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Latest comment: 17 years ago by in topic The fatal flaw

If #3 were in force when I joined Wikipedia I would not be here now. The last ISP-based email account I used was from my first ISP in 1995. I have used Yahoo! mail ever since 1996 and have thus kept the same email address through 5 or 6 ISPs. Sorry, but #3 is completely an unreasonable requirement (and that is the only one I've really looked at yet - I'm sure there are others). More in this email. ---mav 08:33, 10 Feb 2004 (UTC)

That preview idea sounds applicable. It does no harm. --Menchi 15:56, 10 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Thanks. Here is a post by Imran Ghory that has another great idea. User-built webs of trust --mav

Mav is an asset to Wikipedia, but with all due respect, he's not an indispensable asset. Any methodology used to deter abuse will impact non-abusers and will inevitably drive some away. The question is whether it will drive away enough valuable users to outweigh the harm it prevents from abuse. Moreover, even Mav, who uses Yahoo mail, could have complied with #3. The mere fact that he uses Yahoo as his primary email account wouldn't prevent him from having an ISP account and using it solely for registration verification.

Another possibility would be to allow people to register with full access, provided they EITHER supply an ISP-based email account OR the endorsement of another trusted Wikipedian. The point to #3 is to prevent abusers from using sock-puppet user IDs to continue their abuse after they have been banned. --Sheldon Rampton 03:01, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Maybe actions from anonymous ones should be limited?


I recognize that the following ideas may be un-Wikipedian in their nature, but here goes.

There is at least the appearance that many articles are being vandalized by anonymous contributors, and also that many new junk articles are being created by the anonymous ones as well. Note the frequent vandal deletions of the United States article. I would like to submit that since the Wikipedia is very close to maturity (IMHO), it would be a good time to start restricting what anonymous contributors can do. I think it would be good if anonymous contributors should not be able to:

  • Create a new article (to reduce the many new junk articles being created)
  • Change more than a small percentage of an article text at one time (to all but prevent major vandalism, like full article text deletions)
  • Make more than a certain number of edits in a particular time period; perhaps take the Slashdot/discussion board idea of maintaining a flood interval. For this purpose, track edits by IP.

Ultimately, the work of the registered contributors will become immensely difficult if we have to continue to battle the increasing wave of vandalism and junk articles coming from anonymous contributors. So, if we don't consider the ideas I present here, what honestly can be done? (Or, has this already been discussed before?)

