to permit something that is not currently permitted, or for use as an argument against the deletion of portals? What is the reason for this RFC, and why isn't the originator, User:Northamerica1000, instead taking part in the workshop being conducted by User:Scottywong to resolve portal issues? Robert McClenon (talk) 00:28, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
        • @Robert McClenon: This has absolutely nothing to do with whether portals should be deleted or kept, and everything to do with ensuring the community has consensus on whether these templates should be used in portal space considering there really aren't any formal rules on portals at the moment. A full read of how we got here can be found at Portal talk:Australia. If that's too large of a wall of text I've written a slightly condensed version for an ANI report here. SportingFlyer T·C 00:53, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
        • This should have nothing to do with whether portals should be deleted or kept. However, using transclusions and not using transclusions are both used as deletion rationales, often phrased as "Rube Goldberg machine" or "stale content fork" respectively. Whilst this RfC is aimed at improving the presentation of content, clarification that use of transclusions is not a reason for deletion would be a useful side-effect. Certes (talk) 10:40, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. I think creating very clear portal guidelines is a good thing. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 00:45, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support the recommendations of North America 1000. Lightburst (talk) 01:44, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose creating an official guideline on this as someone supporters argued. I personally prefer transclusion and I support writing down somewhere that it's easier and more effective to avoid sub-pages and content forks when creating a portal. I think that the requests for a procedural close have a point, in that it's unclear what this RfC seeks to change (or why it's in the "policy" section of the village pump). It would be good to clarify that it's about updating documentation of the templates. For instance, we could add the proposed guidance to Module:Excerpt documentation (the talk page of those templates redirects to Module talk:Excerpt), and mark all the templates for competing methods as deprecated. I understand this is the actual implication of the support votes above, am I right? I note that I understand there are ideas on how to improve those templates, which should be left open to consideration. Nemo 07:19, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support This should be the only way portals are built to avoid outdated forked copying pasting.--2605:8D80:561:C96C:B4AD:BB6B:1E38:CE5F (talk) 14:45, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per most of the above (though I don't agree with "the only way" in the anon's comment – building portals that way, in whole or part, should not be required), and for a more policy-based reason: WP:EDITING policy. There's absolutely no basis on which to forbid use of WP's own reader-facing content on additional reader-facing pages. We even invented partial transclusion to make this more fine-grained and flexible – not more restricted or disused. It's ridiculous to suppose we'd make up a bogus rule against using it, on the basis of nothing other than that some people don't like portals.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:01, 16 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Support the use of transclusion of content provided it is clear where the content is transcluded from, to make it easier to improve the original if and when that is desirable or necessary. Transclusion helps keep the content up to date as it only needs to be edited once, and therefore avoids inadvertent content forking where such forking is not appropriate. Transclusion of content is not always appropriate, and therefore must remain optional. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 06:09, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

List of articlesEdit

There seems to be general consensus that transcluding excerpts is acceptable and can give better results than maintaining content forks which might become stale. The main unresolved issue seems to be how to list the articles. A range of options is available and, whilst we probably should not mandate one of them, we may wish to discuss their merits. In order not of preference but from least to most visible, we have:

  1. Implicit listing by a template automatically and dynamically selecting all non-stub articles from a related list or template
  2. Manually selecting articles and recording the selection in the template parameters
  3. A bot periodically selecting all non-stub articles from a related list or template and recording the selection on a subpage
  4. As 2. but on a transcluded subpage using <noinclude>|showall=yes or similar to display all excerpts on the subpage
  5. As 2. but with an explicit list of selectable articles visible on the main portal page, possibly collapsed
  6. As 2. but with both a full subpage and a listing on the main portal: a hybrid of 4. and 5.
  7. Any other options?

Visiblity of the listing for both readers and editors increases down the list. 1. requires that they view the portal source then examine the related list or template; 2. simply requires viewing the portal source; 3. or 4. requires a look at the subpage; 5. or 6. requires no action except perhaps clicking [show]. Whilst 5. or 6. is certainly the most visible option, especially for readers who are unlikely to click the Edit tab, it does add more clutter to an already busy page. Certes (talk) 15:08, 14 November 2019 (UTC)

