Community Wishlist Survey 2019/Admins and patrollers

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Admins and patrollers
15 proposals, 392 contributors, 692 support votes
The survey has closed. Thanks for your participation :)

Allow partial reverts for edits

  • Problem: There are edits of which a part should be reverted but the rest should/can be kept. In such cases you don't always want to time-consumingly edit/improve the source of the page. Instead the changes are either completely kept or completely reverted.
    Deutsch: Es gibt Bearbeitunen, bei denen ein Teil rückgänig gemacht werden sollte, der Rest aber behalten werden kann. In solchen Fällen möchte man nicht immer den Quelltext der Seite aufwändig verbessern. Stattdessen werden dann die Bearbeitungen komplett behaltden oder komplett rückgängig gemacht.
  • Who would benefit: Everybody who only wants to revert parts of an edit
    Deutsch: Jeder, der nur Teile einer Bearbeitung rückgänig machen will
  • Proposed solution: Add a link "Partially revert" next to the normal "revert", which would open a page which looks like the "new" version of Two Column Edit Conflict View. It'll show a "conflict" between the version which will be partially reverted and the previous version. The conflict resolution can then be saved normally.
    Deutsch: Einen Link (Teilweise rückgängig machen) neben den normalen (Rückgängig) - Link setzen, mit dem eine Seite, die wie die "neue" Version des "Two Column Edit Conflict View" aussieht, aufgerufen wird. Es wird ein "Konflikt" zwichen der Version, die teilweise rückgängig wird und vorherigen Version angezeigt. Die Lösung des Konflikts kann dann normal gespeichert werden.
  • Other comments:
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: FF-11 (talk) 17:24, 5 November 2018 (UTC) (Old username: Honischboy)Reply[reply]


  • This would be cool, but I'm not sure how feasible it is. --Izno (talk) 19:01, 6 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I love the idea too. Needs some brainstorming to come up with a good idea to make this work well. Thanks for submitting the proposal FF-11. I will rename the proposal to English and move it to the right category. -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 21:19, 6 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Related phabricator task at T108664. --Izno (talk) 20:54, 7 November 2018 (UTC)=Reply[reply]
  • I could use this. It would probably improved new editor retention, especially if you could use it through some of the editing tools. HLHJ (talk) 07:11, 14 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I don't get the point. Using "undo" already allows altering, and so does using "edit". So what exactly would the change be? --Vogone (talk) 00:58, 21 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • When you click "Revert" you do get the chance to edit the page before saving, but if you'd like to reinsert some part of the undone edit, you'll need to go back and forth between the editor and the diff view. The idea I guess is to use the edit conflict view so that the changed text is available in the editor and it's marked up so that it's easily seen. Uanfala (talk) 20:07, 24 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • Thanks. With your explanation, it now makes much more sense to me. However, I would then think that all "undo"s should come with this feature, rather than adding an additional "partial undo" link as proposed. --Vogone (talk) 21:56, 24 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • AutoWikiBrowser has a feature which is interesting for this: it allows one to click on part of a diff to discard those changes. I've attempted to create a similar feature using JavaScript: UndoFromDiff.js (it is not perfect, but works for most cases, even the diffs which appear when undoing edits). Helder 12:03, 25 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I don't understand. Isn't rollback supposed to revert vandalism/spam? many wikis don't like their rollbackers to use this access to revert valid edits, which seems to be the case given in "problem". Matiia (talk) 00:59, 21 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Page Curation and New Pages Feed improvements

  • Problem: New Page Review is a key process on Wikipedia, and the only firewall that prevents inappropriate new pages being added to the Encyclopedia. However, there are many longstanding issues with the Page Curation tools and the New Pages feed which inhibit efficiency and cause problems to be overlooked. Aside from a few additions made when the Growth Team added Articles for Creation (AfC) drafts to the New Page Feed last year, the tools haven't been supported for many years and the list of proposed developments is long. These include bugs, features never implemented, and suggested improvements which have been left unaddressed. While a few requests for improvement of the tools used by New Page Reviewers can be addressed by on-wiki customisation by volunteers, most others are part of the Mediawiki software and require the intervention of the WMF developers.

