Wikipedia talk:Spam

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Affiliate or referal codes[edit]

It would be nice if these terms were define. Also, do advertisement links count? PDBailey (talk) 20:27, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

This question regards, [1]. PDBailey (talk) 18:07, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Nice to see I'm not the only one confused, but it has been 3 years and no-one has bothered to explain what Affiliate or referal codes are. Meters (talk) 21:57, 26 March 2012 (UTC)[edit]

Wy is this site on the blacklist? It seems a perfectly acceptable news source for local and national news; their coverage of international news-- which I can judge better --seems comparable to other good news sources. DGG (talk) 22:20, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Torrent links to public domain content[edit]

Discussion how to put torrent links to public domain content if there is an advertisement also or if to do so. Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Archive235#The Pirate Bay... (and related). Results should be written into this guideline. --Snek01 (talk) 05:47, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Promotional usernames[edit]

There is a debate going on as to if we should allow usernames that are the names of companies. ie: User:Northwest Investment Firm. Since this seems to fall under the category of spam I am adding this link here: Wikipedia_talk:Username_policy#Disagree_with_change Chillum 15:37, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Seeking professional help?[edit]

Do those whose Wikipedia edits are concerned mainly with getting rid of spam ever seek assistance of the kind referred to here? Are there policies saying they should seek such help? If not, maybe there should be. Michael Hardy (talk) 16:50, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Many users, including myself, fully support MrOllie's spam-removal efforts, especially in obvious cases of conflict-of-interest. Your suggestion could be construed as a personal attack. If you disagree with the removal of a link, discuss it on the article page and refrain from making veiled insults toward other editors. OhNoitsJamie Talk 17:06, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Why would it be a personal attack? The article's talk page is not the appropriate place when it's about dozens of articles rather than just one. Furthermore, it proposes emendations to the policy on linkspam, so this present talk page is absolutely the right place for it. Why is a proposed policy change a "personal attack"? Michael Hardy (talk) 20:00, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

I also spend some time removing linkspam. Look at the problem this way: There are a zillion web sites with owners that want to promote their site. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, and is one of the world's most popular sites. The result is that many sites owners go to a lot of trouble to look for places to inject their message into Wikipedia. If MrOllie and cohorts stopped removing spamlinks, WP would become a giant link farm. I see single purpose accounts (users who do almost nothing other than add links to a particular site) who add fake references: they go to an existing article where they have never edited, they find a likely sentence, and they add a properly-formatted ref to some page on their site. They don't make any change to the article (in fact they almost never change articles except to add links). You have to be brutal to combat that kind of link spammer. And if you don't fight the people who just add external links, many of them will start adding links within articles as well (why wouldn't they? they have no desire to improve the article; they just want to promote their site).
I've been removing linkspam for just a few weeks and already I have seen several cases where some determined opposition results in the spammer giving up and going elsewhere (LinkSearch can be used to verify that the links do not recur).
In an ideal world, one would spend 10 minutes verifying that each suspect link really deserved to be removed, and one might even ask for feedback (I recently did that). However, in practice it is impossible, and the balance is wrong: the spammer can add another dozen links in the time it might take to check one.
There should be better guidelines, but clearly any editor is able to revert spam link removal, and those removing spam would happily accept the judgement of an established editor if they use an edit summary indicating that they have checked the link and feel it should be added.
I heard a comment (sorry, have forgotten where) pointing out that if all editors stopped improving articles, Wikipedia would still be a valuable resource for decades. However, if vandal and spam fighters stopped for a couple of months, Wikipedia would be an unusable mess. That is, article improvement is the most important activity, but cleaning up is vital as well. Johnuniq (talk) 10:48, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
Michael, you also raised this issue at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Spam#Seeking expert help to judge suspected spam (permanent link); I have responded to you there. --A. B. (talkcontribs) 18:11, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Redirect question[edit]

If a particular restaurant's name, National Coney Island redirects to Coney Island (restaurant), shouldn't there be a link to the restarant's homepage on the redirected page? (talk) 00:20, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Not necesarily. Ask User:Mhking who created the redirect. I suspect that someone tried to add a National Coney Island article at one time and the article was deleted as spam or non-notable. After the deletion, User:Mhking created a redirect. Don't assume that there is some special status to the firm in question. TastyPoutine talk (if you dare) 00:32, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

In a nutshell...[edit]

Can someone please write an appropriate {{nutshell}} for this guideline? Thanks. -- œ 21:19, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Is this spam?[edit]

[2] ? -- (talk) 12:21, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

It's probably ok because the site seems reasonable, and the few articles and links I checked seemed fine. There are 151 links now (if it keeps rising, that might suggest spam). One might wonder whether all the articles concern notable athletes (I have no idea) but I would say ok. Johnuniq (talk) 23:57, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Spam: is this a good word to use?[edit]

Reading some very good comments at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/User:Mojo-hustla led me to think carefully about the way we refer to "spam" in Wikipedia, and I found I was not happy about it. I myself have in the past tended to use the word "spam" rather freely in edit summaries, but I now think this is a mistake. There are many people who run perfectly respectful businesses, and would not dream of using spam in the real world, who come to Wikipedia, and, with the best of intentions, place publicity material here. Of course this reflects a failure to understand the nature of Wikipedia, but they are doing nothing which would be regarded as reprehensible in normal business practice. And what happens? They find themselves labelled as spammers. This does not give them a friendly welcome to Wikipedia, it does not assume good faith, and by seeming like an aggressive accusation it is not likely to encourrage them to take a cooperative line. I wonder whether the word "spam" should be removed altogether from Wikipedia: {{db-spam}} could perhaps be replaced with something like db-promo. Likewise Wikipedia:Spam could be Wikipedia:PROMO, which at present is a redirect to a section of Wikipedia:Spam.

I am also posting this comment to the CSD talk page, but I suggest any response should be made here, to avoid duplicate discussions. JamesBWatson (talk) 19:32, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. - Dank (push to talk) 19:33, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
I boldly created {{db-promo}} as a copy of db-spam (they both redirect to db-g11); it's not likely to be misunderstood. - Dank (push to talk) 19:38, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
I have copied the following comment from the CSD talk page, in accordance with my suggestion above.
I agree. Henceforward we should write all edit summaries in Newspeak to avoid harming the fragile self-esteem of our valued spammer community. Doubleplusgood suggestion. —David Eppstein (talk) 19:40, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Apart from the question of WP:CIVIL, I think that comment fails to appreciate two facts which I tried to convey: (1) It is not aimed at the "spammer community": it is aimed at people who are not spammers, but make good faith edits which they do not realise are contrary to accepted Wikipedia practice: as for out-and-out spammers, it won't make the slightest difference whether we are friendly or unfriendly to them, as they won't take any notice either way. (2) It is not about avoiding harming anyone's "fragile self-esteem": it is about not unnecessarily antagonising people: it is in our own interest not to do so. A further point is that we were all new to Wikipedia once, and how many of us who have been around for a while did not, at first, make good faith edits which we would now realise were unacceptable? JamesBWatson (talk) 19:59, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Conversations about spam often devolve into accusations of born-yesterdayness on the one hand and gross violations of AGF on the other, but in my experience, few of the people who actually do the work (taggers and admins) are either gullible or mean. I think the communication problems have more to do with trying to craft a single message that is intended to be ideal for every audience: admins, taggers, unrepentant spammers (in the true sense, that is, people who overload you with something you don't want, ad nauseum), and first-time contributors. Different messages are needed for different groups. - Dank (push to talk) 20:24, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
More seriously, this new {{db-promo}} synonym appears to be targeted at new contributors who show enough signs of good faith that we should encourage them to contribute more positively rather than showing them the door. If someone is a true spammer, why should we care whether they're insulted by being called a spammer? But if someone is a borderline case, a little self-promoting but not really blatant about it, why are we using speedy tags at all? Shouldn't {{db-spam}} and its synonyms be reserved only for what is blatantly spam? I wonder whether adding a kindler, gentler synonym isn't going to have the effect of encouraging speedy patrollers to use the tag too liberally. —David Eppstein (talk) 21:48, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
I fully see what you mean, though I don't understand why you think it is more serious than the previous points. However, the criteria for speedy deletion apply only to those reasons for deletion where it is felt that it is necessary to delete the page immediately, and I think that is dependent on the content, not on the intentions of the author. Thus if a completely unacceptable piece of promotion is included, it should be deleted immediately whether or not it was put there in good (but misguided) faith, so I don't agree with "why are we using speedy tags at all?". As for encouraging speedy patrollers to use the tag too liberally, I think anyone with a reasonable amount of experience of CSD knows already that "spam" refers to any inappropriate promotion, not only what would be called "spam" in the outside world, so I don't think it is likely to make much difference. JamesBWatson (talk) 22:50, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
In answer to Dank's last comment: Yes, there is a good deal of truth in that. "Different messages are needed for different groups" reflects exactly what we try to do in some situations: for example a tagger may place a {{w-spam1}} tag, but what the possible spammer sees is a message which does not mention spam at all. Likewise {{w-spam2}} mentions spam only very tangentially: it is only when we get to level 3 that we start accusing editors to their face of spamming. This is all very well, but in practice an editor who sees such a template message on their user page is quite likely to discover that the tag for the template calls it "spam". In the same way the relevant speedy delete template suggests that the tagged page "does nothing but promote some entity", which is much more general than "spam": so why do we call the criterion "spam"? "Promotion" would be much more appropriate. And if we were to drop the word "spam" in favour of "promotion" would it really make any difference to those editors who accuse such as me of "born-yesterdayness" or of wishing to "avoid harming the fragile self-esteem of our valued spammer community"? I think they would use {{w-promo2}} and {{db-promo}} just as happily as they now use {{w-spam2}} and {{db-spam}}. I actually think that the present wording of the various template messages does a very good job of using the S-word only where it is justified (assuming, of course, that the tags are used intelligently). On the other hand generally making less use of the S-word in our policies and guidelines would make editors less likely to use the word freely elsewhere. I for example remember writing an edit summary in some such terms as "deleting spam link", and thereby making an inexperienced user quite angry and obstructive. It is possible that a more diplomatic choice of words would have elicited a more constructive response, and if not, what would I have lost? I could still introduce the rude word once the editor had shown that they were going to be uncooperative anyway. There is nothing original about that: it is the well-worn principal that we Assume Good Faith until the user gives evidence of the contrary. However, the point I am trying to make is that such mistakes as the one I made would be less frequent if our policies etc avoided using the word as a generic term for any inappropriate promotion, and used it only where spam is really what is meant, because it would discourage us from thinking of the word as the generic one to use. JamesBWatson (talk) 22:50, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Why do you expect editors to know or care which substituted template was used to warn them? You do subst your warning templates, right? —David Eppstein (talk) 23:15, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Firstly, whether I subst templates or not is irrelevant, as many editors don't. Secondly, a {{db-spam}} results in a message which, in editing mode, contains the text [[Category:Spam pages for speedy deletion]]. Anyway, I don't think that alters overall thrust of what I have tried to convey. As for "care", I thought I had explained that. JamesBWatson (talk) 00:53, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Most CSD taggers use either Twinkle or Huggle, so re-naming won't accomplish much unless you get the custodians of those tools to change which tag they use. (don't expect a sympathetic ear on the Huggle talk page) Beeblebrox (talk) 23:01, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
No, and to drastically reduce the amount of inappropriate use of the word "spam" is probably not realistically likely, at least not unless it happens gradually over the course of years, and I have no intention of running a prolonged campaign. However, if there is a significant amount of support for the general thrust of my position then it should be feasible to make some changes. Anyway, the wording of the tags is not the most important point since, as I have already indicated, it often differs drastically from what is displayed. JamesBWatson (talk) 00:53, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
  • A simple way to put things is to avoid ALL auto-promotion (+friend promotion). I've use this as a guideline for a group of mine and it works well. Simplifies the problem. Of course it's not perfect but it's clear limit to understand, hence easy for users to follow. Even for citing I'd advise them to use anything other than theirs, if they don't find any they can discuss it. The simple thing to ask one self is “Who benefits?”... Applying this may sound extreme, Wikipedia may lose some contributors but those that stay will be the best ones. =) Cy21(talk) 14:13, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Darwin Information Typing Architecture article[edit]