  • I personally like to see the full content of all pages that could be transcluded on one page. This is for maintenance more than for reading: it shows me at a glance whether all article excerpts still have suitable pictures, and it is easy to see whether anything goes wrong (for example, which articles have too long or too short intro sections for the portal or are broken because of template use that the transclusion process does not understand). I would suggest to display the list of articles used only if it has value in itself (it works for Portal:Wind power, but isn't all that helpful for a portal with far more diverse content like Portal:Germany). Some means of accessing a list or a page with the content should be encouraged. We should also make it easy to edit, and not require editors to change things in two different places. —Kusma (t·c) 15:54, 14 November 2019 (UTC)
  • A full list of each kind of potentially displayable content should be placed on a subpage, and that subpage should be linked from that section of the main portal page. Juts make it as easy as possible to find without putting it directly on the main portal page. BD2412 T 23:53, 14 November 2019 (UTC)
    Personally I think it should be like navigation boxes. The editors interested in the associated topic area decide what boxes are best to have, and the preferred way to implement them. Let the editors who are doing the work decide how to manage it; there doesn't have to be only one way to do it. isaacl (talk) 00:05, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
    My concern is that it then becomes opaque to editors who might be interested in joining the work, but will be dissuaded because they can't figure out the scheme. If portals are supposed to be entry points to the topic, then both their presentation and their editing processes should be straightforward and welcoming. BD2412 T 01:24, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
    I agree with you generally, but there's multiple ways of accomplishing this goal, and as long as we provide options which are straightforward and welcoming I don't see why we shouldn't give the project the option. SportingFlyer T·C 01:38, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
  • I think as long as we make sure the RfC gets enforced in such a way where a list of articles is available to editors, I don't mind if 3-7 get used. The process should not be manual, though, we should be trying to move away from that (not endorsing automated creation of portals, either - there needs to be a balance between user creation and maintenance and bot maintenance.) SportingFlyer T·C 00:53, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
  • A navbox would be impractical as they are not seen by 60% of our readers (mobile viewers). ...also think a visual example of all the articles to assure tranclution is working properly in every case would also help maintainers.--Moxy 🍁 04:54, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

Primary and self-published sourcesEdit

As well-intentioned as the sections on self-published and primary sources are in themselves, they do a disservice to Wikipedia by strengthening the hand of those who would deprecate all primary sources. More of the burden of proof should be placed on those who would remove self-published statements. Most organizations protect their own integrity by not lying about themselves. Much of what organizations do is not newsworthy but is necessary to properly characterize the organization. We should not pretend that books and newspapers are necessarily less biased, since they are written to appeal to those who purchase them. Placing ugly tags above articles may say more about the integrity of Wikipedia than the integrity of the organization's website. I propose that a statement be added to both of the above sections (on self-published and on primary sources) to put more of the burden of proof on the one placing the tag. This would clarify what it means that a source is "unduly" self-serving. Also, the tag "Third-party" can be greatly abused, and simply insult those involved with the organization. Having these gross tags for the top of an article also facilitates drive-by tagging of articles without taking the time to specify what statements are questionable. What think you? I welcome suggestions for specific improvements on these guidelines. Jzsj (talk) 17:07, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

I have to disagree entirely with what I see as the core of your argument - Much of what organizations do is not newsworthy but is necessary to properly characterize the organization. That's contrary to our concept of notability - if nobody else is writing about it, it's not worth recording in Wikipedia. My general metric (for companies, but can be tweaked for other orgs) is that if it's fundamental enough to go in an infobox (number of employees, what they do, things like that), a primary source is fine, but we don't need or want the company history if there's no external coverage. creffpublic a creffett franchise (talk to the boss) 18:07, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
  • We may be on two different tracks. What do you think, in general, of a tagging like this? Jzsj (talk) 18:18, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
  • @Jzsj: Can you give us some representative examples of the problems you are seeing?--Jayron32 18:28, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Well, one problem I frequently see is that people conflate primary with unreliable or secondary with reliable. They are not the same thing. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 18:30, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Begin with the one just above: how does it strike you? Jzsj (talk) 18:51, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
  • It doesn't strike me one way or the other because no one asked the person who placed it why they placed it. When I see one person do one thing, and I don't understand why they did it, my first response is to ask that one person why they did it. My first response is definitely NOT to rewrite policy to address that one singular event. What I would recommend you do is ask the person why they did it. Without knowing that, I have no meaningful opinion one way or the other. --Jayron32 19:22, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
  • If someone adds what you consider an inappropriate tag, ask them politely on the article talk page to clarify. If they fail to do so within a reasonable period (perhaps a week?), leave a comment to that effect on the talk page and remove the tag. This is BRD in principle, just politely inverted to BDR. If they can give an actionable explanation, fix the article or leave the tag. If the explanation is not actionable, the tag is inappropriate and can be removed, or the article is inappropriate and should be deleted. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 06:34, 22 November 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't agree with much of anything the OP says, per prior respondents to it, but also more broadly. There simply isn't anything like a conspiracy of editors trying "deprecate all primary sources". PSes are permissible only for very specific things in particular contexts, mostly WP:ABOUTSELF material, which should be scarce, i.e. included only when it's particularly important (to encyclopedia readers, not to the subject of the article). Even then, as soon as we have a secondary source for it we no longer need the primary one. The bulk of the OP's rambling is about "ugliness" of cleanup/dispute tags and them being an "insult" to the subject of the article and its employees. This is a WP:PROMO concern, of someone who is mistaking the WP article about some company as a form of advertising and social networking.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:53, 23 November 2019 (UTC)