    We have been repeatedly informed that the Community Tech Team does not have the resources to provide ongoing support for the tools they developed (or even to fix bugs that have popped up) and that this wishlist is the only venue for us to come to for technical assistance. While some of the tasks below are almost trivially easy, others may require a significant time investment.

  • Who would benefit: While New Page Reviewers and admins are the only users with access to the Page Curation tools, ultimately the entire wiki benefits from the work that we do. AfC drafts were recently added to the New Page Feed, and many of the suggested improvements here would also benefit the AfC team. The English wiki is also not the only one that could benefit, as these tools are not only relegated to EN Wikipedia but were originally designed to be available for use on other wikis as well (There are currently some bugs stopping the rollout of the tools on other wikis, fixing these is part of this proposal as well; This would make the Page Curation tools and New Page Feed able to be enabled on other language wikis).
  • Proposed solution: The requested improvements come in a few categories:
    • Bugs that should have been fixed a long time ago,
    • Additional sorting options and additional 'potential issues' flagging in the PC tools and New Pages Feed, which would help to flag problems for reviewers to follow up on,
    • Resources dedicated to other suggested improvements supported by the New Page Reviewer community to make them more user-friendly and improve efficiency and to make them, enabling rollout on other language wikis.
  • More comments: While there were several dozen good suggested improvements, we have listed only the highest priority items below by their Phabricator tickets, in the hope that at least some of our most pressing concerns will be addressed.