Hi, A few days ago I put a comment at Talk:Darwin Information Typing Architecture about product mentions and inappropriate external links in the article, but haven't gotten a response there. I'd removed some product names already and was reverted. Could an uninvolved person please take a look? Should only take a few minutes. Cheers, Walk Up Trees (talk) 19:28, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

I have replied there, and will watch and join in soon. Johnuniq (talk) 02:17, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Spam, COI, good faith and mistakes[edit]

I hope this is the right place for this. Dispute resolution seems too formal and escalatory, but I need a third opinion. I am in a dispute over the understanding of spam, COI and what to do about them. with an admin who is apparently getting close to blocking a user for spamming, even though I think the user was honestly ignorant of policy and was adding material that was very useful.

  • The user is affiliated to an academic religious research centre with associations to Macquarie University in Australia, and the links to interviews done by that centre are excellent RS interviews with established religious experts, or they are life-overview interviews with the topics of the BLP articles they were linked to. But clearly there is a COI issue to be dealt with.
  • S/he added these links from the centre's site to different articles (each link, by itself, a perfectly appropriate on-topic RS) all in one go, giving the appearance of spam. These were taken down, but I put them back up again as each was entirely appropriate as a link - I actually came across the problem because the link added to a page I was working on was mana from Heaven - a respected academic analysing fringe theories of Christianity. I do not dispute the reasonableness of the original reverts - it certainly looked like spamming. I should point out that the links no more promote the centre than the beginning of a CBS news bulletin mentions CBS.
  • Someone else has previously linked to the site material that was essentially spam (opinions of the centre's head on books and films), which understandably raises a few spam alarm bells.
  • The user (someone not very active) had received a warning for adding inappropriately promotional material seven months ago.

So there are spam and COI issues, but the user, after being warned for spamming, has responded and apologised, pleaded (I believe genuine) ignorance asked for help with how to address COI issues, accepting that COI may mean s/he cannot put those kinds of links up. I have been trying to give that help, and there is every evidence that they are keen to contribute, within rules. Unfortunately, the admin who originally removed the links keeps reminding the user that s/he will be blocked if she continues to spam, and has accused me of encouraging spamming. In my eyes, the admin refuses genuinely to discuss any of the issues (just insisting it's all spam) while seeing no reason to look at any of the material added, despite being alerted that the links may not be spam), and has a very strong reading of WP:SPAM and WP:COI that in my eyes is not justified by policy - something I have been trying to explain. The user talk page is here and the appropriate section of the admin's talk page is here.

Is my reading of the spam rules and the appropriacy of the admin's postings all awry? I've come here to get a third opinion because I don't see the discussion going anywhere without it, and I'm struggling to remain civil. I should point out that I am an atheist (see my user page) with certainly no motivation to support a religious organisation per se. My motivation is to help new users learn how to contribute better, and how to solve COI problems that obstruct good sourcing getting onto wikipedia. Apologies if this is the wrong place to post this message.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 04:31, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Spam in userspace[edit]

Some admins are reluctant to delete spam user(talk) pages on the grounds that it doesn't show up in internet searches and that it is in the userspace (even though G11 applies to all pages). I was keeping an eye on this which had the speedy declined (because it appeared to be a sandbox – fair enough, no arguments there), but I've also been keeping an eye on this too, and today it showed up (fifth entry down). So, userpages do show up on internet searches (even subpages; admittedly, it took a few days), just in case you didn't know. ;) And I will carry on dealing with them. :) – B.hoteptalk• 16:27, 19 August 2009 (UTC) Additional note – obviously, as time goes by, that Google link will drop down the page rank (it's now down two to seventh). – B.hoteptalk• 11:52, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

I am glad you have raised this, as it is something I have been concerned with for some time. There seems to be a very widespread view that almost anything can be accepted as long as it is "only" in userspace, and I get the distinct impression that some spammers have realised this, and deliberately put spam articles in userspace, knowing that they will still show up in web searches. I have occasionally put {{NOINDEX}} tags on such spam user pages to stop web searches from finding them, but this is not a perfect solution. Certainly G11 is supposed to apply to all pages, not just articles (that is what the G means). I think it would be a good idea to put specific mention of this issue both in the WP:Spam and in WP:Criteria for speedy deletion. I have put a link to this discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Criteria_for_speedy_deletion#Spam_in_userspace.JamesBWatson (talk) 07:01, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
In general, I will happily delete userspace content if it is clearly there for spam purposes. There are valid reasons for spammy userspace content - generally if an established user wishes to work on a deleted article in userspace to bring it up to scratch - though even these should generally be tagged as NOINDEX. But in general, spam content produced by single-purpose accounts can and should be deleted on sight regardless of the namespace - under no circumstances should spam content hosted on Wikipedia be permitted to stay visible via Google. ~ mazca talk 11:33, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Absolutely, I have focused on G11 in userspace and there's been plenty to do every day. - Dank (push to talk) 17:30, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, it's good to know that there are some admins who accept that spam is unacceptable in userspace, but unfortunately, as Bubba hotep pointed out, there are many who are unwilling to delete it. JamesBWatson (talk) 01:11, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

Newby biting under pretense of enforcing this policy[edit]

We have something resembling consensus here, but I think maybe the "spam" community needs to be involved too, partly because I'm not sure where the emendations to policies should appear. Maybe some of them in the SPAM policy.

There are standard template warning people not to post spam links.

They are misused.

A user writes material that would be considered a valuable contribution to Wikipedia if put into Wikipedia. But they put it in an external site. Then they add external links from Wikipedia. No advertising, no self-promotion. But they get a notice that says this:

Please stop adding inappropriate external links to Wikipedia, as you did to Algonquian peoples. It is considered spamming and Wikipedia is not a vehicle for advertising or promotion. Since Wikipedia uses nofollow tags, additions of links to Wikipedia will not alter search engine rankings. If you continue spamming, you will be blocked from editing Wikipedia.

This template should not be used except when there is thought to be advertising or promotion, or an attempt to alter search engine rankings. Nor should it be used when the links are not "inappropriate". There's a difference between a link being inappropriate, and a link being added by an inappropriate person, when a conflict of interest would be the reason why he should recuse himself.

That is rude newbie biting.

Even if a person were guilty of some offense, one should not use a template that includes that offense among a list of ten other offenses. That in effect accuses them of all offenses in the list. That's dishonest and unjust.

Two important points about the above:
  • The standard template that mentions "inappropriate material" should be used only when the material is inappropriate; not when the person adding it should recuse himself from the decision to add it because of a conflict, and it would be appropriate if added by someone else.
  • That same standard template that warns people against "advertising or promotion" should be used only in cases of advertising or promotion; not indiscriminately used in all cases where the person adding the material should have recused himself from that decision because of a conflict.

On my talk page I was told that in the instance that brought this to my attention, the templates "have been formulated with great attention to precision regarding graduated severity." That is nonsense. "Great attention to precision" doesn't just hit someone with a list of offenses if he may be guilty of one of them; "great attention to precision" does not say material is "inappropriate" when what is thought to be inappropriate is not the material itself but the identity of the person adding it; "great attention to precision" does not suggest that someone is trying to alter search engine rankings when one does not assert that there's some reason to suspect that (let alone hint at what such a reason could be); "great attention to precision" does not does accuse someone of advertising or self-promotion when one does not claim there's some reason to suspect that.

Michael Hardy (talk) 23:54, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

I definitely agree with this; for me at least, it got to the point where I would sometimes wind up using completely customized text instead of the standard uw-spam1, uw-spam2 series for exactly this reason; I would see people linking to some random geocities page on another page, not necessarily their own, yet there wouldn't be a template for it. Unfortunately, I lost what wording I actually used, but the point still remains: we need a template for "this link that you added is bad, please read these guidelines" that doesn't also accuse them of spamming their own site up and down Wikipedia. Veinor (talk to me) 20:52, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
  • I'd love to see a template like that. Those I know are too general, I'd only use them in extreme cases. Cy21(talk) 14:13, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Should Wikipedia be used to promote library cataloguing services?[edit]

Despite having raised my concerns regarding the use addition of hundreds of links to the Worldcat website at Template talk:Infobox Book, an important question as to why Wikipedia should be used as platform to create hundreds of links direct to the Worldcat website has been ignored, perhaps by those who do not want those links removed. There is no reason why Worldcat should be given special treatment by linking to their site in this way, as we don't do it for any other non-commecial or comercial cataloguing service. It is not appropriate to add these lists on two grounds:

  1. Wikipedia should not be used as a billboard site for Worldcat, even if the information on their site (and the related advertising) is useful;
  2. it is not appropriate for an article to link to a specific cataloguing serivce :I think the more important question as to why Wikipedia should be used as platform to create hundreds of links direct to the Worldcat website has ignored.