Referring to ships as "she"Edit

  FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

Please see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#"She" vs. "it" for ships. This is a perennial discussion that never seems to reach consensus. Notice of this round of discussion (which doesn't presently have an RfC tag on it, but might later) was first made to various ship- and military-related projects and pages (i.e., places of strong concentration of fans of using "she" for ships, and of male editors in particular), and later to some bias, feminism, gender wikiprojects and such that are apt to have wider views and demographics, for balance. But VPPOL is generally where to find a broad intersection of WP editors when we need more eyes and minds brought to bear on an interminable "style fight" that needs to come to a firm resolution.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  09:43, 23 November 2019 (UTC)

Attend the linked discussion, if it pleases you.
Note: our current guidance allows either usage (with the usual caveats about internal consistency within a given article, and not edit warring from one to the other). Blueboar (talk) 13:15, 23 November 2019 (UTC)
I am not familiar with maritime industry, but I have always found referring to ship as "she" to be weird and jarring. – Ammarpad (talk) 09:39, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
Why do we need "firm guidance"? Where is the evidence of an "interminable style fight"? Either usage is permitted, per Blueboar, and I see no reason why this shouldn't continue. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 22:40, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
You might like to advise WT:SHIPS and WT:MILHIST about this move of the existing discussion. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 23:00, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
I don’t think the intention was to shift the discussion to here... The intent was to invite people to join the discussion at MOS. Blueboar (talk) 23:07, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
Ah, OK. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 23:11, 24 November 2019 (UTC)
Ships are referred to as she, as they're considered to be like a female, i.e unpredictable. GoodDay (talk) 23:09, 24 November 2019 (UTC)

Everyone, please avoid discussing the merits here, as the discussion is already underway at WT:MOS, and it's confusing to have it in two places. --Trovatore (talk) 23:12, 24 November 2019 (UTC)

RfC raised for appropriate notificationsEdit

I raised an RfC for WP:CANVASS at WP:VPR#RfC: Appropriate notifications, I see by the heading it should probably been here but I guess no problem as people here probably watch there anyway. WP:CANVASS should list some notifications as best practice to send, as well as its current 'An editor who may wish to draw a wider audience...' for the appropriate notifications it lists. Currently evenly split. Dmcq (talk) 15:18, 27 November 2019 (UTC)

Should disruptive IPs be sanctioned more harshly?Edit

I notice there was a recent discussion calling for registration to be required to edit Wikipedia. While I'm against that, in my ten years as an editor I've seen many cases where an IP editor was highly disruptive and the IP was blocked for a limited time. The most recent (and disturbing) example is this: [4]. The IP was blocked for one week.

What, realistically, is the downside of a highly disruptive IP such as the above getting blocked permanently? How serious is the risk of collateral damage? I've had some conversations on Twitter where people believe the reticence to permanently block IPs is a serious weakness of Wikipedia and discouraging to editors who put in the hard work. Based on my experience, I tend to agree.

It seems to me that a policy of permanently blocking disruptive IPs would be a fine compromise between the current system and one that requires all editors to register. (This is not a proposal, just a call for discussion.)