Stevietheman 07:43, 21 May 2004 (UTC)Reply

See m:Anonymous users should not be allowed to edit articles and m:Posting by anonymous users should be limited, but not banned. Angela. 08:08, May 21, 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for the links. From what I read, I think my proposal can be considered modest in its approach. It continues the ability for anonymous contributors to make edits (just not new articles). So, the typo and grammar fixing that anonymous contributors are famous for can continue, and vandalism and new junk articles should decrease. Besides, I would think that we would want the anonymous ones to have a major reason to upgrade to a registered account: so they can create their own articles.
However newly created nonsense article can be spotted rather quickly with the Special:Newpages - the don't get lost as fast as edits on Special:Recent Changes, and the byte length of an article also gives an idea what might be nonsense (something less 100 bytes is either nonsense or a very bad stub which needs attention as well). So if we don't allow anonymous users to create new articles, then the damage will be even greater than before. Speedy deletion of nonsense is easy and quickly done by the admins, while looking for a bad edit in an article takes more time. andy 08:52, 21 May 2004 (UTC)Reply
Stevie I don't like your idea at all. It's very unwiki. I don't think vandalism by anon IP's is a particluar problem. It's delt with quickly and easily by admins. As wikipedia grows we will get more of it, but then again we will get more admins too. I often sit and watch RC for vandalism edits, I know that loads of other admins do too. When I see an anon make an edit I check it, usually it's good, but every now and then it's vandalism. I hit roll back then I check that users other contribtutions, roll back all the vandal edits, warn the vandal, protect the page if necessary, temp block the ip if necessary. This can all be done very easily, with no stress on my part. Most vandals either become legit users or get bored and go away very quickly. I just don't see this type of vandalism at all difficult to deal with, and it's certainly not worth putting restrictions on the thousands of legit anon users in order to combat it. theresa knott 09:03, 21 May 2004 (UTC)Reply
It is known that "RC watching" isn't going to scale in its current form forever though. It used to possible to examine all edits! Now that is hopeless. It looks like a software solution along the lines of being able to tick a box to say "I, Theresa Knott, have checked this edit, and it doesn't appear to be vandalism). Then those who trust Theresa Knott will see that edit greyed out in RC, and know it doesn't need to be checked. I think something along these lines will eventually be required, to avoid a massive amount of redundacy with RC watching. I agree that blocking anons would cause more problems (lack of new blood, more "hidden" vandals because they are have a blue username) than it would solve. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 09:58, 21 May 2004 (UTC)~Reply
That seems a sensible suggestion. theresa knott 11:13, 21 May 2004 (UTC)Reply
I think that's a great idea. Currently a lot of effort is wasted because each good anon edit to an article like Hitler is checked a hundred times while other articles go ignored. Such a system could also serve a second purpose of increasing the amount of positive feedback in Wikipedia, especially for new users. Instead of greying out the link just have a comment (e.g. Good Work - Username) appended to the edit in RC, watchlists, and page histories that clearly indicates the edit is thought to be a good one. The button to mark a good edit could be right next to rollback, sort of as its friendly opposite. - SimonP 22:15, May 21, 2004 (UTC)
That would be really nice. theresa knott 15:57, 25 May 2004 (UTC)Reply
Based on your comments, since the review of new articles seems to be still somewhat manageable, I could lop off the first suggestion and leave the remaining two, which I have still seen no argument against. I'm not convinced that these are "unwiki". They are rather an automated control measure that limits vandal damage while permitting the vast majority of what's already done by good anonymous contributors. I want to reduce the work for admins, and reduce the problems, rather than just depending upon the scalability of lots of new admins as the community grows. -- Stevietheman 15:54, 21 May 2004 (UTC)Reply
I like the idea of having some limits; I also like being able to pop in and fix a typo without logging in (like if I'm at somebody else's house, showing them Wikipedia). As far as the idea of having things checked by a trusted checkerperson, that's much better than the mere anthill method we have now. It works OK for McDonald's but I have to wonder how well it would scale in the long run. ;Bear 23:20, 2004 May 21 (UTC)
I'd like to just have apparent vanity pages by anon users added to the list of what is eligible for speedy delete! The WP:VFD process eats a lot of time that could be better spent. -- Jmabel 05:31, 22 May 2004 (UTC)Reply
On the contrary many people on VfD seem to positively delight in being rude about vanity pages. It would be a shame to deprive them of their daily cathartic moan. More seriously, I would oppose as this one type of article where you quite often find the usual crowd of deletionists saying "DELETE!!!" and then someone comes along and says "well actually, Xyz is a famous cba and I just wrote a decent stub." That needs the five days. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 09:29, 22 May 2004 (UTC)Reply
I don't think we should worry about restricting the rights of anons. When it gets to be too much of a hastle, don't allow annons to edit anymore. But that's just me. Crazyeddie 01:08, 2004 May 24 (UTC)
I support the restriction of rights, when admins decide that vandalism is eating a lot of time. I ask all the admins now to assess the time they spend checking versus the benefit of unrestricted anonymous edits. I think they are in the best position to make that judgement. Pgan002 04:45, 25 May 2004 (UTC)Reply
Well in my experience causual vandalism doesn't eat a lot of admin timeat the moment. Vandalism sprees by logged in users, dealing with POVpushers, with people who delight in revert wars, with people who make personal attacks, with poeple who troll etc takes far more communuty time and effort than "George Bush has a huge dick" type vandals. I agree with PCB21 about vanity pages too. Vanity needs to be decided by the community, it's too much to expect an admin to make the decision themselves. Lord if I had to do that I'd be deleteing 3/4 of the "fasmous" people we have articles on since I don't know loads about lots of stuff.theresa knott 15:57, 25 May 2004 (UTC)Reply
A few thoughts. First of all, vanity should not be a speedy-delete candidate--it's often hard to tell what is or isn't vanity (not always, but...). Second, I LOVE the idea of "This edit checked by". It would save a lot of my time on, say, George W. Bush, which gets edited nearly every day, often by anons, some of whom have good edits. I'm sure I'm not the only one checing these. Developers, take heed, please! Meelar 17:41, 25 May 2004 (UTC)Reply
Maybe the bigger changes of articles would make a difference on wikipedia, so i think that only big changes should be limited to anonymous accounts as well as more than 20% of modification should direct to suspension.. Wykis 21/12/2005

Useless Idea


Limiting edits does nothing to solve the problems I mentioned in Talk:Anonymous users should not be allowed to edit articles. The problem is how to block people who for many months have been violating policies such as personal insults, pushing POV, 3 revert rules, or are spaming, advertising, and trolling if they are posting anonymously with a dynamic IP or proxies. The abuser only needs 5 or 10 edits a day to continue his abuse. Limiting edits is a completely useless idea that solves nothing. The solution is no edits without registering with a valid ISP email. Exceptions can be made for people who do not have valid ISP email if they talk to admins OneGuy 19:09, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Why not a configuration option to limit anonymous edits?


