Requests for comment/Globally blocked user active on iawiki

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The following request for comments is closed. RfC doesn't seem to be the appropriate tool here. Effeietsanders (talk) 06:32, 2 September 2018 (UTC)


Last year, Tobias Conradi was banned globally for disrupting several wikis, particularly Wikidata. This user edited thousands of pages from the 91.9.*.* IP range. However, the user is still active anonymously and using several sockpuppets in the Interlingua Wikipedia (iawiki).

Known sockpuppets[edit]

Suspected sockpuppets[edit]

  • ia:Usator:Bernd_Muller - Automatic creation of page by importing its Wikidata page, regardless of whether or not the content being imported was in Interlingua.
Non-Interlingua renaming of political subdivisions (Region Lombardia). Creating microstubs with negligible encyclopedic content (Muhammad Ali). Removing maintenance templates (Ecclesia_Independente_de_Philippinas). Bernd Muller looks like a sure bet.—Tortoise0308 (talk) 08:01, 22 April 2017 (UTC)

Since this is the block for an ISP that assigns IPs dynamically, this is only the start, I fear.

Since February 8, 2017:

and more that 100 more, increasing daily. Tortoise0308 (talk) 08:21, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

Tobias Conradi is currently wreaking havoc again on ia.wikipedia.org, leaving administrators with no choice but to ban maximum-width /16 IPv4 ranges in order to contain the damage he's doing. He's using Telefonica Germany IPv4 addresses to evade his global ban, and they have so many IPv4 ranges all he has to do is disconnect and reconnect to get another random IP address assigned in one of those ranges. Since he's incredibly persistent, he's leaving us with no choice but to eventually ban his entire ISP for anonymous edits, requiring a huge amount of range blocks. And after that he'll probably move on to some different ISP. Is there some other way to handle this? Any advice appreciated. – McDutchie (talk) 17:13, 18 April 2017 (UTC)

Actions[edit]

  • Creating hundreds of pages with less than 100-200 characters in them - *including* categories and templates - where the single sentence was derived from a line in the Wikidata entry. Gabriel Garcia Marquez (sic), Muhammad Ali;
  • Automatically creating large numbers of pages by importing from Wikidata, regardless of whether or not the content was in Interlinga or English, using an uneditable template so it could not be addressed.
  • Using Latin, English, or numbers to name pages, even if an Interlingua word exists. (For example: [https://ia.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Banana&oldid=535327 renamaing 'Banana' to 'Musa', even though 'Banana' is the Interlingua word for the fruit and 'Musa' is the Interlingua name for the Greek muses)
  • Making automated edits without notice and without approval.
  • Deleting maintenance templates by using a bot to edit them out of all pages, and requesting speedy deletion of the 'unused' template. (Examples included the iawiki tempaltes for 'featured article', 'wikibooks', 'stub', 'dictionary' cleanup template, 'wikify' cleanup tempalte.)
  • Deleting categories by using a bot to edit them out of all pages, and requesting speedy deletion of the 'unused' category. (Examples included the iawiki organized stub categories.)
  • Replacing categories named in Interlingua with the nonsense phrasing "Instantia de ((substantivo))". In English, this is directly equal to "Instance of ((noun))". For example, the Gabriel Garcia Marquez article above had as its sole category "Instance of Person", and hundreds of pages about various animals and plants have as their sole category "Instance of taxon."
  • Deleting Interlingua templates and importing English templates to use in their place (e.g., replacing "infocassa" with "infobox"), without replacing the deleted information with Interlingua prose.
  • Naming and renaming articles in a non-Interlingua fashion:
    • Articles about people were renamed to include the birth year in the title, and frequently renamed to remove the significator. (At the extreme is Tamas Varga, about which we know eight birthdates but no other facts.)
    • State and nations were renamed to include the political subdivision type as the formal name (rather than significator), and moved the national name into the significator (regardless of whether it was needed).
      • Note that this user is requesting that a Wikidata bot owner use this non-Interlingua naming scheme.
    • Proper names of people were edited to remove accents (Interlingua keeps accents on names imported from the Roman language).
  • Editing policy pages, then referring to those pages as reason to have pages deleted.
  • Redirecting main space articles to disambiguation pages en masse.
  • Altering (including blanking) of user pages.
  • Use of English in talk pages, despite the fact that it's not a common language to all users (or even all administrators).
  • Calling for the ban of all users who change any page he edits, including at this point both active admins. (For example: when I requested to know who was creating articles automatically from an IP, due to their use of poor Interlingua, a thread was immediately made for me to be banned for making 'ad hominem attacks'.)

