Open main menu

Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-01-31/Discussion report

The future of the reference desk: Plus: new speedy deletion criteria and admin activity requirements.

The future of the reference desk

Wikipedia Library owl.svg
The reference desk is furnished as part of The Wikipedia Library

The reference desk, an area of Wikipedia where editors answer readers’ questions, has suffered severe vandal attacks recently, apparently from an open-proxy vandalbot. Temporary semi-protection had been implemented as an interim solution, but although it prevented anonymous readers from asking questions, as soon as the protection expired, the abuse returned. The Signpost was unable to ascertain what the abusive content was, as much of it is under revision deletion. Due to the page's large footprint (it is linked on the Main Page), a discussion was set up about whether the page should be indefinitely semi-protected.

It wasn't long after that that other users began to question whether the reference desks should remain on Wikipedia at all. Several users !voted "just shut them down" on the initial semi-protection proposal, before a separate proposal was created to answer this question. Other proposals that have been since created include:

  • Move the refdesks to Wikiversity or Wikia's Wikianswers with the reason being they are not part of the purpose of Wikipedia.
  • Move article talk page discussions to the reference desk, resulting in increased traffic.
  • Call for the Wikimedia Foundation to take legal action against the vandal's ISP.

The discussion, which started on December 26, is likely to close soon. P

Admin activity requirements

At Wikipedia:Administrators/2019 request for comment on inactivity standards, a multi-part discussion continues on administrator activity requirements. Current proposals include:

  • Should edits or logged actions in userspace no longer count for purposes of determining activity? (2 supports/15 opposes)
  • Should the number of edits or logged actions required be raised from one to ten? (9/9)
  • Should at least one logged action be required every two years, regardless of edits? (9/12)
  • Should admins who are about to lose their rights no longer be notified that this is happening? (2/16)
  • Should there just be one notification, a month before? (15/8)

Professor plagiarizes Wikipedia

Plagiarism: nothing new off-Wiki, either

Several authors, including a professor at Kansas State University, have been accused of verbatim copying from Great Famine of 1876–1878 and other India famine articles in published books. Discussion of plagiarism in general is ongoing at Wikipedia talk:Noticeboard for India-related topics#Plagiarism in an India-related source, published by a reliable publisher, involving copying verbatim from a WP article. See Plagiarism from Wikipedia for historical context. B

In brief

Odometer rollover.jpg
ANI isn't quite here yet.


  • The 2nd Daily Mail RfC determined that the source should remain deprecated.
  • After a long wait, the RfC on The Sun with a consensus in favor of deprecating The Sun and creating an edit filter to warn users who attempt to cite it.
  • After last month's RfC, the following text was added to Wikipedia:Blocking policy:
    Administrators who are blocked have the technical ability to block the administrator who blocked their own account. This ability should only be used in exceptional circumstances, such as account compromises, where there is a clear and immediate need. Use of the block tool to further a dispute or retaliate against the original blocking administrator is not allowed.