For instance, Wikipedia does not support direct links to the Library of Congress website via a LCCN, even though it is one of the largest book collections in the World. Whether you agree or disagree with the creation of these links, please make your opinions known at Template talk:Infobox Book or at the current discussion at WP:VPP#Say no to Linkspam: OCLC Online Computer Library. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:02, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

  • Gavin, please make your heading in a less loaded fashion. It's not as if everyone who opposes you in this do so because they want to "use Wikipedia as a billboard". Sjakkalle (Check!) 15:38, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
I have amended the heading as requested. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 16:25, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
Compared to the plague of links to Amazon, the Worldcat links strike me as comparatively trivial. Is there any way on earth that a bot could be created to purge the literally thousands of spamlinks to Amazon, links to Amazon "reviews" (many written, in my opinion, by the authors and their publicity supporters), etc.? --Orange Mike | Talk 12:58, 29 October 2009 (UTC) (yes, I work - albeit very part-time - for one of the few surviving independent bookseller with whom Amazon competes)


Added a section on bookspam; it occurs often enough that it ought to be mentioned in the guideline. Durova345 16:47, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

I think it would be helpful to distinguish two different things: (1) addition of books to the reference section that would be genuinely helpful for other editors to improve the article or that provide useful additional information to article readers, without at the same time expanding the article, and (2) addition of books to the reference section that do not provide any additional useful information beyond the references already listed and that are intended less to improve the article and more to promote the book. The former is not bookspam and should not be discouraged. The latter is bookspam whether or not it occurs concurrently with an expansion of the article. —David Eppstein (talk) 19:07, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
"Further reading" serves the former purposes, and should not be confused with false references. Durova347 01:26, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Maybe, but conflating spam with this sort of minor mislabeling is not a good idea. —David Eppstein (talk) 01:45, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
When a single author or publishing house systematically adds entries to reference sections without modifying a syllable of the articles themselves, that's spam. Plain and simple. That's what the new section is about, and yes it's been going on a long time. Feel free to modify the section if you think that distinction needs to be clearer. Durova347 01:55, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
I totally agree with the new section. Of course there will be borderlines between spam and legitimate addition of external links, as there are borderlines in anything we try to restrict. However, I have frequently seen examples of an editor going from article to article adding the same link to the same book, clearly not because the link happens to be relevant to all the articles, but because they want to advertise the book. That is spam, and it is quite right that we should recognise the fact. JamesBWatson (talk) 19:52, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree that what you describe is spam. I'm just not convinced that Durova's wording adequately distinguishes this sort of spam from constructive addition of additional sources. —David Eppstein (talk) 00:57, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
  • We should say something about adding self-published books to Further reading or References sections. (Cf. previous discussion.) Vanity publishing is on the increase via suppliers like and BookSurge. The principles governing the inclusion of such books in Further reading lists should be modelled on the principles governing the use of private websites as external links. --JN466 03:07, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
    • A link from this section to WP:SPS might be reasonable. —David Eppstein (talk) 03:34, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
      • Indeed. However, note that editors may argue (and have argued) that "Further reading" sections are precisely for those books that per WP:SPS aren't good enough to be used as sources in the article itself. --JN466 03:42, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
        • I'd be happy with a clearer statement here that in most cases self-published books should not be listed as additional reading, although there are exceptional self-published books that are even good enough to be used as real references. This is in part what I've been arguing about with Durova above: her statement is worded as being about listing things as references when they're not really referenced in the text of the article, which isn't about spam at all, it's about proper sourcing. If a bookspammer adds a sentence within the text of an article referencing the book, or if a bookspammer adds the book to the additional reading section, it's still bookspam, but neither of those would fall under the section as currently written. —David Eppstein (talk) 03:51, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
          • In a comment above David Eppstein agreed that bookspam exists, but said he was "not convinced that Durova's wording adequately distinguishes this sort of spam from constructive addition of additional sources". Now he seems on the face of it to be denying that it is a question of spam at all, and wants instead merely "clearer statement here that in most cases self-published books should not be listed as additional reading". However, this does not apply only to self-published books. Also I do not agree that "listing things as references when they're not really referenced in the text of the article ... isn't about spam at all". Certainly it is not always spam, as there are various reasons for doing this, including simply an inexperienced editor who has not grasped what "reference" means. Nevertheless, it is frequently done as a deliberate means of gaining publicity for a book, and in that case it certainly is spam. I agree with David that Durova's wording does not clearly enough define exactly what constitutes "bookspam", but I think the solution is to seek a better wording, not to reject it altogether; a note about self-published sources would not fulfill the same function. I don't agree, however, that the problem is a failure to "distinguish this sort of spam from constructive addition of additional sources", but rather a failure to distinguish it from other types of unconstructive attempts at addition of sources. I also agree with Jayen466 (who signs as JN466) that we should also cover "Further reading" sections etc, as well as false "references". However, while Jayen466's suggestion of a note about self-published books is a good one, I see this as a quite different issue from bookspam: on the one hand not all bookspam is for self-published books, and on the other hand there are other reasons why inclusion of self-published books is often bad, apart from spam. Finally, I do not see that Durova's last paragraph (about students using Wikipedia for term papers) is really needed. I do not disagree with any of what it says, but whoever uses Wikipedia, and whatever they use it for, we should seek to maintain high standards: we don't need to specify particular examples. I have boldly rewritten the section in line with the above ideas. It is now shorter and, in my opinion, simpler and more to the point. While it is not exactly what either David Eppstein or Jayen466 suggested, I think it goes at least part way to addressing the points they have raised. Comments, criticisms, and further improvements will be welcome. JamesBWatson (talk) 10:52, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
            • If you think I don't think bookspam exists then you are grossly misreading my comments. It exists. However, I do not think that all additions of references that do not also expand the article are bookspam: it is possible for such an addition to be a good-faith improvement. —David Eppstein (talk) 12:42, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
              • I apologise, I did not express myself clearly. It was perfectly clear that you acknowledge that bookspam exists. What I was trying to say was something like "David has agreed that bookspam exists, but then later made a comment which on the face of it appears to be saying that what Durova is referring to is not bookspam at all", and then I went on to try to analyse to what extent what you said was valid, despite that apparent contradiction. I actually agree with you that Durova had not got it quite right, but not that what she was referring to "isn't about spam at all". I tried to produce a solution which, as I indicated above, takes into account the comments made by all, including you. While the result will probably not be exactly what any one of us would have liked (including myself) I was hoping that it would go some way towards answering all of our concerns. Once again, I repeat that I did not imagine that you did not believe that bookspam exists, and I apologise for having given that impression. JamesBWatson (talk) 19:04, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

FWIW I'm much happier with Johnuniq's rewrite. —David Eppstein (talk) 02:41, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Since vanity publishers were mentioned in the discussion, substituted vanity publishers for self-published books. Reliable authors have been known to self-publish; this gets it a bit closer to the mark. And actually most of the bookspam I've dealt with comes from credible publishing houses rather than vanity publishers, so removed "often". Durova355 03:18, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
I included the remark about self-published books in response to suggestions above from JN466 and David Eppstein. Every edit since then (4 of them) has changed this remark, and what we have now does not mention self-publishing at all, so it looks as though there is not much consensus for a special mention of it. The comment has in fact mutated into "Sometimes bookspam consists of material from vanity publishers or other non-reliable publishers". Is there any need to make a special mention of that? When bookspam comes from these sources it is no different from when it comes from more respectable sources, and so the question is irrelevant to the topic of "spam". Also, as Durova correctly points out, much bookspam comes from credible publishing houses. For these reasons I am removing the remark; if anyone thinks it should come back they can revert. JamesBWatson (talk) 12:10, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I think the present wording is too weak: defining bookspam as adding books "although the books added do not add any useful and relevant information" allows any vanity-published author to argue, with full personal conviction, that of course his book adds "useful and relevant information", and any Wikipedian arguing otherwise will be perceived as insulting the book and its author by implying that it isn't "useful and relevant". Let's rather use a more objective criterion. I propose that we require self-published books to have been cited by multiple RS; this will exclude vanity publications, while allowing notable self-published authors access. Would anyone object to that? --JN466 11:20, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
Actually, we could phrase it more generally, without singling out self-published books: "The minimum criterion for including any book in "further reading" is that it should have been cited by multiple reliable sources covering the article subject." --JN466 11:45, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
[3] Please review. --JN466 11:55, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
For further background rationale, see [4]. --JN466 16:57, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
  • The problem is that we have detailed guidelines for external links in WP:ELNO, but nothing comparable for books. As long as we don't, the number of books by etc. Wikipedia recommends to its readers will rise steadily.
  • Examples (look for Lulu):
  • The occasional book by Lulu may be alright, but my understanding is that for the most part it's material that is so poor that no reliable publisher would ever touch it. For the Lulu publishing process see; there is no editorial oversight whatsoever. I feel that before we allow Wikipedians to recommend books from such publishers in "Further reading" section, there should be third-party evidence that anyone takes the book seriously. --JN466 22:45, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Agree it's spam if a publisher add links to his own business. Like I mentioned above, I think it's easier to say 'avoid all auto-promotion' in the guidelines. Cy21(talk) 14:13, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

New example[edit]

A relevant report is at WP:COIN#McGraw-Hill. Two users ( and are busy adding "further reading" sections which amazingly refer to books from a particular publisher. Why wouldn't publishers spam when it's so easy? Johnuniq (talk) 03:58, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Another new example of bookspam: Special:Contributions/Ambarsande. I reverted the one from Kissing number problem but there are a lot more. —David Eppstein (talk) 04:12, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Citation spam[edit]