Insertcleverphrasehere: Just a heads up, if you didn't notice -- we've moved this proposal from "Miscellaneous" to "Admins and patrollers". -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 18:52, 15 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • T207452 in particular would be a really helpful bit. Hopefully the reduction in mooted ideas will help some focus without completely limiting where the benefit gets focused to. Nosebagbear (talk) 21:07, 16 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Question: Apart from English Wikipedia, is there any other WMF project that uses NewPagesFeed? 4nn1l2 (talk) 05:02, 17 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Possibly not at this moment in time, because it is still not perfect until the wished for upgrades are carried out. The English Wikipedia is however by far the most important project and being synonymous with the word Wikipedia is the source for all the undesirable pages masquerading as encyclopedia articles. As a MediaWiki extension, it could probably be ported to other WikiMedia projects (and even other non-Foundation projects who want to use it). It should be borne in mind however that without a well performing New Page vetting system, the English Wikipedia will cease to exist as we know it. Kudpung (talk) 06:16, 18 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Excuse me, I must ask you to say that again. What a nice and vivid statement concerning the status of English Wikipedia. "English Wikipedia is by far the most important project"? "English Wikipedia is the synonym for Wikipedia"? What's the proof? --Super Wang on zhwiki (Share your opinions) 12:04, 20 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Super Wang on zhwiki I think that Kudpung is referring to en.wikipedia being the hardest hit by spam and promotion pages. Therefore it is more necessary to have a robust system in place to deal with these additions on the English Wikipedia than anywhere else (elsewhere a lower volume can generally be dealt with by a small dedicated team, this is difficult on *is* synonymous with the word Wikipedia, and it is the first project that companies and individuals come to when looking to advertise or promote themselves; specific countries have in-country promotional issues to deal with, has global promotion to deal with. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 13:38, 20 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Insertcleverphrasehere:Thank you for explanation, but sorry, that doesn't make much sense to me. You know, due to Taiwan's int'l status and the large population using Chinese language, zhwiki has also been always a target of vandalism. I acknowledge that enwiki is the first project ever, but if you think enwiki is the only source and bulletin board for companies and celebrities, I must say that thought reflects "English language-priority". --Super Wang on zhwiki (Share your opinions) 00:17, 21 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Besides, enwiki has a "global" promotion doesn't mean other wikis don't. Chinese is the language used by the most people (1.5 billion, 2015 consensus) on this planet. There aren't less issues than those on enwiki here on zhwiki. It's some kind of bias that someone thinks "English Wikipedia has 'global' issues to deal with". --Super Wang on zhwiki (Share your opinions) 00:24, 21 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Super Wang on zhwiki: Fair enough, and fair enough. As I've said in comments below, I'm keen to push to fix remaining issues that are keeping the Page curation tools from being, so that they can be used on other wikis as well; the phab task is phab:T50552. If we do this right, then the work done for these improvements can be ported to other wikis such as Keen to chat more about this. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 00:49, 21 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
just a note I moved the discussion below to the discussion page. --Cohaf (talk) 00:51, 21 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You could listen a bit more carefully to your fellow intl Wikipedians. I also wondered why this is the top wish for „a key process on Wikipedia“ but it's about the US/GB Wikipedia only. Sargoth (talk) 10:09, 23 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Sargoth, Once again, we were forced to come here as a last resort by community tech, which refused to maintain or update the tools that they built many years ago unless we came here and got in the top 10. Not sure how much more carefully you want me to listen; I've added the ticket to make the tools to the list above, and I'm going to push for this if I can so that these tools can be made available elsewhere on other language wikis as well. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 13:29, 23 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
„as a last resort“, this sounds disillusioned. I hope you get your supports (I didn't vote here and will propably not but am quite disapointed about the oppose-votes at the gender options proposal. Best of luck :) Sargoth (talk) 14:07, 23 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sargoth Somewhat disillusioned, yes. As for the gender options one, note that oppose votes don't count. Still, the premise of a voting free-for-all and top ten as a good system for identifying all the stuff that needs developing is a bit ridiculous. It tends to lead to no development for proposals that are fairly trivial to fix, but only impact a relatively small segment of the user base. A good man once said that "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch". We had the same problem here, in that NPP isn't particularly sexy; this proposal is going to take a fair amount of effort, and while essential, it doesn't directly help all wikipedians (you can see some people complaining about it below). Note that you can canvass to your heart's content per the wishlist rules (which is really dumb, but it is how we managed to get a decent number of votes here). I'd suggest heading over to various wikiprojects and canvassing for votes if you want that particular proposal to pass in the top 10. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 16:01, 23 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per Jo-Jo Eumerus, this is a Fascistism to IP users, things that is suitable for English are not necessarily suitable for other languages. -- 03:21, 26 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Note that each language wiki would be able to use their own tags and deletion processes by specifiying what is in each section of the toolbar via on-wiki .js pages. As for 'Fascistism' to IP users; there is a simple solution to that problem. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 08:58, 26 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment Comment I would really love to see a wiki-agnostic page curation tool. I wish there was a way to vote for that specifically - right now it's just one of a big bag of feature requests, a significant part of which I imagine would have to be dropped to make the scope reasonable. --Tgr (talk) 04:47, 25 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Comment Comment @Tgr Most of the other feature requests are things that the other language wikis will want as well. In any case, from the looks of things making the tools specific only consists of a few key things that need fixing, so not hard to tack on to this proposal; value for effort, it is one of the best tasks on this list. Making the tools Wiki-agnostic ( was tried as a separate request a few years ago in the community wishlist, but failed to garner enough support (40-somethingth); honestly getting tacked on to this proposal is the best chance it has to be completed. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 09:04, 25 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Collapse multiple consecutive revisions by same author

