STOWiki talk:Anonymous editing/Archive

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Opening up anonymous editing[edit source]

moved from Project:Community portal#Opening up anonymous editing

A while back, I suggested to the admin team that we consider removing the blanket restriction against anonymous editing. The reason for this isn't really that we'll get a lot of anonymous edits; I expect most edits will still be from registered users. I do think we might get more users registering when they realize they can edit (since users that are not logged in will begin to see edit links again).

Several months ago, we had a lot of extensions installed to help protect against spam and vandalism. One isn't completely configured yet, and I'd like to get the private filters for AbuseFilter from GuildWiki installed here since they've been pretty successful at controlling spam and vandalism despite being open to anonymous edits. The difficulty here is, since they're private, I can't see them. GuildWiki has a more formal procedure for promotion to admin than we do, so the alternative is to invite a trusted GuildWiki admin over here to perform the configuration.

There are two ways to handle this:

  1. We just promote him to admin status, which has the benefit of being something we can do ourselves.
  2. We create a special user group that can edit the public and private filters. This has to be configured on the server, and we'd have to wait for Curse to do that.

Another valid concern brought up by User:RachelGarrett is that if turnaround time from Curse remains slow, this would affect our ability to turn off anonymous editing quickly if we came under attack by a botnet or another similar occurrence. My experience on GuildWiki is that Curse has been reasonably quick to respond under these circumstances. This is also the reason I want to have good filters set up on our AbuseFilter extension before we do this--to reduce the chances of spambots even making any successful edits.

I think this is a bad idea. Things are fine as they are now. If someone wants to contribute they can register. If someone is really to lazy to register then they can leave a message in the STOWiki global channel. Perhaps as an alternative you can create a single page that's open to non registered comments where anyone can leave a message. BrooklynKnight 21:34, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
I have no principal reservations against trying this out as long as we have the ability to shut down anonymous editing quickly, in case it gets out of hand. BrooklynKnight got me thinking: As a precaution, we could lock down sensitive areas like the template, user, and foundry namespaces so they can only be edited by registered users. Also central/prominent pages like the faction portal, mission list, etc. could get such a treatment. We have such safeguards in place for the main page (admin edit only), because it was "hijacked" once shortly after launch. That would leave most of our core infrastructure secure from vandalism.
However, as Eyes pointed out, we are not likely to be getting a huge influx of new editors. So we should weight carefully if we want to go this way. That is why we are asking for feedback using the site notice. We do not want to decide this issue over the heads of the user base (we got enough of that already in a certain game that we love...) --RachelGarrett 23:09, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree that anoynymous editing may be a good thing by drawing in Foundry Authors to post their missions on the wiki.
BUT we don't want anonymous users editiong important articles such as the template, walkthroughs (STFs, Tribble Breeding etc), user pages, and other important pages should only be able to be edited by registered users. I said the STF pages because many editors-including myself-have worked long and hard on their pages for the community, and we don't want an un-punishable 'unregistered' person coming along and messing them up-therefore ruining the reputation of the wiki and possibly the author. I also don't want someone coming along and messing up user pages,
I don't want to go to a user page to find someone has turned it into an advertisement for their 'STO Gold' site!
This brings me onto my other point, I think that the links of Anoynmous users (infact any users) should be monitored, they may post an external link about a character in their mission, which links to a site of a nature that STOWiki does not want to be associated with.--Cyrano.Jones 07:37, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
un-punishable 'unregistered' person --> anonymous editors can be banned by IP; no one is un-punishable. This stops the vast majority of those that seek to spam or vandalize. The rest are stopped by admin vigilance and are rarely more than mild nuisances. (GuildWiki has one regular vandal that makes roughly an attack a month--they have little trouble undoing his edits.)
links of Anoynmous users (infact any users) should be monitored --> Project:Admin portal exists in part exactly for that reason, but we don't rely on that alone. We have ConfirmEdit in place to make anonymous editors pass a CAPTHCA test whenever they try to post an external link on a page, and SpamBlacklist to block edits containing any links to sites that spammers have tried to link to in the past. (Note it gets its main list from a page on, so any time an admin there adds a site to the blacklist, it's blocked here too.) When AbuseFilter is fully configured, we'll have another automatic system to block a lot of vandalism and spamming.
-therefore ruining the reputation of the wiki and possibly the author. --> Admin vigilance can cover what slips through. Even now, we get some users registering just to spam their own userpage. I'm pretty sure none of those pages have gone undeleted or thar any of those users have escaped a permaban; at least, the Admin portal isn't showing anything but legitimate user pages and legitimate external links. Besides, you don't have to be an admin to fight vandalism--anyone can revert a bad edit. Anyone can slap {{speedydelete}} on a spam page to flag it for admin attention. So, ultimately, vigilance of the entire community is our last line of defense, and frankly, it's a very effective last line of defense. Eyes User-Eyes-Sig.png 12:09, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