Added this section. This is a fairly pervasive problem and a very aggressive form of link-building scheme employed by spammers--Hu12 (talk) 15:54, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Agree with that. --JN466 23:04, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Me too! --Dirk Beetstra T C 20:47, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
How do we reconcile this concern with WP:CITE which says, Since per WP:V each fact presented by an article must be concretely verifiable, at the editor's discretion it is possible and appropriate to include as many proper and correct citations as desired to affirm the statements made? If the source meets the guidelines for reliability and affirms the statements made, why is it relevant how many other articles use the source? Shouldn't there be a distinction between legitimate scholarly sources and links to commercial web sites? Aren't major changes to Wiki content guidelines supposed to have some consensus first? It seems like this one was added in haste, and was not carefully written so as to meet its objective without conflicting with the long standing WP:CITE guideline. Can we treat convenience links to true scholarly sources as different from links to commercial sites that are selling a product? Fishgeek (talk) 06:29, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
WP:REFSPAM talks about the "illegitimate or improper use of citations, footnotes or references in a manner inconsistent with accepted standards" and the "removal of multiple valid sources and text in particular articles, in favor of a single, typically questionable or low value web source". In other words, there is absolutely no risk of WP:REFSPAM conflicting with WP:CITE. REFSPAM is alerting editors to the fact that someone adding a factoid followed by a reference may simply be spamming, and the reference should be checked to see if it is helpful to the article. By "factoid" I mean that sometimes a spammer will say something like "X's favorite color is blue[reference here]", and the information may be correct, but it needs to be evaluated (do not assume that everyone adding references is in fact helping the article). Johnuniq (talk) 07:05, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Non-Profit spam?[edit]

Is information concerning a non-profit organization "spam" as anticipated by this guideline? Posit an IRS-approved non-profit having a single article in WP mainspace. Would that be instantly deletable as spam? Would a single article in userspace about such an organization be deletable instantly as spam? In each case posit that the organization has no products of any kind for sale on the page, nor would it ask for funds on the page. Collect (talk) 12:55, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Being non-profit may reduce the motives for spam, but it doesn't change the definitions. As for a single article, it would still have to be written in a neutral non-promotional style to avoid G11 speedy deletion, it would have to make some sort of assertion of significance for the organization to avoid A7 speedy deletion, and it would have to pass WP:ORG to avoid slower deletion. —David Eppstein (talk) 17:04, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Would you differentiate between a userspace page and a mainspace article? Presume here that the page makes no comment about donations, funding or the like in any way, but appears primarily set up for information on the non-profit (e.g. a teachers association or the like). Collect (talk) 20:33, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Using your individual userspace to host an advertisement for an organization is a clear violation of WP:NOT#WEBHOST; and if the userspace is that of an account for the organization itself, then the account should be blocked as a role account (and probably a spamusername as well). --Orange Mike | Talk 20:42, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
At what precise point does information about, say, a school PTA become an "advertisement"? Collect (talk) 21:47, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
That tends to fall under the "This isn't promotion, it's valuable information everybody needs!" category, to me. (That's an invalid argument, for those not familiar with WP:VALINFO.) --Orange Mike | Talk 15:57, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
'Come to us to study pharmacology, chemistry, engineering!' (see also [8])? A precise point does not exist, but ... --Dirk Beetstra T C 21:59, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
The example posited was not one which was "come here to study" etc. but more like a school PTA or other non-profit. Or perhaps an organization like ASME. At what point would a userspace page on such an organization become "spam"? Collect (talk) 22:04, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
As I said, a precise point does not exist, and there will always be borderline cases. If it is written promotional, then it becomes spam, otherwise it should not be in userspace but moved to mainspace. --Dirk Beetstra T C 22:13, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Then posit that the group is not notable by WP standards for a mainspace article, or does not have sufficient RS sources to establish notability in any case. A recent one might be User:Adammac138 as an example. For one with no links try User:Wilkikay. Provided as examples, not as entries to be deleted. Collect (talk) 22:30, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Orangemike: these are clear violations of WP:NOT#WEBHOST. Possibly they're not sufficiently promotional to be deleted immediately with G11, but they should go. —David Eppstein (talk) 22:49, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Is that a case where WP:SPAM is an absolute reason for deletion - or ought they be placed properly for discussion at MfD in such a case? And if the discussion discounts SPAM, what then? Collect (talk) 23:07, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I'd prefer MfD. Violating WP:SPAM is not a speedy deletion reason, although being too promotional in tone and content (WP:CSD#G11) is. I don't think these two are bad enough to be eligible for G11, but others may reasonably disagree. —David Eppstein (talk) 00:30, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
G11 refers to "exclusively promotional". It also uses the term "article" which I am unsure applies for userpages. Where actual information is imparted would you still use G11? Collect (talk) 00:35, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
G11 definitely applies to user pages, not just articles: that's why it's in the G series rather than the A series of criteria. But to my mind it's less about whether the article is informative and more about whether it could reasonably be seen as neutral. Also, user pages masquerading as articles such as the ones above start out with a strike against them, to me, because they likely wouldn't be there if it were possible to create a neutral and properly sourced article in article space. —David Eppstein (talk) 00:50, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Seems a bit of prejudgement there, no? Right now there is a userpage for what appears to be a UK version of "Make A Wish" - ought WP be so aggressive in pushing such people away? Collect (talk) 13:49, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
If they are here to publicize their cause/organization/whatever, and not to contribute to this project, I most emphatically feel that we should be aggressive in holding them to the same standards everybody else must adhere to: WP:SPAM, WP:NOT#WEBHOST, the prohibition of role accounts, etc.. I vehemently object to any kind of "fluffy bunny exemption" for rulebreaking in noble causes. --Orange Mike | Talk 15:46, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
"Spam" here is not just for commercial promotion, but for any kind of promotion and self-advertisement. We are constantly bombarded by non-profits trying to raise their profile by spamming Wikipedia. David has masterfully summed up the ways in which our standards are violated: promotion and non-notable organizations. --Orange Mike | Talk 17:19, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Also, be aware that 'non-profit' organisations still need money to exist. I know it is a type of bad faith assuming remark I have made over and over, but if you are a non-profit organisation who helps children in far-far-away, relying on money from the public, then having your links here does improve your visibility and help you gain money for that, and if you are the manager of the web-department of a non-profit museum, then having links here results in increased traffic to your site (which you can show with your web-statistics ...) and shows that you need a bigger computer to handle the traffic, and that you are doing your job fine (&c. &c.). The incentives are generally smaller and different than Sildenafil, and it is less bad, but unfortunately we can't rule them out. --Dirk Beetstra T C 19:50, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

How to deal with spam?[edit]

Special:Contributions/, Special:Contributions/Highspeedrailusa, Special:Contributions/ --NE2 01:18, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Another IP Spamming; (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · what links to user page · COIBot · count · block log · x-wiki · Edit filter search · WHOIS · RDNS · traceroute · · tor · StopForumSpam · Google · AboutUs · Project HoneyPot)
I'd suggest block IP; (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · what links to user page · COIBot · count · block log · x-wiki · Edit filter search · WHOIS · RDNS · traceroute · · tor · StopForumSpam · Google · AboutUs · Project HoneyPot)
and range block (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · what links to user page · COIBot · count · block log · x-wiki · Edit filter search · WHOIS · RDNS · traceroute · · tor · StopForumSpam · Google · AboutUs · Project HoneyPot)
Appears to only be spam and vandalism occuring from these ranges in the last 3 weeks. Obviously related, looks to be some form of work and home IP mix.--Hu12 (talk) 18:17, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
The new IP keeps going, I've rangeblocked IP for 2 weeks for Persistent spamming.--Hu12 (talk) 18:26, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Also discussed here --Hu12 (talk) 19:24, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Somebody posted spam in the discussion section of the list of Sex and the City episodes. It includes many links to other websites. I didn't delete it; I wondered if others can do something stronger than just deleting it. Thanks. Talk:List of Sex and the City episodes —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:00, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I removed it. There are no other links to the spammed website on, and the spamming contributor has not done anything else. I am now watching the page and I don't think anything more needs to be done. Johnuniq (talk) 03:46, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
  • QUESTION: In cases we don't know what to do, is it better to remove just the http:// so search engines can't be index them (and the links are still there)? Or is it better not to because wiki-bots need them? (This is generally citation link/spam) Cy21(talk) 14:13, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

How not to deal with spam[edit]

Can I remind contributors that this page is for discussing improvements to the page Wikipedia:Spam, and not for reporting or discussing individual cases of spamming. JamesBWatson (talk) 15:53, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

I put a note on top of this page (diff). Might need some rewording. --Dirk Beetstra T C 16:10, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Chambers of commerce[edit]

Are references to chambers of commerce, otherwise without notability, allowable as external links? If not, shouldn't they be mentioned here? Student7 (talk) 14:49, 29 January 2010 (UTC)[edit]

Please, why is this particular website banned? Most of the users whom abused it were proven to be sock-puppets and have been indefinitely banned, and this site was one of many dozens the users in questions used. However, I personally cannot see how the site itself can be considered 'spam', and it does contain a source of helpful information and evidence-backed cases regarding Satanic ritual abuse. Thank you, Aangman14 (talk) 00:55, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

The site has been blacklisted because it has been spammed. I have no idea if the site is good or bad – that is not relevant. When sites are aggressively added to articles to promote either the site or a particular point of view, the URL is blacklisted as a last resort. See here for a previous discussion (that is an archive; do not attempt to change it).
In principle, you could request an exemption for a specific web page at MediaWiki talk:Spam-whitelist (you would need to say what external URL you wanted to use in what article and why). However, given my quick scan of the above page you may not be successful because there was really aggressive promotion of the site and the volunteers at Wikipedia cannot spend indefinite amounts of time debating points of view. Johnuniq (talk) 01:24, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Ugh. No offence, but, frankly, yes, I did expect this form of response. Disappointing, yes, but, sadly, not shocking for Wikipedia, I fear... Whom used it as spam? A couple of sockpuppets? And what was it used with? A couple dozen of other websites? The website itself is an excellent source for ritual abuse information; I myself am of the view Wikipedia, or, more specifically, select users with an interest in such topics, is indeed heavily suppressing information concerning valid evidence involving the issue. Now, I understand that people such as you consider it far beneath your notice to consider these matters, but has the thought that those whom were opposed to the site used it as spam in the first place, to get it blocked from Wikipedia? I cannot imagine how the continued blocking of the site could help Wikipedia at all, with the IP Addresses of the abusers indefinitely blocked, and with so few people even knowing of the site's very existence, but I grow weary indeed of debating an issue such as this. I will not embarass myself further by continuing this discussion. Thank you. Aangman14 (talk) 18:35, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

