User:PleaseStand/Admin coaching

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This is the admin coaching page for PleaseStand (talk · contribs · count). Some questions are taken from Malinaccier, and modified.

AfD is one of my main concerns. I have also made only one page protection request (for an obvious reason) although I have considered reporting the occasional find of heavy vandalism to that page. You may also want to examine my three reports to UAA that were rejected. Four Phase seems to cover the main areas of admin work, but I do need to focus on learning AfD (the "standard" Four Phase plan does not seem to cover that adequately). Please be aware that this week, I can only log on to Wikipedia approximately one hour per day, so you might not get a swift reply (you will get a reply though). Thanks, PleaseStand (talk) 04:08, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Questions from PleaseStand[edit]

Ask away!

Username policy and promotional usernames
  • One thing I noticed that is missing is a clear definition of what a "promotional" username is. Does that include usernames such as User:Smith Publications in addition to names such as More generally, if a user's name is the same as that of the promotional a) article; b) AfC submission he created, is his username considered "promotional"? PleaseStand (talk) 05:56, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
The key line in the username policy on this is "Promotional usernames are used to promote a group, company, product or website on Wikipedia." So 'Smith Publications' would count as promotional, irrespective of edits (because it is obviously a company or organisation, any time the username appears it is promoting it). It would also not be allowed based on the section "Company/group names". I help deal with account creation requests on unblock-en-l (often from good faith users who can't create an account because of a range block), and it is very common to decline to create a particular account name because it represents more than one person, and that's often a lot easier to judge than how promotional it is. I would say generally, yes a username the same as the article would be promotional, but maybe not always (I add the last bit as a disclaimer, because off the top of my head I can't think of any exceptions, but I suspect there are).
As for how you deal with a promotional username I don't think an automatic block is always the best thing. In the case of names which suggest a shared account and/or blatantly promotional (often confirmed by edits), then yes they should be. In more borderline cases, especially if they are going through the AfC process (which is a strong indication they are trying to 'play by the rules') then not, and base further actions based on edits. Peter 17:33, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Even if the name is not considered "promotional", is the above user (account) still blockable a) as having a "misleading" username; b) per WP:NOSHARE, even if there is no evidence that the account is operated by multiple employees of the company? PleaseStand (talk) 05:56, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
I think this is answered above, let me know if not. Peter 17:33, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
  • For the above scenario, would it perhaps be better to open a WP:COIN case rather than immediately blocking and/or deleting the article? PleaseStand (talk) 05:56, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
Referring to your second scenario (the username=article title one) then yes, actions other than blocking/deleting should be considered first. That might mean taking it to WP:COIN (I confess I wasn't consciously aware of that noticeboard until you just linked to it, so I can't say I know what cases that is best for, but the box at the top saying what it is not suited for seems to cover most cases I've come across, which is probably why I don't come across that page much...) I guess it's a bit hard here to talk in abstract, so if you run across some examples I can take a look. Another general point, is that I treat the edits as more important in judging what to do than the username, and always prefer to issue any blocks/deletions based on the edits, unless it's a blatant violation of username policy. Peter 17:33, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