  • Problem: Collapse consecutive edits by the same author in the revision history page
  • Who would benefit: The whole system, all Wiki users, especially moderator and peer reviewers
  • Proposed solution: Currently every update, be it even one single character, generates a new revision of the article. When the same author makes consecutive non-overlapping changes to the same page, the revisions could be collapsed into one single row. This will simplify the display and moderator review interface.
  • More comments: This will simplify moderator and peer review, and shorten the article history considerably.
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: Geert Van Pamel (WMBE) (talk) 16:13, 4 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • I am not aware of such functionality in VisualEditor, but it surely doesn't combine revisions on the backend. Disk space is not something you should ever worry about, but I get how the small, consecutive edits is problematic for patrollers. My bold stance here is this proposal is too technically involved for us, as it would presumably require a major reworking of how revisions are saved in MediaWiki. People smarter than would be able to judge this better, though. I will point out HotCat allows you to add/remove multiple categories at once, by clicking on the "++" link. MusikAnimal (WMF) (talk) 22:58, 4 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I have trouble imagining we'd do this on the backend (It would make the way we model revisions really complicated). But from the front-end perspective, is this basically asking for "enhanced recentchanges" but for history pages? BWolff (WMF) (talk) 02:14, 5 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I would take that. --Izno (talk) 01:57, 6 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • In Instiki, which is used on nLab, multiple consecutive edits by the same author within a minute do get merged into a single revision. This proposal would make editing in MediaWiki act like editing in Instiki. GeoffreyT2000 (talk) 16:29, 5 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Sometimes this would be undesirable, for example when a new page is created by splitting out material from another page, I understand the new material should be copied across and saved exactly as it was on the previous page, to allow attribution. If the editor then makes changes to tidy up the new page, these would be merged into the previous edit. Perhaps a way forward would be, if someone has made another edit within a set time of their previous one, such as 30 minutes, for a box to pop up asking if they want the 2 edits to be merged. Mmitchell10 (talk) 10:32, 10 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Geertivp Thanks for submitting a proposal. Per what MusikAnimal and BWolff said above, this proposal as it stands is not workable as it asks for a massive change in how MediaWiki handles revisions. Disk space is certainly not something you should be concerned about. On the contrary, doing this change will break a huge number of MediaWiki extensions, gadgets and community-built tools. However, if you are asking for better history pages (collapse multiple consecutive revisions by same author), then we can probably try to see if we can build that. Would you like to rename and redefine the proposal to that effect? -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 04:57, 14 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes, please, rename to "Collapse multiple consecutive revisions by same author". Geert Van Pamel (WMBE) (talk) 10:25, 14 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Geertivp: Thank you. I've renamed the proposal and revised the proposal a bit. I hope that's okay. Please do ping me if you don't agree with any of the changes. Thanks for participating in the survey. -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 17:33, 14 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • There are times when an editor makes a series of very different edits, and one might want to undo one but not the rest (as in the above request for "partial revert"). Combining all the edits would make it more cumbersome. PamD (talk) 23:52, 16 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This kind of automation is not good. There are two cases: editors, who deliberately split their changes into logically different sets, and editors, who make those smaller edits for other reasons. I'd compared this with how git works. It's possible to rebase a branch, and pick or squash commits. Maybe, something similar can apply here: After making a series of smaller commits, the author can decide to make them into one "commit" or fewer number of "commits". РоманСузи (talk) 17:39, 17 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Also squash reverted edits. Note that it should be possible to inspect squashed edits. — Jeblad 08:45, 18 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Prevent DDoS-style attacks

  • Problem: Currently at en.wikipedia, there is a troll that has been running a DDOS-style attack on the various pages that unregistered users frequently go for help (Ref Desks, Teahouse, Help Desk, and related talk pages). Currently the only blunt object we have to stop them is semi-protecting those pages, which is making it VERY difficult for IP-based users (or newly registered users who are not autoconfirmed) to find places to ask for help. The attack consists of spamming vile attacks against registered Wikipedia users, or grotesquely racist comments, or other attacks, hammering the page with edits as fast as every second or two, and jumping from open proxy to open proxy to evade blocking. The attacks start within minutes of the old protection expiring, and continue unabated until protection is returned. It is making the Wikipedia help system essentially unusable.
  • Who would benefit: Admins would have a finer-grade tool to protect pages, by allowing good-faith users to edit while stopping this highly disruptive sort of attack. IP and newly registered users would not be caught up in sanctions not intended for them.
  • Proposed solution: If there was a way to throttle edits to a page in some way, so that the same IP address and/or account would be prevented from multiple, repeat edits it could slow down this virulent attack. They would still be able to jump from open proxy to open proxy, but that takes them a little longer, and it would reduce the speed of the attack to something that hopefully we could manage with blocks and RevDel rather than page protection. What I am looking for here is a way to throttle protection so that the same IP address would have to wait for a non-bot intervening edit before being able to edit again. It wouldn't be needed often, but would come in VERY handy when it is needed.
  • More comments:
  • Phabricator tickets:


