User:XLinkBot/FAQ

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This bot is a 'step-down' from blacklisting on the Mediawiki:SpamBlacklist. It allows autoconfirmed users to add links, while reverting similar links added by new or IP users. This is helpful when a site can be useful in some circumstances, but tends to be misused by those not familiar with our policies and guidelines.

FAQ

Q: Why is my external link addition reverted?
R: Because in the edit you performed you added an external link which matched a rule on XLinkBot's blacklist. Such sites include domains which are plainly spam, or sites which are 'pushed' to wikipedia pages (both reasons are covered by our spam guideline, see Wikipedia:Spam). Besides these spam-reasons, also sites which are strongly discouraged due to conflicts with other policies and guidelines on Wikipedia are reverted (specifically conflicts with our neutral point of view policy, our 'what wikipedia is not' policy, our copyright policy, our conflict of interest guideline, and/or our external links guideline). For a list of commonly blacklisted sites, see my list of frequently-reverted sites, which should give you a feel of why certain sites are blacklisted.
Q: Why did the bot revert all my edits, and not only the one where I added an external link?
R: The bot is currently set to revert all edits performed by a user when one of the edits includes an external link which is on the bot's revertlist, as opposed to reverting only the edit that introduced the external link. This is a choice, made by the bot operators. They are however aware that both methods have their own 'problems':
  • Reverting one edit: New editors who are trying to add an external link but do not know how to format the link properly might find that the link they added does not work in the first edit. Regularly, such editors perform subsequent edits to repair the external link. If XLinkBot reverts only the last edit, it would leave behind a page with a 'broken link', or a 'broken page'. Also, new editors may include information first, and perform an additional edit to add a reference. If this reference is on a site that typically contains unreliable material or is typically unsuitable as a reference, then reverting one edit would result in unreferenced (and likely, unverifiable/wrong) information being left behind. Another type of edits which are sometimes observed, are the insertion of formatted, though spammy, text in the body of the wikipage (without a link), and a subsequent edit to add an external link in the external links section. Reverting only one edit would leave the spammy text in the body of the wikipage.
  • Reverting all edits: This returns the state of the page to what it was before, which is very unlikely a page which is 'broken'. However, a new editor may first perform several edits which introduce reliable information, and in a later edit add an external link which is on XLinkBot's revertlist. Reverting all edits does then indeed also remove the good information. This indeed seems bitey, and that is why the bot asks the editor to reconsider the edits.
All in all, reverting all edits and asking the editor to re-check their edits gives, overall, less damage, and is the current setting. Also note that the bot does not have a bot-flag, so its edits are noticed by recent-changes patrollers who can undo such edits where needed.
Please, do consider using the undo function on the bot edit, but before pressing save, consider if the external link that XLinkBot reverted does comply with the applicable policies and guidelines XLinkBot cited in the message it left on the talkpage.
Q: Why is XLinkBot not in the bot group and thus makes edits without a b tag?
R: That is correct, XLinkBot is an approved bot (see Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/SquelchBot and Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/XLinkBot 2) for reverting external links and email address additions to mainspace on en.wikipedia, but does not have the bot flag set. This is to ensure that the edits the bot makes show up in the recent changes, so that recent changes patrollers can both check whether the reverts the bot makes are correct (the bot occassionally reverts edits where the external links do comply with all policies and guidelines); on the other hand, editors who are really spamming might deserve an early block while XLinkBot is on the job cleaning up the mess. There the appearance of edits in the recent changes might result in spammers to be 'caught in the act', notifying them properly that their actions are not wanted.
Q: Why is XLinkBot reverting my email address / telephone number addition?
A: It is generally not wise to add an email address, or any personal information, to mainspace articles. Mainspace is indexed on the major search engines, and as such are likely to be harvested by other bots as well. Also the addition of this information for promotional means is outside of the scope of this encyclopedia.
Q: Why is XLinkBot reverting the whole edit, and not just removing the 'offending' links?
A: That has been considered, but is unfortunately impossible, consider the following two examples:
Example 1 - A spammer adds, in the text:
there are four possibilities:
  1. 'blah blah MySpammyCompany is the best blah blah' (removing only the external link formatting, leaving a decent sentence)
  2. 'blah blah is the best blah blah' (removing the whole part of the external link)
  3. '' (reverting the edit)
  4. leaving the spam
As it was, obviously, the aim of the editor here was to inappropriately promote their company, the third option is the best, remove the whole spammy edit and deny the company in the text. (Note: a fourth option might be, converting it to 'blah blah [[MySpammyCompany]] is the best blah blah' - depending on the spammy-ness of the added text)
However, if a random editor is talking about his favourite band:
  • 'blah blah [[MyFavouriteBand]] produced a youtube video starring MyLeader<ref>independent ref to some big journal</ref>'
there are the same three possibilities:
  1. 'blah blah [[MyFavouriteBand]] produced a youtube video starring MyLeader<ref>independent ref to some big journal</ref>' (removing only the external link formatting, leaving a decent sentence)
  2. 'blah blah [[MyFavouriteBand]] produced a starring MyLeader<ref>independent ref to some big journal</ref>' (removing the whole part of the external link)
  3. '' (reverting the edit)
  4. leaving it
Here, the first option would be great .. it leaves a good, referenced sentence, and as an independent journal wrote about it, the youtube video is likely to be notable. Of course, it should not be linked like that in the text, which would be against our manual of style, and it still has the problems of the youtube video (the video might be a plain copyright violation, and then it still has the other problems that youtube video's suffer). Moreover, we don't need to link to the video, that is not the aim of Wikipedia, we write about it. Another option might be to leave it, which may result in links to plain copyright violations remaining in the text.
But these two examples show that different additions need to be treated differently (and these are only examples of one way of adding external links, there are many others - consider how to treat the common way to add an external link in the external link section ('* MySpammyCompany') with option one above (that would result in a stray '*' being left behind). Although reverting the whole edit and notifying the editor seems more bitey, the first remark is just that, a remark, and the bot will not revert again on the same edit.
Q: I am editing as an IP, and I don't intend to create an account. Am I doomed to be reverted until the end of time?
A: Please ask on User talk:XLinkBot for whitelisting of your IP address.
Q: A rule is making XLinkBot revert all links on a certain domain. However, there is a certain part of the domain which is used by several editors, and which results in many false positive reverts. What can you do about this?
A: Please ask on User talk:XLinkBot for whitelisting of the url, or whether the revertlist can be adapted to exclude this specific domain.