User:Pathoschild/AOL proxy talk pages

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Pathoschilduserspace map ] (AOL proxy talk pages)

This page explains why I'm clearing AOL proxy talk pages, since the reason is not immediately obvious to users not familiar with the way AOL proxies work.

I occasionally clear old discussion from AOL proxy pages, replacing all content with the {{AOL}} template. I only do this on AOL proxy pages, as distinguished from the AOL dynamic range. This is an important distinction which often leads to opposition from users who aren't aware of it. A user in the proxy range changes very rapidly; it is said that the 'new messages' banner is permanent, and that clicking the link brings you to a talk page for an IP you've already moved from. Very conservatively, proxy users switch addresses within fifteen minutes, which makes all warnings older than fifteen minutes absolutely irrelevant. Leaving warnings after that point is the equivalent of warning Titoxd about hypothetical vandalism committed by Hoary, and arguing that they are relevant because someone has to be warned.

The AOL dynamic ranges are more traditional, randomly assigned on connection and generally stable the whole time the user is connected. Warnings on these pages don't need to be removed very often, since the user probably will see them. Those IP addresses should no longer be categorised by {{AOL}} rather than the generic {{sharedip}}, and updating those pages is part of the maintenance I perform.

Many AOL users are confused by the warnings. They often believe that they are the sole users of their IP address (having little or no understanding of shared proxy servers), and mistakenly assume that any warnings are directed at them. Although the {{AOL}} template at the top of the page explains the shared nature of the IP address, AOL users seem to notice this as little as do users who continue to place warnings regardless.

Many emails we receive on the Open ticket response system are from AOL users who believe they are personally being warned for something they did not do. Some users have pointed out that the removal of warnings triggers the 'new message' notice as well, but this is a minor inconvenience while the removal is a major improvement. Users do not email us complaining that someone removed such warnings they didn't deserve from their talk page.

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