The idea of a wiki is very brave and noble, trusting the whole world to participate but I can think of many situations where very limited acces would be ideal. A Media Wiki manual for example.

The fatal flaw


This plan has one really big gaping hole in it: proxy servers. In many schools and businesses, all web requests go through a single proxy server, and we see this IP for all edits from that establishment. If a teacher decides her whole class is going to join Wikipedia, do we want to limit them to 10 per day? Especially considering they can only, all together, make 5 edits a day before they register? If you're on your lunch break at work and making an edit and told you have to register, then told you can't, are you going to bother coming back?

I'm making this edit anonymously for the sake of irony. 04:59, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I absolutely concur - I've been carefully scanning all comments on this terrible suggestion to see if anyone has made this point and I'm so glad this anonymous (!) user has. This suggestion will kill Wikipedia for class room/college use. There is no doubt in my mind that this policy will do far more damage than good since it will disallow edits from libraries, classrooms and other places of education and learning where we desperately need MORE edits to come from. I could go on for a long time about just how destructive this policy would be, suffice to say I really hope nothing like ever gets adopted. Has anyone got some stats as to the percentage of anonymous edits that are actually vandalism? I have a feeling it's incredibly low. -- 03:07, 16 July 2007 (UTC)Reply

Review point by point

  • Non-registered Users may post to the site, but there will be a limit (say 5) to the number of postings that can be made every 24 hours by an anonymous IP number. This will not stop anonymous vandals, but it will limit the amount of damage that a single individual can do.
and the amount of contribution an anonymous contributor can do. violates basic principles of wikipedia.
  • After an IP number reaches its limit for the day, further attempts to edit articles will generate a message informing the user of the limit and inviting him/her to register.
it is always best to taunt someone you just frustrated to mahe him/her fell unwelcome. violates basic principles of wikipedia.
  • Registration as a User should be made more difficult to deter the frivolous and the mischievous. New registrants will be allowed to make up to 25 edits during their first day as a registered user. After that, registered users who have supplied an ISP-based email (not a Hotmail account) will have no limit on the number of edits they can do. Users who do not supply an ISP-based email will remain limited to 25 edits per day.
The first day, after 25 tests in the sandbox, I want to make a conrtibution, this is denied to me, just wtf! email discrimination combined with two precedent points is a terrific combo to get rid of potentially valuable newcomers. violates basic principles of wikipedia.
  • No more than 10 Users can be registered within a 24-hour period from any single IP number. Combined with the rules above, this means that it would be possible in theory for someone to create 10 different User IDs and engage in up to 250 acts of vandalism, but they would find it difficult to do so, and few would go to that much trouble.
technically this is an aberration, any script kiddie know how to spoof an IP. breaking this kind of limitation is considered a challenge by some script kiddie, and may have the perverse effect to draw more experienced playful vandals.
  • There be two levels of registration, Users and Editors. Only Editors can make "minor changes."
levels of registration is creating a hierarchy of power that is not good for peaceful community.
  • Promotion from User to Editor status would be by nomination by two other Editors, and given only to Users who have good English and have shown they can write in an encyclopaedic style.
what about the asocial contributor, that just don't like to talk to other? what about those who knows stuff and are willing to contribute, but this right is refused to them because they don't speak english good enough? or don't make perfect article ? I believe this one also violates some basics of wikipedia.
  • Articles may be nominated for Completed Article status. Nominations must be seconded by another User, and there must be a week's time for objections. Once an article is registered as Completed, it may only be edited with the approval of a review panel of some sort.
this is very heavy et will slow the process of evolution of wikipedia and will distract some significant workforce from the main objective; to build a free for all encyclopedia
  • A higher level of WP would be created, with another name since it would not strictly speaking be a Wiki, at which only Completed Articles would be visible.



This proposition violates basic principles of wikipedua, and is proposing to establish newcomer discrimination as a way to prevent vandalism. Newcomers are what makes wikipedia live, the newcomers of today are the old timers of tommorrow. I think the concept should be reversed: it would decrease vandalism over time if newcomers are properly welcomed, guided and teached about what is vandalism and how to prevent/fix it. Vandalism is a behaviour problem, and vandalism effect can reduced with a risk prevention policy that makes good use of tool like information, education and friendship.Izwalito 01:50, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)