Community Wishlist Survey 2021/Anti-harassment

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Anti-harassment
3 proposals, 13 contributors
The proposal phase has ended.
Come back on December 8 at 18:00 UTC to vote on proposals!



Global semiprotection of user talk pages

Edit proposal/discussion

  • Problem: There are certain crosswiki vandals who will go to a user's talk page and leave harassing comments. When they get blocked from that wiki, they will just go onto another wiki where an account exists for that user and leave more harassing comments. And on and on until a steward intervenes. Since these are done with throwaway accounts and proxies in many cases, this just repeats itself over and over.
  • Who would benefit: Those being harassed crosswiki
  • Proposed solution: Allow for a user's talk pages on every wiki to require autoconfirmed permission to be created/edited, using some sort of list hosted on Meta that only stewards can edit (similar to what we have for spam and titles).
  • More comments:
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: Rschen7754 01:47, 17 November 2020 (UTC)

Discussion

  • Can't this just be done using a bot? (& if so, that'd be easier to do, too). It'd have to run under the account of someone authorised to semi-protect pages globally (a steward, I guess?). It'd be a diversion from the global bot policy and the steward policy, I guess, so maybe it needs an RfC to be permissible or whatever, dunno. But I think technically this may be more feasible than a software edit. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 02:43, 17 November 2020 (UTC)
  • Even better, a user should be able to activate semi protection on their own pages themselves, and do it globally as well. No need to bother stewards or others with this - if I want to enable semi for my user talk pages on one or more wikis, I should be able to do it, easily. Just like we now have some enhanced options for who can send email to you. --Piotrus (talk) 04:12, 17 November 2020 (UTC)
    • Piotrus, it comes to mind for me that such an option might be able to be abused by users trying to prevent others from having real discussions with them, but I don't know how likely or serious of a problem that could be. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 18:51, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
  • I'm quite new on Wikipedia, I'm not sure whether crosswiki bots are common. I tend to agree with Piotrus' suggestion. --Himbeerbläuling (talk) 06:40, 17 November 2020 (UTC)
    • They are not, afaik there is no steward crosswiki bot that performs actions on local wikis (the proxy one takes actions on meta I think), but community consensus can probably change that for this limited usecase. I disagree with the suggestion that users can protect their own pages. Different wikis have different protection policies on this, so users shouldn't be able to protect their talk pages without having valid reason, and some wikis may only allow it for limited times. With a protected talk page, it's harder to get in touch with someone (give or take Echo notifications). ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 15:58, 19 November 2020 (UTC)
  • Can't you also have individual users block certain comments? I mean, I don't see a problem in making that happen.

UserBlind mode

Edit proposal/discussion

  • Problem: Certain discussions, particularly those dealing with individual user conduct issues, are difficult to participate in in an unbiased manner and without generating side-effects like occasional animosity between editors. The fact that users know that particular other users have passed negative judgement on them can make it difficult for those users to work together in the future. The concern over this can also cause people to avoid dealing with conduct issues entirely.
  • Who would benefit: All contributors, but more directly those dealing with reports of conduct issues (including Arbitration Committees and users active in fora like enwiki's ANI, AE, etc). Also contributors to wikis with "unblockable" users which the community has difficulty fairly judging.
  • Proposed solution: A "UserBlind" mode, in which all visible usernames would replaced by tokens, eg "[USER #23]", effectively anonymizing other users while the mode is enabled. This would allow fair assessments of conduct reports in a impersonal manner. Not only would the person passing judgement on the actions not know whose actions they are (thus evading bias), the person whose actions are being judged would not have reason to think that the commenting user has anything against them in particular, thus avoiding inter-user tension.
  • More comments: Links: Proof of concept, VPM post
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: Yair rand (talk) 05:51, 30 November 2020 (UTC)

Discussion

  • @Yair rand: - how would individuals handle verifying evidence and doing further investigation with this process? Neither AN or ArbCom can function like judges where evidence is just provided - it needs to be cross-checked (in ANI, the closer doesn't do investigation, but everyone else participating would follow it down the rabbit hole). Additionally, when I'm reviewing people for certain roles, such as at RfA, then I need to be able to review their ANI participation to know the quality of their judgement. Nosebagbear (talk) 16:02, 2 December 2020 (UTC)

Partial block of IPs across categories

Edit proposal/discussion

  • Problem: Editors evading a block/ban often go to the dynamic IP route to continue editing. Sometimes it is not possible to rangeblock that IP across the whole of WP due to collateral damage of blocking good editors.
  • Who would benefit: Anyone who has suffered harassment/hounding/stalking from an IP that continues to pop-up day after day.
  • Proposed solution: Partial blocks should be allowed across a group of categories for a range of IP addresses. For example, blocking range 123.245/ across Category:Black English sportspeople. I've raised this before at WP:VPT, with a reply stating that an article could be removed from the category, and the block wouldn't work. But once the block is in place, then the IP could not edit the page(s) in question to circumvent the partial block. Thanks.
  • More comments:
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: Lugnuts (talk) 08:24, 17 November 2020 (UTC)

Discussion

  • It's also possible that such a feature would be used to provide technical implementations of topic bans, though I think on the English Wikipedia there might be disagreement to such an idea. In the IP case, how will this work under the new system of IP addresses being replaced with identifiers (see en:Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2020-11-01/Op-Ed)? I'd be worried about a tool that relies on the current system of rangeblocks if this may change soon. — Bilorv (talk) 17:42, 17 November 2020 (UTC)
  • One major concern raised when this was mooted on en-wiki was that articles could be added to a category incorrectly (including wilfully incorrectly) to cause problems for the user. Nosebagbear (talk) 14:43, 18 November 2020 (UTC)
    Indeed, category blocking was discussed when partials were first implemented and the concern for abuse was why it was not implemented (first). --Izno (talk) 01:04, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
Anyone gaming the system to add categories to pages to stop others can be dealt with if and when it happens, with continued distruption being stopped with blocks. I think the p/block of IP ranges across categories to stop long-term harassment far outweighs other concerns, and is something that this survey should take very seriously in relation to harassment. Lugnuts (talk) 08:44, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
Unless you know how to make it clear what is gaming and what is dubious adding (there is a lot of dubious adding to categories in the usual course of things), how to make it rapidly handled, who will do that vetting work and so on, then I'm rather concerned by your fairly sangfroid "can be dealt with if and when it happens" Nosebagbear (talk) 15:54, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
  • I could see this being used for abuse, as it effectively gives non-admins the ability to block partially blocked users from a page by adding a category. Although such attempts would probably be seen relatively quickly, it does still give the ability. On smaller wikis additions of the categories may go unnoticed, so a user could potentially block IPs from pages they don't want them editing. Dreamy Jazz talk to me | enwiki 00:00, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
  • Hi Lugnuts. I work with both the Anti-Harassment Tools team (who built Partial Blocks) and the Community Tech team. We are going to allow this wish to move to voting. However, because of the circular nature of categories on wikis, if implemented, this would work on a single category only and not extend to any sub-categories or sub-sub-categories. There are holes/workarounds here in that someone could remove a category, commit their bad-faith edit, and then move on or even add the category back. Still, it could be implemented so we are allowing it to be voted on with the single category caveat. --AEzell (WMF) (talk) 21:55, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
Yes, that sounds like a fair compromise. Thank you. Lugnuts (talk) 08:45, 3 December 2020 (UTC)