  • Does {{helpme}} not help with this sort of thing? New contributors could use it quite well until they become autoconfirmed or whatever. Gryllida 22:15, 30 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Throttle edits to a page in some way, so that the same IP address and/or account would be prevented from multiple, repeat edits This can be accomplished with mw:AbuseFilter. It does not allow you to wait for a non-bot intervening edit before being able to edit again, but I'm confused why that would help. Could you elaborate? MusikAnimal (WMF) (talk) 22:31, 30 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The problem is that someone has found a way to attack Wikipedia and shut down any page they wish using a DDOS-style attack. Currently, they are restricting themselves to areas where IP editors seek help (Help Desk, Teahouse, Ref Desk, ANI occasionally). They also tend to attack the user talk pages of the admins who try to stop them, or other users at will. If you have oversighter or admin privileges, you can pull up the history of this and see a sample of the problem here. If anyone has any idea on a technical fix that would stop this, it would be great. Right now, anyone who does this is able to shut down any page at will, and we really have no defense to it. It's exposed a vulnerability to the entire software, and it would only take one person with the will to do it to, say, expand their scope from a predictable set of project-space pages to instead just start spamming random articles across Wikipedia for hours on end, and they would soak up huge amounts of resources chasing them around, and really, we have no tools to stop them as yet. I'm not really tied to any solution, I made the proposal to get the ball rolling on a discussion, but in the end, it's stopping the problem and not this solution I think we should care about. Maybe I'm over reacting, but I would not want to see this go worst-case scenario, and have the Foundation get caught with their metaphorical pants down. We've got this contained to 1 troll now who is doing it in a limited fashion. This is the sort of thing that, if a bunch of people got bored or had an axe to grind at Wikipedia, could do a lot of damage. If y'all don't see this as a problem, that's fine. It's been annoying as heck at en.wikipedia to deal with on a daily basis, and I don't want to see this trend growing. If anyone has other ideas on technical fixes for this, beyond "end IP-based editing", I'd love to see them. --Jayron32 (talk) 11:50, 31 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Jayron32: w:Special:AbuseFilter/796? We should not discuss this filter publicly, but it seems to do what you are suggesting. MusikAnimal (WMF) (talk) 16:34, 3 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    There are currently 3 abuse filters set to stop this one person. They don't really work, because abuse filters are only set to recognize specific text strings. He's been doing this for years, and knows enough to vary his text strings just enough to make the abuse filters useless. --Jayron32 (talk) 15:06, 5 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Maybe adding to abusefilter an option to trigger a captcha, might be helpful? Assuming that attack is bot-based? BWolff (WMF) (talk) 01:51, 5 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It may or may not be bot based. I suspect he may be just rapidly doing the edits manually, but it COULD be bot-based as well. Having a CAPTCHA option sounds brilliant, actually. If admins had the ability to set a "CAPTCHA protection" for certain pages, that may slow him down enough for us to minimize damage. It's a small inconvenience for making one edit, but it would slow down the rapid, repeated attacks so we could deal with them. --Jayron32 (talk) 15:06, 5 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would be very interested to see if CAPTCHA protection would solve this problem. I highly doubt this is done