You simply repeat the statement that "it's an excellent source" as if it should be obvious to all of us and we should simply believe someone who's second edit was trying to get it removed. I think it's a reasonable request for you to show us how exactly it could be used instead of trying to rehash a discussion we had last July. In my view, since we've lasted from July until now without anybody else (other than the site-owner's numerous accounts) caring about it, it doesn't seem that needed a source. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 20:20, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
People, be aware of a long history of sockpuppetry surrounding this topic. Cheers, Skinwalker (talk) 23:54, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Cheers indeed, Skinwalker. What is your point, my friend? That any whom happened to try to link to this site as a source, found it blocked, and tried to bring it up is a freaking sockpuppet? Your lack of good faith here is indeed, frankly, personally, repulsive, and also quite disappointing. The issue's been ended. I came here, to this talk page, only because another sysop insisted I do so; is he a sockpuppet also, then? Look, I swear to God, I am not the site-owner, nor did I know of the site's very existence until days past; I am just a random guy who is concerned about the suppressing of satanic ritual abuse information and want to do something about it. I went to Jimbo Wales's talk page yesterday, and the last comment someone made was, basically, telling me to fuck off and if I should bring the matter up again, Jimbo would ban me. I really am disgusted. However, as I am even more so disappointed, I neither responded, nor did I attempt to bring up the issue again after Wales removed it for some reason from his talk page. Frankly, I no longer give a fuck. Please, then, let the site remained block, let them suppress information about ritual abuse. I no longer care about this issue; some of you here have truly sickened me, despite my attempts to keep good faith and maintain civility. Farewell. Aangman14 (talk) 20:35, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
That is a mistaken interpretation. The last comment in the section was an obviously deranged post by an IP which was trolling both you and Jimbo. Again, you have repeated your claims without any engagement in the prior discussion where you have been invited to nominate an article and a change that you would like in that article. Johnuniq (talk) 00:44, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Measuring Spam with Tools (?)[edit]

I just tried the Microsoft's Detecting Online Commercial Intention mentioned in section How to identify spam and spammers, results give “Non-Commercial Intention n%” (percentage). I know we can't put a clear limit but is it possible to get some kind of score range? Or at least from what percentage can we start to consider an article to be advertisement? Cy21(talk) 14:13, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

It's an experimental tool from Microsoft, and clearly fails our standards of reliable sources. --Orange Mike | Talk 17:15, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

MoS naming style[edit]

There is currently an ongoing discussion about the future of this and others MoS naming style. Please consider the issues raised in the discussion and vote if you wish GnevinAWB (talk) 21:01, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

WP:Long-term abuse at AfD[edit]

WP:LTA has been nominated for deletion; discussion here. Johnuniq (talk) 01:39, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

{{contact info}}[edit]

Some time ago, I created a template, {{contact info}}, to cover up contact information that is included within an article nominated for deletion as spam. Now I'm having second thoughts about this template, and I'd like to hear the community's feedback on its existence and its documentation. The template is listed on {{spam-nav}} and has been from the day it was created. -- Blanchardb -MeMyEarsMyMouth- timed 01:03, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

In case no one else has, let me say thanks for putting the time in to create this. I have to admit I'm not sure when I would personally use it though - wouldn't it always be better just to take out the contact info? Thparkth (talk) 01:13, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
What led me to create the template is that in many case the info will be back in a matter of minutes. Now I'm not aware of anyone using this template nearly as much as I do, but I've noticed that it helps to prevent edit warring. But my biggest concern with it is WP:BITE. -- Blanchardb -MeMyEarsMyMouth- timed 01:19, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that makes sense - perhaps even more so on an article which is potentially salvageable than on one which will be speedy deleted within minutes. For what it's worth, it doesn't seem too bitey to me. Thparkth (talk) 01:25, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
I think it is a good idea, and I wish I had known about it earlier. If a page is being considered for possible deletion as spam it is helpful to know that the author of it included contact information, and tagging it in this way provides that information without keeping the contact information visible. If it also reduces the risk of the information being restored then that is another advantage. It doesn't seem to me very bitey, in fact much less so than many other template messages etc. JamesBWatson (talk) 08:58, 1 June 2010 (UTC) Guitarist Rankings[edit]

I would like to challenge my additions to guitarist's pages being considered spam. I have two questions I would like answered. First, why are sentences about Rolling Stone magazine's ranking lists not spam and's ranking lists are? Both are from respected publications in the pop music community. Why is Wikipedia biased toward one and not the other? This appears hypocritical to me. Maybe there's a technicality I am not aware of.

Second, I find it interesting that some references to the Top 50 Guitarists list that I did not put on Wikipedia remain on the site. For instance, on Danny Gatton's page, there is a sentence about his ranking that follows his Rolling Stone ranking. I was not the person who put this here. The other day, I incorrectly added an outside link to the sentence. That was my mistake and it was rightly removed by another editor. However, they didn't remove the original sentence. It remains on the page. So clear this up for me: It's OK for the list references to be posted, just not by me? I don't understand. Please explain. Thank you. Wawzenek (talk) 22:48, 5 June 2010 (UTC)Wawzenek —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wawzenek (talkcontribs)

To any who come across this please take note of item number three in this section User_talk:Wawzenek#An_apology_followed_by_my_concerns of the above users talk page. You are free to add your thoughts either here or on that page. Thank you for your time. MarnetteD | Talk 04:06, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

There to be added OFFTOPIC section in wikipedia. If one sends something not directly related with title of page - then he is to be adviced to make a new page. There is no need to ask for creation of new pages. But as for existent pages... Some articles are definitely not very good like "I don't need to read anything", so no need of them. That is question of wikisource, let's see —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:04, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Way to find Amazon overlinking[edit]

Check out this tool at Linkypedia, it is noting all the links to Amazon and rating pages by number of links to them, it could be a great way to fight overlinking to Amazon as a reference in Wikipedia! Sadads (talk) 16:00, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Reference spamming[edit]

I've come across several instances recently where it is clear that editors are adding references to their own work (or their organisation) to articles. I'm not here to report the users, but some examples are Wikiproject1400 (talk · contribs) - all refs linking were to news releases from the Agricultural Research Service, (talk · contribs) all to books published by one philosopher and today (talk · contribs) - adding links to papers published by one scientist. There are many other similar cases that I've come across as well. Currently the bookspam and refspam sections don't really make clear whether these edits are problematic or not; 83.215's obviously are but the other two are more borderline and I think we need to establish a consensus as to how we should deal with edits like these. My personal view as that due to possible COI problems, editors should not add references to their own work as it often appears that even if their edits are made in good faith, that they are here to plug their own work rather than improve the project. We do need to consider that authors are experts in their field and so we should try not to WP:BITE them either. I suggest that we add something to this page (and maybe to the COI guideline) saying that editors should be extremely cautious adding references to their own work and ideally add it to the talk page first. The exception to this would be if an editor is an expert who has added references to many different authors, in which case including their own papers would be ok. Does this sound sensible? Smartse (talk) 09:14, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Makes perfect sense to me. I have seen this many times also. Recently I have seen the addition of spam external links get removed, then a few days later, see the same user adding references using the same site. I can almost picture them sitting at thier desk all puffed up just sure they are the first to come up with this ingenious idea. ;-) Most are obvious like that, but as you say some are not so clear. Bobby I'm Here, Are You There? 13:34, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
I think the problem cases are editors who *only* add references to their own papers. I have occasionally added references to my own papers when it would have introduced distortions to avoid those references (example) and in other cases when the importance of using that reference was less clear I've either not used it or left a mention of it in talk rather than actually adding it to article space (example; note that in this example, the main article is still unreferenced two years later). But in either case this is a tiny fraction of my overall edits; I don't think that's the kind of behavior you're finding problematic. So I wouldn't want to see a blanket prohibition against self-referencing. See WP:EXPERT: we want subject-knowledgeable editors, and how can we get that if we throw obstacles in the path of editing subjects that one has also written about professionally? But I do agree that the single-purpose self-promoting editors are a real problem. —David Eppstein (talk) 16:06, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
As I said, editors like you would be the exception, but AFAIK you are currently in the minority in comparison to the number of editors I've seen adding references to papers published by only one author. By editing under your real name, you also make it 100% clear to anyone reviewing your edits that you're referencing your own work. Smartse (talk) 16:25, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

I've rewritten the first sentence of the guideline because I don't think it was updated after the bookspam and refspam sections were added a year ago. This type of spamming is definitely distinct from the other two types. Smartse (talk) 16:25, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

@Smartse. I agree with Eppstein here. Moreover, the relevant policy in this this case is Wikipedia:Ignore all rules. No matter what was the aim, one should ask only one question: was the content improved by including a particular reference or a link? If it was, that's fine. Saying that, I agree that none of edits you mentioned improved the content. These edits indeed qualify as spam, but I can not agree with your change of the policy in general.Biophys (talk) 22:41, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your comment. I think the point I'm trying to make, but maybe hadn't yet is that while we would all agree that the users edits are spam, the current guideline doesn't make it clear that edits like these are not acceptable. Take wikiproject1400 as an example, these edits could be said to improve the articles (and I think most of the edits are still present) but IMO, the motivation behind the edits was more to promote the work of the ARS, rather than improve the encyclopedia, and they don't add a great deal, particularly as they are referencing press releases (not journal articles). If they had just been adding the ELs, it would be a simple case of spam, but by adding a summary of the article it appears more legitimate. At the moment the guideline doesn't have anything about cases like this - bookspam and refspam seem to refer only to spamming by just adding a reference with no content. I totally agree with you that the important question to ask is whether content is improved or not - I don't think I've said anything to the contrary. IAR doesn't seem necessary at the moment, because there is no rule saying that it isn't allowed! If a change to the guideline was made, then it would be a perfect example of when editors could legitimately use IAR. Smartse (talk) 09:07, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Consider this example: [9]. It adds some content, but a low-quality content. Was it spam? This user was reverted by others multiple times and stopped contributing to the project hereafter. Was it a good thing? Biophys (talk) 17:53, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Based on the fact they mentioned the authors name seven times, were trying to make the work sound significant (I don't know if it is or not) and it was not directly related to the article, I think that that was clearly spamming. It's never good to find that editors have left the project, but when they've been given a very polite note such as this and carry on in the same vein, I'm inclined to think that the project is better off without them. My view is based on the fact that as a reader, I'd like to know that the references have been added to an article because an independent person has found them to be the most relevant, rather than the author coming along themselves and summarising their work, making it sound significant. In the same way autobiographies are discouraged because if someone is notable an article will eventually be written by an independent person, if the work is important, someone independent will eventually reference it. As a work in progress I think that the quality and integrity of the project are more important than quantity, but maybe you disagree. Smartse (talk) 18:51, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Smartse. It is clear that some editors are contributing only in order to promote something. Wikipedia is at the top of most Google searches and is the primary place for online information, and anyone can edit, so naturally many people will spread text with their point of view over many pages. If an editor thinks it might be desirable to add text which mentions someone's name seven times, we have to acknowledge that their style may be incompatible with that of Wikipedia. While not a case of an expert adding refs to their paper, some refspam I encountered recently is here. Johnuniq (talk) 22:31, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
I just agreed that some guidance to assist pushing back against refspam is desirable, but I also agree with David Eppstein that some edits are clearly helpful and should not be discouraged. We want experts to add neutral, sourced text, and it is fine if that involves refs to their own work. It is only editors who focus on promoting their work that are a problem; it is not easy to define the characteristics of such an editor, but they are easy to recognize! Johnuniq (talk) 23:07, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Find a Grave - concerning mass removals[edit]