  • What about User talk:Hookedonhorses? That is a real case in which the user was blocked. I had filed a UAA report prior to the block; however, Nihonjoe chose to attempt to discuss the matter with the user, stating, "Editor is trying to work within the system, so there's no reason to smack them around for it." Wouldn't that be a "company/group name", since it is the same as the name of the magazine the user was apparently trying to promote? PleaseStand (talk) 00:42, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Obviously the name by itself is not a problem, they might just like horses. So it goes back more to what I said that I prefer to deal with users primarily on their edits, not the username. As they were going through the articles for creation process I'm more inclined to agree with Nihonjoe, and not block. However, sharing accounts is a problem (and often a lot easier to detect on the unblock mailing list by language used) as it is against our copyright policy (we need to attribute edits to individuals), so I wouldn't say it was a bad block either. If they were editing the mainspace directly I would be much quicker to block as a spam username. So this is a good example of a borderline case, and unless the policy gets clarified further I think it's just up to administrator discretion, with no clear right or wrong answer. Peter 20:17, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
  • How would you deal with User:Ravish pondicherry university and User:Saravanan Pondicherry University? The accounts are obviously related and, if I recall correctly, were apparently creating autobiographies. Would those be considered "misleading" usernames since they include the word "University", even if the first part of the usernames are the users' real names, respectively? I say this because User:Cuterbot could have been someone unaware with Wikipedia's username policy (i.e. restrictions on what usernames ending in "bot" can be used for). PleaseStand (talk) 00:42, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
I have the advantage here of being able to view their deleted edits, which were clear blatant advertising on their userpage. Again here it's the contributions being dealt with rather than the username, and deleting their userpages was easier to do in this case, and all that needed to be done (they weren't here to edit articles, just post their CV). If they were editing constructively I think I would encourage them to change their username, as potentially confusing. You could point out to them that usernames are supposed to represent them, rather than any organisation, and even though they have own name as well, I think this still applies here.
'Bot' names pretty clear cut. All '' names are reserved for bots, so even if they were productively editing (not the case here, but assuming there way) I would block on sight, but include the appropriate message about changing username, explaining the situation and making it clear that it is not their fault. Peter 20:17, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Vandalism-only account blocking
  • If I were to see a user make exactly ten dummy edits (such as whitespace changes or undos/redos), and then committing an act of vandalism as the eleventh edit, can the user be blocked as a vandalism-only account? PleaseStand (talk) 01:33, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't recall coming across this situation, but I imagine I'd warn rather than block. The 'dummy' edits can be an indication of an inexperienced user, so there should be an automatic assumption of good faith, unless there's evidence to suggest a sock. So without specific evidence that the account is a sock, and assuming the 11th vandal edit wasn't vandalism of the most extreme kind (which seems to be mostly stopped by technical means these days anyway) then I wouldn't immediately block. With suitable warnings (either 4im or usual levels 1-4 depending on the nature of the edit), then of course they can be. Peter 17:01, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
An example: Vauhtimato (talk · contribs); when could that account be blocked as a VOA? (and it was) 1) The account was never used to edit for its first year of existence (sleeper account?); 2) After that time, the account made ten dummy edits within two minutes; 3) The eleventh edit was rather obvious page move vandalism. PleaseStand (talk) 17:45, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
Ah, good example. As said above I can't remember coming across this situation before, so I was talking in abstract. Now, with that example it's an obvious case of a sleeper account, waiting to become auto confirmed to be able to move pages (first by time of existence, then the 10 edits). So yeah I guess I need to step back from what I said a bit, exactly 10 null edits followed by an obviously vandalism edit is probably a sign of sleeper VOA and can be blocked on sight without warning. I think I still covered myself with the "and assuming the 11th vandal edit wasn't vandalism of the most extreme kind" bit above, which would cover the last page move vandalism (that's a category of vandalism that I don't see nearly as much of now as I used to). I guess the test is, 'is it possible that the vandalism could be from someone who is no familiar with Wikipedia' (in which case warn first) or 'this person has to know how WP works to have carried this out' (in which case almost certainly a returning vandal and can be blocked without warning. Peter 19:34, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Random observations, comments, suggestions, etc. from Peter[edit]

In order made, not indicating importance or significance.

Areas to cover[edit]