-Jordgette [talk] 17:22, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

Broadly support. I would agree that the current system is too lenient. We perma ban accounts far more readily, it appears, than we do IP editor. A vandalism only account is generally banned straight away – a vandalism only IP seems to be able to run amok for a fair while before they're banned for 24 hours. That said, I'd favour a 12 month exclusion over a permaban in most cases – just because the current resident of a property is a wiki vandal, it doesn't mean the next one will be. Domeditrix (talk) 17:41, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't think so, IPs tend to have their edits rejected more often than accounts and a long-term block is more than sufficient to prevent issues. An indef could easily affect innocent users (who might become productive contributors and register) while the person who the block is aimed at can just move to a different IP. Reverting a dozen edits and blocking for a year or 2 isn't that difficult and most IP edits that are blatantly disruptive get noticed and reverted quickly. All the edits by were reverted by Black Kite in the space of 3 minutes with rollback anyway, not that difficult. Its also pretty clear that the IP isn't a newbie since otherwise they probably wouldn't know about the notability tag. If blocked indefinitely they would likely just go to another IP. Crouch, Swale (talk) 17:45, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
  • If it's an address assigned to a domestic connection, we can't really be sure how soon it will be re-assigned to an innocent party, and sometimes the culprit is a rogue user on a shared commercial or educational connection. Also, IP-hopping is a thing. Incidentally, if the proposed meta:IP_Editing:_Privacy_Enhancement_and_Abuse_Mitigation is implemented, you may not actually be able to see IP addresses at all. William Avery (talk) 18:07, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
It would be helpful to know how often someone tries to make a good-faith edit, and finds that their IP is blocked. If it's currently many times per hour, then obviously adding more lockouts would be unwarranted collateral damage. But if it's only a few times per year, or per month — keeping in mind that good-faith edits do not necessarily improve an article — then it would be worth discussing whether such collateral damage should be absorbed, in the interests of not discouraging editors who regularly do good work to improve the encyclopedia. If this data isn't available, ballpark figures could be arrived at (derived, for example, from the total number of IP addresses available to users of English Wikipedia, how many are available to someone who wants to IP-hop, etc.). Such a quantitative analysis would be more useful than the general ideal of preventing innocent IP editors from getting locked out, at all costs. Keep in mind that I'm looking at this as a compromise to requiring registration for all edits, which in the discussion above garnered significant support — the IP problem is that bad.-Jordgette [talk] 23:09, 30 November 2019 (UTC)

Mandatory registration - This here Wikipedia:Long-term abuse/Bidhan Singh is a great example, for why account registration should be mandatory. GoodDay (talk) 15:28, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

Okay, I read them. The first is a guideline that dates back at least to 2008, and I'm asking if it's time to discuss updating that guideline. The second is irrelevant because this discussion is about preventing disruption, not punishing users. -Jordgette [talk]
  • If you could give me assurance that this IP will always be used by this one person for the next 10 years, then I would be more than happy to block the IP address for the next 10 years. Unfortunately, the reason why IP blocks are frequently shorter than one week is because IP addresses get reassigned all the time such that the person using the IP address next week is not usually the same person as this week. This is why standard practice is to use gradually increasing blocks: if the same disruptive behavior continues on an IP after a block expires, we know with greater confidence that this is a static IP address that we can block for a longer period of time. For Special:Contributions/, a red flag for me is how the IP was essentially dormant for years until suddenly it appears doing something as precocious as adding notability tags; it's not likely that this is the user's first IP, so they are probably hopping around on a lot of different IPs, hence blocking this one address for years is probably going to harm the next innocent user that gets reassigned to the address more than the user that the block is intended for. Mz7 (talk) 22:51, 1 December 2019 (UTC)
    Note that is now colocationwebhost blocked for 3 years but as you can see the edit made last year was constructive anyway. In addition I'd say that the week long block was generous given all the edits were made in around 46 minutes (and nothing before). I'd personally have only blocked for 24 hours. Even if you knew the IP was going to be used by the same person for the next 10 years I still wouldn't block as long as that since what's to say there not going to do something productive one day. Crouch, Swale (talk) 17:25, 6 December 2019 (UTC)
  • Broadly agreed with the above. When it becomes clear that an IP is long-term disruptive, such as engaging in similar disruptive behaviors after several shorter blocks, a long (though not indefinite) block is fine. But your average vandal or other jackass is probably on a dynamic IP, and by the time the block expires, they'll have a new address anyway. And if it's a sockmaster, well, we more or less know they're hopping IPs, because checkusers will be taking care of them as they come up. There's no utility (in fact, negative utility, given collateral damage) to blocking an IP indefinitely or for years when it will be assigned to someone else tomorrow or next week. Seraphimblade Talk to me 02:08, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
  • I do not believe it would be breaking the rules to say that collateral damage from rangeblocks and, much rarer, but still present, collateral damage from a changed blocked static IP, make up a substantial proportion of all OTRS tickets. The first set won't be changing much, but I'd rather not see a massive increase in the latter- especially since lots of individuals must be affected without writing to us. However, I'd be okay with a short but significant increase - e.g. minimum starter blocks of IPs for a week (if a registered account would be blocked for at least that long/indeffed). Nosebagbear (talk) 08:13, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