A discussion is being held at the Village pump (misc) concerning the merits/problems of using FindAGrave. Mass removals have been suggested. You are invited to join in the discussion.Moxy (talk) 21:47, 20 October 2010 (UTC)


WP:BOOKSPAM is discussed here, so you should be aware that a new proposed guideline for WP:Further reading sections is being developed. Tijfo098 (talk) 05:20, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

Spam filter notice[edit]

I am here to bitch about the spam filter notice because it made me lose a good addition to an article by not allowing me to return to the edit and fix it, but rather only to return to viewing the article, losing the edit. I tried going back but becuase it was internet not safari the text entered was gone. Daniel Christensen (talk) 06:00, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Wikilink spamming?[edit]

Is there anything in this guideline that I'm missing (or in some other guideline) which address wikilink spamming. If not, should there be? In particular I'm thinking of indiscriminate additions of POV links to "See also" sections, such as here. VernoWhitney (talk) 15:27, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

I'm sure I've read it somewhere before and I certainly remove a lot of links made by spammers and see others do it. I can't seem to find anything in the guideline though, so it should probably be addressed. The example you give isn't spam though, just not a good idea! It's more a problem if someone makes an article about their company, particularly if it is only just notable and then adds see also to every other article about their competitors. SmartSE (talk) 15:51, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
If they were actually adding text I'd call it a violation of NPOV/UNDUE - but when they're just adding a handful of links like that to dozens of articles I can't really think of a better term than spamming. VernoWhitney (talk) 16:16, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Spam or not spam[edit]

Are these links spam or not? [10]

If not then I will re-add them...Modernist (talk) 13:07, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Possibly spam links to /[edit]

LinkSearch reports that 188 pages (mostly articles) are linked to http://*, an online travel guide. One specific contributor, Gonzo Baggins (talk · contribs), seems to be responsible for a lot of them some of the more recent ones,updated 12:29, 21 March 2011 (UTC) but s/he's generally using it as a poor source rather than as obious spam. I don't want to go bullying someone just because they don't understand WP:RS but I don't have time right now to review 188 articles. Can someone with a bit more expertise please assess the situation? Thanks. BTW I've left a note for that user so they know about this discussion, and I've invited Thundernlightning to comment as s/he has been cleaning up those links recently. - Pointillist (talk) 10:22, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Hi Pointillist, thanks for starting this thread as this would seem to be the appropriate place to discuss this, rather than simply undoing large numbers of my edits without first discussing it with me as thundernlightning has done.
With regard to the links to, I don't believe I am responsible for a lot of these, as I haven't made anywhere near 188 edits in the time i've been here. I don't understand why the site is a poor source- I have found it reliable and that is why I have used it - it would seem that other people have too judging by the number of links you've found. If I have linked to it often that's because I often read it and come across information i feel is useful to wikipedia, in the same way as I regularly read the bbc and guardian websites and come across info there.
please see below for a copy of the message I left on thundernlightning's talk page:
I'm somewhat suprised that you've decided to delete such a large bulk of my contributions without first talking to me. It seems like the reasonable thing to do would be to first assume good faith and then query me in person.
The reason that I linked to the specific article your talking about is that after reading it I found it to contain useful information relevant to a number of different articles. You'll notice in my recent edits of The Killing Fields and Haing S Ngor I use the exact same quote from a 1985 issue of people magazine. Am I therefore spamming links to a magazine published 26 years ago? I used the londontown link to provide citations to multiple articles because I felt it provided relevant information and would be useful to those who read them, and surely that is the point of wikipedia? I haven't been contributing to wiki for that long, but feel somewhat deterred by the fact that users such as yourself delete entries that I've taken the trouble of posting without even bothering to talk to me first.
Gonzo Baggins (talk) 11:23, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Gonzo Baggins (talk) 11:39, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Hi Gonzo Baggins, thanks for joining the discussion. I've updated my opening comment so that it no longer claims you are responsible for most of the edits (I'm rather busy right now and couldn't go back very far in the article histories to check). It seems to me that the problem with this source is that it is basically a listing and affiliate website that has some "tertiary" content about people and places, rather than being a "secondary" source with independent editorial integrity. Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources describes the differences in more detail. This might not be a clear-cut situation and I most definitely don't want to deter you, or any good faith editor, from contributing. So I have parked the question here in the hope that others can assess it. - Pointillist (talk) 12:29, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

First off i have not deleted a large bulk of your contributions. I deleted (actually undid) one edit on the hotels in London section for the main reason I gave you. You added a section for London Hotels that have been in films (not notable for any other reason). The number of hotels used in London is in the 100's and thus an endless list of hotels i believe would add nothing to that page even if you feel the article benefited from this type of in formation. A more fitting place would be in the hotels own page. You chose to add a handful of those large number of hotels and i noticed the weak citation to londontown. I looked at your other edits and noticed a large bulk of your posts have used that website for citation. This raises eyebrows in that its a weak source and associated with affiliate activities. I questioned the large number of links not just on the basis of being a weak (and not original) source but how you came to find those links. For example the first time you posted them a link was in the langham hotels section when you linked to Can I ask how you came to decide they were an authoritative source when the hotels own website gave this information? I found this to be consistent enough across your posts to warranty removing the londontown links. I have not removed your full edits, only the weak citations. I have noted other weak sources such as, an affiliate hotel website whose articles are written by SEO to embed links to their clients websites. Interestingly one of those using londoninsight for search engine promotion is londontown. For example You will see the embedded keyworded link to london hotels is actually an outbound links to londowntown. I do not want to discourage you from adding to wikipedia I would just try and show you how certain links have raised flags and sticking to the authoritative/original sources will be to everyones benefit. Thundernlightning (talk) 17:11, 21 March 2011 (UTC) is a part of the The LondonMarketing(.com) family of products;
We should see who was adding the links shortly @ Wikipedia:WikiProject_Spam/LinkReports/ agree with Thundernlightning about;
Appears to be an SEO site. --Hu12 (talk) 17:49, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Thundernlightning- I don't want to get into an argument over this, and apologise if my earlier post was confrontational- I was frustrated.

However I do feel that your attitude towards me has been accusatory from the outset, without any real justification. I understand what you are saying about 'flags' being raised, but feel that you have immediately jumped to your own conclusions rather than bring it up for discussion as pointilist has done.

Regarding the film section- I added this because I thought it might be of interest to anyone looking for information on hotels in london, and the hotels I picked I felt were notable as they had been used for significant scenes, not just as 'backdrops'as you say. I also thought that others might add to the list. I would say that this is a matter of opinion whether this section was worth adding or not.

You asked, "can I ask how you came to decide they were an authorative source when the hotels own website gave this information?" (which by the way comes off as very patronising and sounding like an inquisition)

- As I mentioned before, I tend to add information to wikipedia as and when I come across it, and the londontown page was where I found the information. I thought the source was reliable as an authority on the subject, so used it, but will stand corrected if this is not the case. Also, wouldn't citing the official hotel site be classed as a primary source and therefore against wikipedia guidelines?

I can't really comment on what you say about embedded links etc as this is not something I'm familiar with. Once again, I used the londonhotelsinsight link because I found information that I thought might be useful to share. Apologies if this is not the case.

Once again, I don't want to get into an argument, and have only pointed out some points about your comments to try and demonstrate how they can be intimidating to less experienced users such as myself. Gonzo Baggins (talk) 21:06, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

I did say to you on your talk page that the hotels in london discussion page would be the appropriate place to gather opinions on whether hotels that have been seen in/used for films would be a good edition on that page. I have also corrected you twice about you stating i have deleted large amounts of your postings. I haven't, i have undone just one post. All other changes were to remove inappropriate citation to londontown. I have not even removed all your londontown links, i await others to give their opinions if it amounts to spamming and if the links should stay. The hotels main website is already linked on the example I gave. You seem to be saying that every hotel page should have links citating the information from any website except the source/main website? Im not sure i follow that reasoning. Im not sure the problem here. Londontown is a poor source so simply find more authoritative sources and try not to link to affiliate or seo sites unless they are the sole and strong source. And if you do so try and avoid linking multiple times to that site and the same page on multiple articles. Thundernlightning (talk) 22:06, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

I have looked further into the links posted by gonzo. On every url of londonhotelsinsight(.com) he has posted there is a link to londontown(.com), always in the side twitter section and sometimes also keyword embedded into the main text under London Hotels for example. I then googled for both sites and indeed these two sites are strongly connected with articles that name and/or credit both sites together. londonhotelinsight is owned by Positive Partnerships Ltd a seo company whose owner blogs on behalf of londontown. I believe all links posted by the user to the 2 sites should be removed and i would like others opinions. Thundernlightning (talk) 11:01, 22 March 2011 (UTC) provides worthwhile overview entries on London streets, especially concerning geographical information, that are well ranked by Google. I wouldn't say a entry on its own is a sign of notability, but it is a reliable source, as one of a range of references for a London street entry on Wikipedia. It is worthwhile as "further reading" at least. Just my thoughts. — Jonathan Bowen (talk) 13:07, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

Interesting info here Wikipedia:WikiProject_Spam/LinkReports/ Appears all the links are to articles by Rajul. --Hu12 (talk) 16:32, 28 March 2011 (UTC)


Is it possible to blacklist this blog as it is persistently being refspammed through random accounts and IPs on cricket related articles. --- Managerarc talk 14:59, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

The Daily Show[edit]

This is purely anecdotal, but I constantly come across mention of The Daily Show in biography articles after a guest appears on the show. They are usually similar in style and tone. This may be simple systemic fandom, or an organized effort. Has anyone done a more scientific study to see how prevalent The Daily Show mentions are on Wikipedia?