In all aspects, it's the same behavior as Tobias Conradi in the past: create vast numbers of edits regardless of language rules or local policy to create authority by editcount, immediately revert any changes made afterwards, and demand the ban of any users that disagree. However, in this case, this also extended to deleting significant amounts of local maintenance templates, templates, and infoboxes; actively destroying wiki content as well as making it far more difficult to find pages he had edited.

Request[edit]

Because the user follows a small set of behaviors, it has been possible to create targeted abuse filters to prevent new edits. However, there are still tens of thousands of edits and deletions to clean up over a number of users. Complicating this is the fact that the 91.9.*.* range is owned by a ISP, which means there are some *good faith* edits mixed in with the mass reversions, renames, and so on.

So, my problem: tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of bot edits over an as yet unknown number of users. What in the world can be done to clean up such a mess? Almafeta (talk) 13:42, 18 June 2016 (UTC)

Is there a link to previous disciplinary action? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Darkfrog24 (talk) 04:40, 16 July 2016
Requests for comment/Global ban for Tobias Conradi. Result: global ban, enacted in November 2015. Every action of his since then has been in wanton violation of this global ban. – McDutchie (talk) 02:28, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

He's back[edit]

... as of February 2017.

There was (I think) a global block of range 91.9.96.0/19 with expiration on 20 November 2016. This was followed by a respite of about 3 months. Since February 8, 2017 the pattern of disruptions has resumed from a new IP range, building up to the previous frantic pace. Apparently the user has changed ISPs from Deutsche Telekom (91.9.*.*) to Telefonica Germany (77.*.*.*, 78.*.*.*, 85.*.*.*, 92.*.*.*). He has found a tactic for circumventing the anti-abuse filter: add enough extraneous text to pad the page out to a sufficient length. He uses the the text of the error message presented by the filter itself; we now have over a hundred pages with a short line of text followed by (in Interlingua) "This action has been automatically identified as harmful .... Please add a few sentences." E.g. ia:Adam Smith (1965).

He continues to dismantle the maintenance categories. (I have personally spent considerable time since last June partially restoring the stub categories. This is going up in smoke; half the categories are empty again.)

They are now all empty and deleted.—Tortoise0308 (talk) 18:18, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
I am pretty appalled at how one global administrator willingly cooperated with the vandal. I've already undone hundreds of deletions over the last month and there are hundreds more to be done. – McDutchie (talk) 02:28, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

He has continued to elaborate the Infobox template and its variants; it automatically creates the "instance" categories. He continues with non-Interlingua naming of geographical entites (provinces, regions) and his idiosyncratic treatment of disambiguation pages. And he has called for me to be blocked.

Tortoise0308 (talk) 12:00, 28 March 2017 (UTC)

From the block log:

13:48, 20 August 2016 @Vituzzu: globally blocked User:91.9.96.0/19 (anonymous only, expiration 13:48, 20 November 2016) (Banned user)

Tortoise0308 (talk) 01:20, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

I would suggest @Jalexander-WMF: to just officially global ban this ISP, non of edits from 91.9. series are based on good faith. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 12:37, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
It seems the user is no longer limited to 91.9.x.x, as the same behavior is appearing in a far wider IP range. Almafeta (talk) 09:56, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
Just so—see above. He seems to have abandoned 91.9.*.* (Deutsche Telekom) and moved to 77.***, 78.***, 85.***, and 92.*** (Telefonica Germany GmbH). The latter is now the ISP to consider banning. --Tortoise0308 (talk) 18:07, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
And maybe 47.* too? --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 06:35, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't think the WMF Global Ban policy applies since there hasn't been a physical threat against anyone. Just a lot of automated vandalism. Almafeta (talk) 09:20, 17 April 2017 (UTC)
I'm applying the widest net available to me as an administrator: blocking /16 ranges for anonymous edits and account creation, one at a time. Banning the entire ISP would still require banning hundreds of such ranges, as it's a huge ISP, but it seems to be enough to make it inconvenint for him to keep evading the global ban. Still, active and continuous vigilance is required. – McDutchie (talk) 02:28, 31 May 2017 (UTC)