Data confidentiality policies?Edit

I'm working on some machine learning code to help with sock puppet recognition. At present, the only data I'm accessing are what's available via anonymous queries through the API. My plan is to eventually access data, such as a user's deleted contributions, which are restricted to admins, running as an adminbot. Are there specific data confidentiality policies around handling those data that I need to comply with? Or is this something that's handled on a case-by-case basis by the WP:BAG? -- RoySmith (talk) 06:23, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

Well I suppose that you should not reveal the deleted content to non-admin users. Some of this deleted content may be sensitive, eg outing and harmful to reveal; but more likely it will be a copyright infringement or an ad. Especially with a bot, it may not be smart enough to tell what the deleted content was. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 11:03, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
Some of this depends on what data you're accessing. Username, timestamp, page name, page length, and (fwiw) whether it was marked as a minor edit are all publicly available without admin access already, though inconvenient to get to; edit summary and the actual content of the edit are not. —Cryptic 11:43, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
@Cryptic: that's interesting. How does one access (username, timestamp, pagename) for a deleted edit without admin rights? That's exactly what I need to know. -- RoySmith (talk) 15:30, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
You've got mail. —Cryptic 16:37, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
  • From the responses above, I'm assuming there is no specific policy beyond, "be careful what you disclose publicly". I'm assuming keeping the data in my directory on a toolforge host with 0400 (-r--------) access permission will be sufficient to meet that. -- RoySmith (talk) 15:30, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
    There may be local policy. If so, I'm not aware of it. If there's foundation-level policy, and that's where privacy-related stuff mostly belongs, then something's gone very very wrong somewhere - they had to take deliberate action to make what's visible visible, and also to specifically redact edit summaries. —Cryptic 16:37, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
  • The only thought about what is usually public but sometimes not would be hidden usernames and such - if it can't pick them up, then I don't spot anything not already considered above. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:17, 3 December 2019 (UTC)

RoySmith, Please email me. On another note, Flyer22 Reborn may have something to say about this, or might help you construct a gold set. Mathglot (talk) 07:30, 5 December 2019 (UTC)

Are "Part of a series on..." sidebar links one-to-one with article transclusions?Edit

You know those "Part of a series on..." sidebar templates, like, say, {{Feminism sidebar}}? There's currently a discussion going on about how, and whether, the sidebar links and article transclusions should match up.

Seeking feedback at Category talk:"Part of a series on" sidebar templates#Are sidebar links one-to-one with article transclusions?. (If it makes sense to move that discussion here instead, please do so, and leave a breadcrumb.) Thanks, Mathglot (talk) 07:18, 5 December 2019 (UTC)

Public domain images hosted here but not on CommonsEdit

I spend a lot of time on Commons dealing with copyright issues, and rarely upload public domain images to Wikipedia. I'm aware of Wikipedia:Image use policy and WP:NOTGALLERY, but I'm curious if there are additional guidelines, policies, or previous discussions concerning the upload of images that are public domain only in the U.S. but not their country of origin, as required by the stricter policies of Commons. While WP:NOTGALLERY states Wikipedia is not an image repository, there are high quality images that may be used on English Wikipedia right now (or in the future) that may not be allowed on Commons for decades. Category:Images in the public domain in the United States and Category:Images published abroad that are in the public domain in the United States contain over 20,000 files, relatively modest compared to the 57 million on Commons. In theory, one could (intentionally or unintentionally) create a "shadow Commons" of large amounts of images that are educational but unused, appearing only in file maintenance categories or the occasional regular categories. Hypothetically, would it be appropriate to upload the entire pre-1924 catalog of works by a non-American artist that are still under copyright in their home country, even if only a fraction are displayed in articles or galleries? I'd imagine this is generally frowned upon, but am interested in previous thoughts. Thanks --Animalparty! (talk) 22:02, 5 December 2019 (UTC)

I suppose that images here on Wikipedia should be useful or used, but not necessarily educational. So that would limit upload big collections that will not be in use. Other issues may be freedom of panorama or the lack of it. As for a shadow commons, that would be a new WMF project if it came about. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 22:12, 5 December 2019 (UTC)

Websites of the Congress of Deputies and Senate (Spain)Edit

Hi everyone! I come from Spanish Café at the suggestion of a user and to ask for help.