I think that we should not open it up because it might be hard to monitor the anonymous writers. --Tuvok2409 12:00, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Why the cost-benefit ratio favors anonymous editing[edit source]

BrooklynKnight dismisses our potential anonymous editors as "too lazy" to register. Let's take that and similar points of view that would say they aren't worthwhile editors and call it Theory X.

Let's make Theory Y more benign. They aren't registering and editing because:

  • They don't know registering allows editing.
  • They're shy and would be more comfortable making their first edits anonymously, "feeling out" the community response first from behind their IP address.
  • Registering feels like more of a commitment than making a few casual edits at first. We don't offer a path that feels like "easing into it."

If Theory X is right, anonymous editing is best left banned. Admins and the community will spend about 30 extra minutes a month (estimated) reverting vandals, deleting spam, and banning IPs for no benefit.

If Theory Y is right, we gain many hours worth of legitimate edits resulting in substantial improvement, depending on how many potential editors are hiding just behind the horizon of registration. Our extra half-hour of work per month pays for itself many times over.

The key point in the above is that for anonymous editing to provide the wiki benefit, Theory Y only has to be a little bit right. If we gain 30 minutes a month of work on good, legitimate edits, it likely completely offsets what we spend fighting the bad stuff. The argument against anonymous editing pretty much requires Theory X to be pretty much right on the bullseye.

The other point about this that I tried to make above is that we won't prove either theory. We don't know any way to know how many valuable well-meaning edits we're losing now; we can only guess. That isn't going to change if we allow anonymous edits; most people who "ease in" to becoming regular editors will register and in most cases, we'll never know if they would have eventually registered anyway or stayed unregistered non-editors.

So, the decision rests on the following: do we as a community believe Theory X is nearly 100% right, or do we think Theory Y is just right enough to outweigh the manageable, calculated risks we'll be taking?

As to the other point, that things are fine now, we only recently made pages for many of the basic consoles. The Jem'Hadar Heavy Escort page was only made this week, and it isn't the only mob page we're missing--look at the red links on the Hirogen page as an example. These are only a couple examples of the gaps we have in basic content. Much of our content could stand some quality proofreading, and this is one of the most common anonymous edits I see on other wikis. Most of our small community of regular editors are already doing a lot and may not have more time to invest in the wiki. Expanding the community seems like the best solution. Eyes User-Eyes-Sig.png 12:09, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Your last sentence seems to summarize the problem some may have with allowing anonymous editing pretty well: If the regular users don't have time to edit and proof-read - do they have time to edit and revert vandalizing (or even simple "bad edits") on a regular basis? So this argument pretty much goes both ways. Not saying that I am necessarily against anonymous editing - just wanted to point that out.
And one thing just occurred to me: At times their already is a lack of communication and coordination on the wiki - some things should be discussed, assessed and commented on. Sometimes there needs to be an agreement on a certain topic (e.g. how to format things, how to use paragraphs and headings in an article). It might be even harder to come to an agreement or simply talk with anonymous editors. -- Backyardserenade 12:18, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
And taking that view of my last sentence essentially goes back into the Theory X point of view--i.e. the investment in helping new editors cannot be expected to bear fruit and add someone to the community that saves us time later. It goes right back into Theory X needing to be almost 100% right to make the case against anonymous editing, because if a few hours (seems a high estimate to me) are spent helping a new editor, that editor only needs to make a few hours worth of good contributions to offset it.
I don't expect explosive growth, which is why I'm arguing the "small benefit is still worthwhile" point. I don't see a great many anonymous edits on other wikis; either they end up signing up or they get bored and stop.
As an experienced editor, think about what you can accomplish in ten hours on the wiki. If all we accomplish with this is getting one new editor willing to invest ten hours a month and that person is even halfway decent, that's a lot more getting accomplished. Eyes User-Eyes-Sig.png 13:25, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
I just thought of something! Maybe users are thinking that you have to pay to edit on the wiki! This might be the solution of the problem!--Cyrano.Jones 15:49, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Quality of Anonymous Edits?[edit source]

I'm afraid I have to vote to keep the wiki closed. I understand User:Eyes' cost-benefit argument, however my main objection is the quality of edits we are likely to get. I think anon editing works on Wikipedia as there is a large staff of administrators who ensure that guidelines and best practices are adhered to. We have no such luxury.