manually. They come in more quickly than I can even hit the rollback button, and I have a hard time imagining something that would take less manual time than a single click. GMGtalk 13:25, 7 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Adding something like $wgCaptchaTriggersOnProtection['captchaProtection']['edit'] = true; to Extension:ConfirmEdit might be an option. I would actually be interested in the effect of enabling CAPTCHA on pending-changes protected pages more generally. TheDragonFire (talk) 13:36, 7 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Even though a Captcha might be an interesting solution, I don't see how a reasonable rate-limit would do anything but slow down those attacks considerably, while being far less invasive for human editors. It would make sense to base this option not only on IPs, which, as already pointed out, could be rotated as a countermeasure, but also on the attacked pagese themselves. As this option does not seem to exist, from what I read here, that might be a worthwhile extension to prevent a predictable serious threat. --Eloquenzministerium (talk) 14:38, 8 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Alright, so per this comment looks like the edits are definitely automated, which makes me inclined to think a captcha would be the way to go. Also it would be super if we could escalate this in terms of importance given the level of disruption, rather than winding through the whole community wishlist process so we can get something implemented ~sometimes over the next year or so. GMGtalk 14:59, 9 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Just an update on the need for this; our friend has decided to expand his reach to any random article/talk page/etc. See [1]. Having a solution to stop him beyond "semiprotecting the entire encyclopedia" would be great. --Jayron32 (talk) 15:56, 9 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Jayron32: Are we asking to impose a CAPTCHA via AbuseFilter? Or is the proposal still centered around a new form of page protection that would throttle edits from the specified user groups? Maybe impose a CAPTCHA once said throttle has been hit? The voting phase goes live this Friday, and I want to make sure we know what we're voting on. Obviously we want to put a stop to the current vandalism spree, but it's worth noting the wishlist defines projects we'll take on in the next calendar year, and not so much for urgent solutions. That said whatever comes out of this will be useful for future vandalism sprees, I'm sure. MusikAnimal (WMF) (talk) 04:32, 14 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    On second thought, I think the problem statement is clear. We don't need to worry about the solution just yet. However we might consider is renaming the proposal to something like "Prevent DDoS-style attacks". This will make it more clear what we're voting on, and might increase the chances of getting a lot of support. If I don't hear back about this soon, I'll take the liberty of renaming the proposal. If you later disagree, just ping me :) Ideally we'll have this sorted out before voting starts tomorrow. MusikAnimal (WMF) (talk) 19:29, 15 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I have performed the rename. Hope this is okay! MusikAnimal (WMF) (talk) 16:16, 16 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Throttling similar edits over several pages are possible. I wrote about it a few years back, but nobody has picked up the idea. Could be because it involves math. — Jeblad 08:50, 18 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Shouldn't this proposal be in anti-harrassment category? --Dvorapa (talk) 16:59, 18 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I thought MediaWiki had a ratelimit on editing, and maybe that should be even more tightened. — regards, Revi 16:34, 20 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Create an integrated anti-spam/vandalism tool