I am uploading photos of deputies, senators and politicians in general to complete gaps that arise with the creation of pages. I ask this question here because I wanted to verify the possibility or not of using images from the official website of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate of Spain.

  • On the website of the Congress of Deputies it seems clearer, since in the Legal Notice it states: "The information available on the website is subject to reuse and is made available to the public without subject to conditions. The reuse of the contents must meet the following criteria: a) That the content of the information is not altered b) That the meaning of the information is not distorted c) That the source be cited d) That the date be mentioned of the last update. e) To follow a principle of public access and non-exclusivity." With that it seems that audiovisual material could be used in Commons, right?
  • However, on the Senate website I have more doubts. By accessing its Conditions of Use, sections 4 and 6, where, on the one hand, they authorize the use if it is for lawful purposes and without incurring vandalism but in section 6 it states: "The intellectual property rights of the website [ ...] are the property of the Senate, notwithstanding that, in general, the information contained in the website is subject to reuse under the terms set forth in these conditions of use, all the contents of the website (including, without limiting nature, symbols, trademarks, images, texts, audio, video, database and software contents) are the property of the Senate or of the service or content providers that, where appropriate, have granted the corresponding license or ceded exploitation of these contents to the Senate. The aforementioned contents are protected by the rules of intellectual and industrial property." From what I understand from there, the fact that the audiovisual material belongs to the Senate does not prohibit its reuse if it is for lawful purposes. Even so, I have doubts and I prefer to ask you before.

Regards and thank you very much for your help! Phalbertt (talk) 16:24, 6 December 2019 (UTC)

Phalbertt, we can't speak for Commons on Wikipedia, but my gut reaction is that neither is acceptable on Commons, though they may be acceptable on Wikipedia with a suitable non-free content justification. The Congress of Deputies license prohibits alterations, which I'm pretty sure makes it incompatible with any of the Wikimedia projects' free licenses, and the Senate doesn't grant any license. It is possible that they could be used under fair use (on Wikipedia only, fair use isn't allowed on Commons), but I'm not familiar with how Wikipedia's fair use rules work when dealing with non-US copyrighted works, so I can't give a definite answer. Additionally, I don't have the exact policy in front of me right now, but I recall that pictures of living people are generally not acceptable for non-free use, because it's expected that someone could go out and take a freely licensed picture instead. creffpublic a creffett franchise (talk to the boss) 18:16, 6 December 2019 (UTC)

Why does Wikipedia lower the resolution of fair use images?Edit

Wikipedia lowers the resolution of fairuse images, which doesn't make any sence! This damages the images in a bad way, since users often want high quality images. Please Wikipedia, stop lowering the resolution of fair use images. --A fatal error has occurred (talk) 18:30, 7 December 2019 (UTC)

The Wikimedia Foundation has required all their sites to minimize the use of non-free beyond what fair use would normally allow. This is in part set by the mediawiki software where the largest possible thumbnail that can be set by the user is 300px, and for the bulk of images that fall under non-free, this is sufficient. --Masem (t) 18:38, 7 December 2019 (UTC)
well, if we allowed images to be of super high quality, it wouldn't be fair use! The users wanting high quality images is irrelevant, as they are available with the copyright owner. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 18:47, 7 December 2019 (UTC)
That is not correct. WMF drafted sensible procedures for commercial images, and it makes some sense for them to be reduced to low-resolution so as not to impact the commercial opportunity to sell to people publishing books, who require a higher resolution. As Masem pointed out, this is sufficient for most, but not all, "non-free" images. In the case of non-commercial images, though, the reduction is pointless at best, as there are no commercial interests involved, and no valid reason to reduce the image in size, and following our "non-free" procedure makes no sense whatsoever. The worst case is for Creative Commons No-Derivative (CC-ND) images. These could be freely used, even commercially, but we deliberately create a derivative by reducing it, generating an actual and deliberate copyright violation, that is not fair use either, since we could conveniently use the image at full resolution without creating the reduced image. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 20:51, 7 December 2019 (UTC)
The act of reducing an image is not considered a new copyright (well established in copyright law, its a mechanical, non-creative conversion), and thus is not considered a new adaption for CC-ND, and thus does not violate that. See [5]. --Masem (t) 20:58, 7 December 2019 (UTC)