User:Eyes made the point there there are still a large number of red links on simple articles that really should exist by now. I'd like to point out that there are more articles that are incomplete or poorly written than there are missing articles.

There are ~3,200 articles on this wiki, ~500 of which are stubs. Ok, I know not all of those have no content in them, but thats a large proportion (~15%). Many articles are made by simply pasting in content from the official website or forums. Very few people write prose, upload screenshots, or restructure things.

I know that, with a larger community, there will be more small edits to gradually refine these old or bad articles, but what we really need is committed editors who will take ownership of things. These are the people who care enough to register anyway. Yeah, I know registration will scare off some people who might have turned out to be great contributors, but its will also weed out hundreds of sub-standard edits that don't add much.

What I'm trying to say is, I think the potential benefit from anonymous editing is low. Just my opinion! --Zutty 17:26, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

If we were to get hundreds of anonymous edits, high quality or otherwise, I might reverse my opinion. I'm expecting a few a day at most. Anons tend to make small fixes or edit talk pages, so they're quick edits to check generally. Those who then decide they want to edit seriously will likely register.
So, my simple response to this point is that I don't think it's a good idea to base one's opinion on probable edit volume when we won't know what that is until we do it. Coming from another gaming wiki, I just don't see a vast volume of anonymous edits happening. Eyes User-Eyes-Sig.png 17:42, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
STOwiki has progressed this far entirely though registered users (closing in on 3000!). Anonymous edits would allow a slight convenience for people, but opens up potential for easy access to bad behavior. I don't see the pros outweighing the cons and as such I would not recommend anonymous edits at this time. --MatthewM 20:41, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
This attitude is so difficult for me to understand that I'm going to suggest the compromise of a trial period. Experience tells me that anonymous edits happen on a wiki this size in only small volumes. I ask for the chance to prove the following:
  • The risks and cons are being vastly overestimated.
  • The ability of the admin team and the community to protect the wiki are being vastly underestimated.
  • The time investment required for this protect the wiki is being vastly overestimated.
We aren't Wikipedia. Getting hundreds of anonymous edits is very unlikely; we don't have the hit count. A handful of anonymous edits each month is what I've seen on another small wiki that had the opposite attitude to anonymous editing: they tended to bend over backwards to keep it open and closed it only during the worst-case scenario of a botnet attack. (And I'll also add that all of botnet's edits were quickly reverted/deleted during the attack.) I was never an admin, but I did tend to watch recent changes closely there when I was an active editor. Anonymous edits were a small fraction of the edits made by registered users. Only a fraction of the anon edits were vandalism. Eyes User-Eyes-Sig.png 06:36, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
I think you know more about this than I do. If this has worked out before in your experience, then perhaps theres nothing to worry about. A trial period sounds like a fair compromise. --Zutty 10:14, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Can we only unlock talk pages?[edit source]

What if we only unlocked the talk pages? Non-Registered users could edit a talk page and add suggestions/requests/opinions/comments about an article. I'm sure many of us refresh the "Recent Changes" page often to see what's been happening right? That then leaves it up to a registered user to reply and make that change, as further questions, bring it to an admin's attention or simply ignore it. The edits would be automatically IP tagged, and thats that.

Perhaps this is the best middle road. It allows a taste of access so people who are interested can put a toe in the water, yet doesn't open anything up for broad abuse or vandalism. And who are we kidding anyway, spammers regularly make accounts anyway! It's the worthless edits and vandalism we're looking to avoid. Maybe this way everyone is happy? BrooklynKnight 03:43, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

No, it's a very bad compromise because this isn't really about the anonymous edits, it's about giving a way for potentially dedicated future editors to ease into it by making small but meaningful edits. Opening talk pages is something that the vast majority of our readers would never notice. Even if we announced and put a prominent notice on the main page about it, many people get to specific pages through Google or ignore the main page and go directly to search and most would still never know talk pages were open.
From experience, I know that the average volume of anonymous edits is going to be small. Under this proposal, getting more than one or two a month would surprise me, if we even get that, because most average readers would notice this only through pure dumb luck. Eyes User-Eyes-Sig.png 06:16, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Semi-Protected Pages[edit source]

If it comes to opening the wiki to anonymous editing; I believe that ALL the pages linked to from the front page should be protected so that ONLY registered users and admins can edit them. --Cyrano.Jones 08:33, 31 October 2011 (UTC)