  • Problem: Our current infrastructure for countering vandalism and spam at the cross-wiki level is stuck in 2004. We have a spamblacklist with poor logging done on a per-wiki basis, a global abusefilter which isn't global, and a title blacklist that doesn't log at all.
  • Who would benefit: Stewards
  • Proposed solution: Create an integrated anti-spam/vandalism tool (like Phalanx used on Wikia) that combines the functions of the spam and title blacklists, as well as limited abusefilter functionality, to better respond to ongoing spam and vandalism at the global/cross-wiki level.
  • Phabricator tickets:


Hi Ajraddatz. I wonder if some of the needs of this proposal have been met by the recent improvements made to Recent Changes and Watchlist feeds? -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 18:37, 30 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unfortunately not - what I'm thinking of is cross-wiki in scope and blocks edits before they happen, rather than reacting to edits that have gone through. – Ajraddatz (talk) 18:40, 30 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This seems relatively minor, because the individual projects already have these tools. DGG (talk) 01:09, 4 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    First of all, it is absolutely worth investing in infrastructure that could work on 700 projects instead of repeating the same action 700 times. But we also have the spam and title blacklist globally. The issue is that they are both old extensions that aren't very functional - see this other proposal for more information. – Ajraddatz (talk) 03:31, 4 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi! We discussed this proposal in our team meeting today. We are not sure how much we will be able to do but we'll try to do our best. It will probably not be a big cross-wiki thing though. Doing cross-wiki projects is difficult with MediaWiki's current architecture. We will scope this project and come up with what we can do if it is in the top 10. Thanks. -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 17:50, 13 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks! You're in luck, because I doubt this proposal will be in the top 10. Because of the limitations in using the current extension, only a small handful of people even work with it, and this topic isn't glamorous enough to gather attention from beyond the handful of people would would be impacted by a change. That said, it's still something that is important to have eventually, so I hope this puts it on the map. – Ajraddatz (talk) 18:40, 13 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree anti-abuse tools could use more love. This proposal, on the other hand, could use more details. Are you specifically worried about logging? The difficulties local communities have in interacting with global tools? Are there specific features of Phalanx that you miss? What's wrong with global abuse filters? --Tgr (talk) 04:15, 25 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fair point. I'll give a walk-through of the current state and point out the big problems that could be fixed. I'll also preface this by saying that integrating the elements into one tool is more for convenience; the problems are with each specific tool, and could be improved separately instead.
Spam blacklist: I notice a link being spammed by a couple of bots, so I want to add it to the spam blacklist. My workflow involves opening the page, waiting a few seconds for it to load, painfully scrolling down the list and trying to find a good place to add the regex. The page is so large that it lags going through it. Once I find the right place, I need to figure out what the correct regex is - I can speak regex-1, so simple additions are no problem, but I need to ask someone else to add anything more complex. After adding the text and waiting another 10-20 seconds for the page to save, I then need to manually add an entry on the spam blacklist log, since there is no automatic logging of additions. This takes another 10-20 seconds to get the diff number and justify the addition. Once I've made the addition, I have no ability to follow-up and see what it is blocking because the logging is done on a per-wiki basis and I don't have the time to check all 700 wikis. Total time: 1-2 minutes, when the rest of my anti-abuse workflow takes 10-20 seconds total. Big areas to improve: 1. change it from a big page to an extension that allows each entry to be handled individually. Imagine account blocking if you had to add the name of the account to a big page with thousands of other names. 2. automatic logging. 3. some system where you can see the impact of the action you just took - subsequent attempted uses of the blocked link.
Title blacklist: I notice an account name has been abused across multiple wikis, so I want to block the name. My workflow is a bit easier because the title blacklist is smaller than the spam blacklist, so it only lags a little bit. I add the appropriate regex to the appropriate section and create a log entry. Total time: 1 minute, still much slower than the rest of my workflow. There is no per-wiki or cross-wiki logging to see what impact my entry has had. Areas to improve: same as spam blacklist, individual entry handling, automatic logging, a way of auditing the actions blocked by the addition.
Global AbuseFilter: some cross-wiki vandal is doing a specific type of vandalism across multiple wikis. I create a filter to prevent such actions (this is already pretty complex, and could use some serious simplification for the less technically-minded among us), but it only applies to the small wikis that the global abusefilter is enabled on. The vandal continues to hit large wikis, forcing me to either contact local admins to get them to duplicate the global filter locally or (and this is what I usually end up doing) ignore the problem because I don't have half an hour to follow up on this. I also don't necessarily need a whole abusefilter: a simple condition that could be done through Phalanx or SpamRegex (old extension) would have sufficed. Areas to improve: make the global abusefilter global, add a lower tier of abuse prevention through the integrated tool.
And of course this is just a start of the laundry list of unaddressed problems with global anti-abuse tools. Global accounts cannot be blocked, requiring me to checkuser almost every account I lock so I can block the underlying IP as well. Abuse from developing countries tends to be on mobile ranges or from other public IP ranges, so there are often situations where I cannot place any IP blocks due to the potential collateral damage - the problem here being no other options to block people other than using IPs and account names. Many stewards also just block anyway, leading to the literal hundreds of unaddressed requests for unblock in our email queue from people caught in massive global rangeblocks. But this area seems like one where existing extensions (spamregex, phalanx) could be used as a starting point to make some easy fixes. – Ajraddatz (talk) 23:24, 25 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment. This proposal is probably to ambitions for the Community Whitelist. I doubt that this small team of developers can create such a tool within a year. Ruslik (talk) 18:04, 30 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]