Television talk show appearances seem barely notable on their own, unless something notable happened or was said. One rarely sees 1950s and 60s Johnny Carson appearances mentioned in Wikipedia bios, for example. For most famous people it would be a tedious exercise to list every single TV, radio and newspaper mention. Green Cardamom (talk) 20:38, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Deletion as spam[edit]

How is an external link to an article on domestic violence be considered spam or advertising when it simply makes reference to the story of a particular case? Wmcg (talk) 03:41, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

The plase to discuss specific links is the external links noticeboard. The noticeboard has more people contributing, so you'll get a larger group to discuss the specific link. --- Barek (talkcontribs) - 03:48, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Can we change this?[edit]

This part - "with the purpose of promoting an outside organization". How do we know what the purpose of an edit is, from the editor's point of view? Surely that point is contentious, and if we say an article is spam, we are (by guideline) calling the editor a spammer. There are many editors that have added spam-like content thinking they were adding useful content. Surely we should focus on the effect of the edits and not the intention? What about something like "This page in a nutshell: Spam is the inappropriate addition of links or information to Wikipedia with the effect of promoting an outside organization, individual or idea; it is considered harmful, please do not do it and if you find some, please remove or rewrite the content." ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 23:01, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

Fake drugs using WP-phishing[edit]

Wasn't sure if this is a new topic or an old one: "Spammers Exploiting Wikipedia for Fake Pharma Products" (5/30/2011) --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 19:11, 30 May 2011 (UTC)


I know a method of spamming. It is the following: a spammer sends a message that contains the following: "Please, find x users who hadn't got this message,and send them this message",where x>1. Then there 'd be 1 message,then x+1, x^2+x+1, e.t.c. To prevent it, it ought to be forbidden. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:52, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

Have you observed any users doing this? (I'm assuming you meant in users' talk pages) Got any diffs? -- œ 05:32, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

No, I haven't. Станислав Крымский (talk) 10:07, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

Problem with a template[edit]

In WP:SPAM#Tagging articles prone to spam there are two examples of banners that can be inserted in inappropriate articles, and each banner is accompanied by an explanatory sentence. There is supposed to be a third explanatory sentence saying:

  • For blatant advertising that would require a fundamental rewrite to become encyclopedic, use {{db-spam}} to mark for speedy deletion.

However, this explanatory sentence has become incorporated in the second banner. It should be removed from the second banner so that it stands alone as advice about speedy deletion for inappropriate articles. Dolphin (t) 08:06, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

Are you unable to do so yourself? -- œ 05:37, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Correct. The article WP:SPAM doesn't contain the template itself. That is stored somewhere else unknown to me. Dolphin (t) 12:04, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
You would want to edit {{advert}}. However I don't see the problem - the template has contained that sentence for at least four years. The section is about article prone to spam - obviously if they are complete spam they should be marked with {{db-spam}} but that is dealt with in the WP:ARTSPAM section. SmartSE (talk) 13:50, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Advice please?[edit]

Hi, I'm new to dealing with the issue of external link promotions. Could someone have a look at this so I can learn where the boundaries lie?

I see a WPian has been removing some entries already, with edit-summaries such as "Wikipedia is not an advertising medium. All you people pedaling writing sites need to fuck off." Hmm: perhaps undignified, but I get the idea. The whole category probably needs monitoring, which I'm willing to do if I know more about it. Thanks. Tony (talk) 13:14, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

Obviously expletives should not be used, but I understand the sentiment as many contributors see "anyone can edit" while ignoring the "encyclopedia" part, and they essentially exploit the good work of others to promote their site. Formally, this question should be posed at WP:ELN where things like the excessive number of links in that article are discussed (although people are a bit overwhelmed there since the number of bad links increases daily). I'm watching it now and may help prune it later. Johnuniq (talk) 23:24, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

GLAM Spam?[edit]

I have been reading EVERYTHING I can on spam, advertising, and the like policies on Wikipedia. However, I haven't seen a ruling on whether linking to GLAM resources constitutes spamvertising. If the historical materials of an organization (note: my own archival collections represent non-profit, usually educational organizations, but this discussion could be expanded to for-profit organizational archives) reside in an archives or other GLAM institution, then wouldn't the helpfulness of the external link outweigh the spamvertising? Any insight into this issue would be rather appreciated. I wanted to add that I am trying to expand and improve the articles on which I am posting external links to my archive, and trying not to just spam my links around. However, I believe that people should know where the archives of these people/organizations live because they can be valuable research tools; perhaps that need justifies a little link spamming? alifabeta (talk) 20:48, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

'I believe that people should know where the archives of these people/organizations live because they can be valuable research tools ..' .. That is why we have discussion pages and WikiProjects, where you can tell people who are interested in expanding the article where to find material. External links are not there for putting links that may be helpful. Although not necessarily the case, what is often seen is that editors add their resource to every page that has connection, forgetting that the aim of the external link still is to add to the content, and generally add something that can not be included. Moreover, generally the editor is 'close to the fire', so they are the best to actually expand articles and actually help the article forward (and that is sometimes even without adding the external link). I hope this helps. --Dirk Beetstra T C 20:31, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Product examples[edit]

Section Wikipedia:Spam#Be careful when giving examples briefly discusses examples. I observe in many articles that products are pitched as examples of the concepts explained in the articles. Examples:

I would like to see more explicit guidelines here about when it is appropriate to give product examples. We want to avoid that all vendors look for places where to add their product names as examples.

  • What if a rather obscure product is given as an example - and not the well-known products?
  • When is the mention of product examples legitimate? (Not: "A detergent, such as Tide, ...") When the term is clear enough without mentioning products, then product examples should not be given. Should product examples be allowed if the general term is much less well known than the brand names? e.g., Aspirin versus acetylsalicylic acid?
  • Sometimes, brand names become a synonym for a product category. Genericized trademark These should be allowed to be named.
  • Also legitimate: making a List of xxx article. Is this always admissible?
  • Should examples be restricted to a specific Examples section in an article?

--Bikeborg (talk) 15:34, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Your suggestions would be well worthwhile except that it is unlikely that reasonable guidance can be given on the topic because it is vague and its application would all depend on the context of the article. I have removed several product examples from articles because they act as spam magnets, and keep growing (with slow edit wars about which products are listed first). In some cases a few examples of what the article is talking about seemed desirable—in those cases I have trimmed lists down to items with an existing article at Wikipedia (per WP:WTAF).
My only real comments are that it would be hard to devise suitable wording (particularly given that this is not a bureaucracy), and that I do not think mentioning an "Examples" section would be desirable as that rather legitimizes the concept, with some editors inferring that every article "should" have a list of examples in an "Examples" section. Johnuniq (talk) 01:01, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
I find myself generally removing all the ', like productx, producty and productz' sentences, even when it are products by the big global companies (do note, that your example 'Tide' may very well be pretty local, I am not familiar with that detergent - I presume you mean 'Dreft' - such examples should be removed for sure). The only reason to leave an example is when an example can be independently referenced as 'being something special', and I think that your genericized trade marks are there a group. Note, that when the reference is to an article just comparing products, that for me is not giving the products 'something special', even if the reference is reliable, independent etc. Those specific examples don't need to be specifically in the example section, they may very well be in the prose where the special feature is explained.
I find list articles dangerous as well, they also tend to be spam-magnets. They tend to be more dependent on the SEO capabilities of the companies involved, than on being independent, and good followers of Wikipedia principles (especially for the less common products, it will be fine for operating systems as that has a lot of watchers and people interested, it is more likely to be spammy for wardrobes, where the articles are watched by few).
A good solution is always: include a {{dmoz}} (directory service) in the external links section - although those lists tend to be incomplete, at least a spammer can't complain that his is not listed and others are. --Dirk Beetstra T C 04:21, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Sure, it is difficult to give very precise and generally applicable guidelines. But that is true for many topics treated here in the Wikipedia namespace. Some more specific guidelines could simplify the life of contributors and reduce edit wars. Should we start by collecting some positive and negatives examples to get a better handle on what the advice should be? --Bikeborg (talk) 15:26, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

How to identify spammers?[edit]

This may not be germane but, how do we know if someone is deliberately acting like a spammer or his actions are based on lack of knowledge about Wikipedia policies?

What I intend to bring in this discussion is, “how far would WP:AGF be applicable in such cases?”

[if you don't mind, please notify me on my talk page, after responding to my questions. BTW, this is not a decree or anything like that. Thank you.]  Brendon is here 19:09, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Report link spam[edit]

How to report link spam, especially if the links are Twitter and Wikia? Thanks. Dede2008 (talk) 15:54, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Report it here, be sure to include details (IP, Accounts, what link is being added..ect..thanks--Hu12 (talk) 16:19, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Jimbo Wales Spam[edit]

How do I disable the internal ads that keep on bugging me about donating? (talk) 19:57, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

By registering for an account. An unregistered reader has no way of adjusting or modifying the Wikipedia experience. --Orange Mike | Talk 20:32, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Specifically, once you have an account, go to Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-gadgets and click the 'Suppress display of the fundraiser banner' box. SmartSE (talk) 20:50, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

External links have a negative SEO effect?[edit]

There is an interesting discussion at WT:External links#Removing links on request where a site owner wants their external links removed from articles because their presence hurts the site's SEO! Comments about the issue at the other page would be welcome. Johnuniq (talk) 11:12, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

Is this SPAM?[edit]

User:Scr206 appears to be an WP:SPA solely concerned with writing about the Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights History Projects and adding links starting with to wikipedia. Is this SPAM? I thought it was, notifed the user and reverted some of the link additions (but not content additions, which I still think can be merged into something useful), but User:Beyond My Ken differed, reverting a whole bunch of my reversions and other edits. Could someone offer a third opinion please? Stuartyeates (talk) 20:28, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Well, speaking to the general case, no, I don't think an external link has to be commercial in nature to be considered linkspam. Plastering links to one's favorite nonprofit, charity, or generic noble cause is still linkspam. However, I'm not sure I'd be so quick to call all these links linkspam. Most of them are probably in violation of the external link policy, but they're closely-related enough that I don't think they're spam, per se. (As an aside, I believe that "SPAM" is specifically the meat product; when it's online, it's generally lowercased. Could be wrong, though, and really, who cares.) The point is that, while I don't think that you were necessarily wrong to revert the additions (and some were worse than others), I think they're close enough that (stretching AGF a little bit perhaps) I wouldn't call them spam. So, given that, I don't think that BMK was necessarily wrong to revert you, either. So, we've done the bold part, the revert part, and we're working on the discuss part, so yay, cake and ice cream all 'round. Writ Keeper 20:55, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Private Property Towing[edit]

How can that be listed with Wikipedia — Preceding unsigned comment added by Eric Elam (talkcontribs) 13:10, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

user page spam[edit]

The project pages Conflict of interest, Wikipedia:Spam, and Wikipedia:User pages provide unclear, contradicting, or no info about what to do with spam on a user page. Please discuss at Wikipedia_talk:Conflict_of_interest#user_page_spam. --Espoo (talk) 18:11, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Celebrity athlete endorsements[edit]

There's a discussion ongoing at Talk:ALCAT test about whether articles should include mention of vendor-solicited pro-athlete endorsements of the product described in the article. Said endorsements have been published in usually-RS publications, but we have no way to know what inducements or persuasions the athletes received in order to make such statements to the press. We do know that the company directly reaches out to athletes and trainers to promote the product (it's shown prominently on their website). We also know that the WP article was originally used as advertising by shill accounts, though that has largely been corrected now. Comments on how to address such situations would be helpful.LeadSongDog come howl! 15:53, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

The claim of vendor-solicited pro-athlete endorsements is speculation not based on any real evidence. They aren't even endorsements if you look at the page. They're just reports in reliable sources about how certain athletes have used the test and found it useful in some way. These aren't testimonials like you'd find on a company webpage. Plot Spoiler (talk) 19:39, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

Query about citation spam[edit]

Does this constitute WP:CITESPAM? Till 05:41, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

I think the 'spam' label implies an element of bad faith, or at least conflict of interest, that is (probably) not present here. This was most likely a good faith use of a primary source to verify a release date. If a better (secondary, less commercial) source is available it can be replaced, but I see no advantage in removing the table or leaving it unsourced, nor to chastising the user who added it. Kilopi (talk) 21:39, 17 December 2012 (UTC)[edit]


I have come across an advertisement on Elance for someone trying to hire someone else to spam Wikipedia: I don't know who I need to message to prevent any spam from this person. Is there any way to block the links to '' and '' to prevent anybody from adding links to them? Kind regards, Matt (talk) 03:54, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

A taken care of. See WikiProject Spam report and your request. cheers--Hu12 (talk) 04:44, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

Together we can make our world a safer place <3 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pamelaness (talkcontribs) 23:12, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Confirmation to protect against automated spam?[edit]

How many edits do I have to make before Wikipedia stops forcing me to enter a code every time I post an EL on a talk page? I am (not) Iron Man (talk) 10:19, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

Once your acount is four days old and you've made 10 edits your account will be autoconfirmed and you shouldn't get the captchas anymore. SmartSE (talk) 12:01, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

Email Spam from domain[edit]

Can't find info on reporting abuse from domain names. I've been getting a lot of recent email spam with return addresses, but due to the prevalence of Wikipedia, doing a google search to find where to report spam only turns up wikipedia articles on the subject of spam. - (talk) 01:06, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

A good definition of "promotional"[edit]

From Cindamuse's comment on the talk page of a blocked editor:

Mere publicity, promotion, and advertising need not reference sales or reviews pertaining to the quality or feasibility of the subject of the article. Simply announcing the existence of a subject prior to notability would be considered promotional and inappropriate. (emphasis added)

I like it. Useful, short, and to the point. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 04:30, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Spam blacklist versus Linklove[edit]

I'm going back and forth with a couple of other editors that a link to the current home of the website Encyclopedia Dramatica can't appear on the article's sidebar, or, I suppose, anywhere within the article, because it happens to be on the spam blacklist. I feel the spirit of this policy should allow a redirect, since the purpose of linking to a site that is the subject of an article isn't by any stretch of the imagination "spam" (the article has survived [a record?] 24 WP:AFDs), regardless of the rather WP:BURO matter of its existence on the blacklist. Is this something we should explain more explicitly in this policy, or is it already covered in WP:LINKLOVE, as the link obviously serves an encyclopedic purpose? -- Kendrick7talk 02:59, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

New bot[edit]

This is just a warning message that a new bot has been designed to seek out blacklisted links and tag the pages containing them with {{Spam-links}}.—cyberpower ChatOnline 08:38, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Requested move of Wikipedia:Advertisements[edit]

Hello all. I've just started a requested move discussion for Wikipedia:Advertisements, which has some relation to this guideline. The discussion is at Wikipedia talk:Advertisements#Requested move if anyone is interested. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 15:32, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

What links here and Flow[edit]

Are people still using "what links here" when investigating spam? Do you assume "what links here" will show links on user talk pages? There is a question at WT:Flow#What links here and boards (flow) which reminds me that WP:FLOW will replace user talk pages (probably later this year), and that will radically alter how talk pages work. Johnuniq (talk) 00:58, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Persistent link spamming[edit]

Can anyone advise what the course of action is for someone spamming links? I reverted several links by User:Buckinghamgate to 'direct hotels . co . uk'. That user has now reapeared as GeorgeThomsonSmith who is now reverting my changes and using redirects to hide the final destination to that website. Thundernlightning (talk) 12:31, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Spam blacklist to get the link itself blacklisted, see Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard or one of the sub-noticeboards if an editor is being persistently disruptive after being warned. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 19:52, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
Ditto on Thunder's question, but is there a more intermediary step to someone spamming links but not doing it persistently (from an IP that we probably don't want to block). Sometimes I see competitors spamming links on articles where I have a COI and I am not sure where to report it. Or in another example, is spamming external links to, which appears to be a crowd-sourced review site. I probably don't want to escalate such a paltry issue to ANI and I have no way to give an IP a warning. WP:COI would suggest I not revert myself. Do admins usually do a short-term block in that case? CorporateM (Talk) 00:02, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Is this refspam?[edit]

LoungeBuddyLucy (talk · contribs) is adding links to as references in a number of airline-related articles. It sniffs of refspam, but I note she is making constructive edits along the way (e.g., correcting the spelling "MilagePlus" to "MileagePlus"); and all of the points at which she is adding the references are unreferenced. appears to be a advertising site for a phone app for finding airport lounges, so not the best of references, but, apart from the apparent COI and factors above, it's arguably an improvement to add a reference to an otherwise unreferenced statement. The additions do not appear to be indiscriminate.

I'm on the fence on whether this is WP:REFSPAM or a legitimate attempt to improve the article. TJRC (talk) 20:37, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Hi there, thank you for your comment. Though was initially only a site for a phone app finding airport lounges, it is now also creating great sources concerning all air travel information. Indeed, all the points that I'm adding references were previously unreferenced, and can be found on the pages from the links. This is a legitimate attempt to improve the article. LoungeBuddyLucy (talk) 20:48, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Whether intentional or not, edits like this are definitely refspam and should be reverted. If LoungeBuddyLucy (talk · contribs) is affiliated with then they shouldn't be adding links to the site. SmartSE (talk) 21:02, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
I've replaced all spam links. Some pages were previously referenced and not unreferenced as user states. A few articles were bombarded repeatedly with the same spam link. 21:16, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Syntax- "how not to be a spammer"[edit]

would read better if written "How to not be a spammer".

The existing sentence reads as if it intends to give the reader advice on how to spam correctly (or not spam incorrectly). I got a chuckle out of this, but to increase the legitimacy of the article / not confuse syntax-naïve readers, it might be best to consider a change to the latter example. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:00, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

You make a good point. "How not to eat dinner" sounds like advice on things to avoid while eating dinner, "How to not eat dinner" sounds like advice on not eating dinner. Chillum 05:03, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Liliane Bettencourt Scam Suggestion[edit]

There looks to be a 4th form of Wikipedia spam now, where a Wikipedia page is used as verification as part of an e-mail scam. There is currently an e-mail doing the rounds using the article Liliane Bettencourt as the basis of verifying the subject:

I, Liliane authenticate this email. You can read about me on:
I write to you because I intend to give to you a portion of my Net-worth, hoping it would be of help to you and others too. Respond for confirmation.

With love,
Liliane Bettencourt

This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.

There is almost an edit war in progress with multiple contributors adding a message of warning to alert unsuspecting people who may have received the e-mail, however each of these are being quickly removed citing no reliable sources. Some contributors have attempted to invoke WP:Ignore All Rules, but this was rejected as it does not meet WP:GNG or WP:EVENT, this does not seem to fit the norm.

How should scenarios like this be handled? The multiple edits are disruptive, yet I can understand the justification behind them. It does not seem this type of situation is catered for in WP policies. Some discussion here: Talk:Liliane Bettencourt Screech1616 (talk) 12:25, 18 November 2014 (UTC) Screech1616 (talk) 12:25, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

Every time I get on Wikipedia[edit]

I continue to read on Wikipedia only to get the $3.00 spam promotions. Really tired of it. Most of the clowns doing the editing are so anal that if you change anything (even if true), it's removed. The editors are now paranoid. No more spam please! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:35, 4 December 2014 (UTC)


The following user accounts have been spamming for a company variously called Ventom Network India, Ventom Media, Ventom International Motion Corp, Ventom India, etc.:

Some of the users have already been blocked. A SPI is probably needed, but thought I should flag it up here too. Thanks, Dai Pritchard (talk) 15:46, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

Comment: an SPI has already been started at Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Kubekosh. Dai Pritchard (talk) 17:07, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

More eyeballs please - Jgzheng[edit]

Jgzheng (talk · contribs) / (talk · contribs)

Specifically :

I reverted a few run-of-the-mill self-promotion ELs today, plugging some undergrad essays (when they can't even spell "Burners-Lee" right they're not that good). Next edit and they're back. As I don't want to be accused of WP:OWN (Catching some flak for that at ANI today) I'd appreciate if a few others could keep an eye on things. Thanks Andy Dingley (talk) 22:56, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

- jgzheng: the resources are legit published book chapters and put in the right section of book chapters. I would consider as a personal attack to say it is undergrad essay. Wikipedia clearly need editors that need to read other encyclopedia articles otherwise better articles go somewhere else. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jgzheng (talkcontribs) 00:04, 7 March 2015 (UTC)

Comments appreciated on a draft of article for Signpost about spam[edit]

I have decided to write an essay for the Signpost about the problem I see with certain type of spam. Please leave comments at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Spam#Lots_of_articles_about_companies_and_products_are_failing_notability. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 06:50, 26 March 2015 (UTC)