  • When do you think a non-admin closure of an AfD is appropriate? When is it not, and why? (Feel free to answer both as your personal opinion, and what you believe the community consensus opinion is, if they are different.) Peter 21:26, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
It is acceptable (both to me and to the community) for a non-admin to close an AfD as part of uncontroversial maintenance (e.g. if the nominated page is a redirect, template, etc. rather than an article, or if an administrator has already deleted the page). Other cases are less clear. The WP:NAC essay (not policy, but widely cited) suggests that a) speedy keep closures; b) unanimous "keep", "redirect", or "merge" closures after a full listing period may also be acceptable. Since speedy keep closures overlap snowball closures to some extent, it seems that the community is rather conservative with regard to this (i.e. "zero remaining arguments" is not a valid non-admin speedy keep closure). PleaseStand (talk) 05:56, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
If the closure requires administrative action (e.g. deletion), non-admins cannot close deletion discussions. Additionally, the WP:NACD section of the deletion process guideline states that a non-admin should refrain from closing a deletion discussion if he has a conflict of interest or is otherwise involved with the article, which I believe should also apply to administrators, or making closures per the snowball clause. PleaseStand (talk) 05:56, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
That seems fine. I would always lean on the side of caution with non-admin closures. SNOW closures can very easily turn controversial, so even as an administrator they should be treated with care. Even more so that the early closing (rather than eventual decision) can be the problem, and it's really stupid to have to get into an argument over that, so in almost every case it is better to allow more discussion time to make sure consensus if fully clear and/or simply to make sure article authors feel that they've had there 'fair chance'. It can be a lot less time consuming overall to point someone to an AfD that has run it's full course, which they will then nearly always accept, compaired to an article that has been taken to AfD, but then speedy deleted or SNOWed half way through, then re-speeded a couple of times because of that AfD. In the latter case it will nearly inevetably lead to a lot more one-on-one discussion with the editor, often going to email etc. There are also examples (not off top of my head I'm afraid, but they do exist!) of discussion that look like they are 'snowing' at the start, but then a new point can be raised that no-one had thought of/didn't think relevant, which swings opinion. Another slightly related point is that I haven't closed an AfD discussion in ages - why? simply because there is zero backlog there. For whatever reason(s) it no longer seems to be an area that is permanently backlogged, so there is no great need to rush to close as a non-admin. None of what I said is designed to go against what you said, or to say that there are never cases speedy/SNOW closures to AfDs are appropriate, I just wanted to point out what the benefits are in leaning on the side of caution. Peter 22:10, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
  • When closing a deletion discussion, when may you disregard comments and !votes? (Answer as an admin) Peter 21:26, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
The important thing is that AfD is not a majority vote but rather a process to establish community consensus regarding the proposed deletion of an article. As an administrator, if "per nom" and similar !votes are excessive, they can be disregarded as adding nothing to the discussion. Also, at times one will observe "keep" votes from multiple new users (e.g. WP:Articles for deletion/John Bambenek (2nd nomination)). These new accounts are single-purpose accounts that are likely meatpuppets, and administrators may disregard such !votes at their discretion, considering the comments made by established users. PleaseStand (talk) 05:56, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
It is also important to note that our policies and guidelines (usually!) reflect community consensus on a wider scale than represented at one AfD. Therefore !votes correctly based on policy carry more weight. Peter 22:10, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
  • How would you close 1?
I have never seen an AfD that confusing before. Many !votes do not appear to be based on policies or guidelines. The "not a game guide ... isn't really much worth saving" and "more than enough time in itself to find sources" arguments are sound, but another commenter believes there is content worth merging. Although I would be inclined to close as "delete", it might perhaps be better to relist the discussion. PleaseStand (talk) 02:09, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
Confusing it indeed is. Quite a large part in my delay in replying was wanting to be in a state of sufficient alertness to be able to look at how I'd have closed this myself. Your answer is perfect however, and is exactly in line with how it was actually closed (relist, resulting in clearer consensus to delete). Peter 20:41, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
  • How would you close 2?
Here, I do not believe relisting is appropriate (it already has been once). I would close as keep because there are good arguments that the article's verifiability issues can be fixed through normal editing (namely Edison's). The delete votes do not address the notability impact of winning the award three times. PleaseStand (talk) 02:09, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
Personally I would have closed as no consensus (hence article would be kept). The only difference is that 'keep' is a stronger statement, and therefore makes it less likely to be result in a new nomination later. Either way, the actual closure of delete was wrong (and later overturned at deletion review). Peter 20:41, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
  • How would you close 3?
I would close as delete — it seems clear that the subject is not notable, and the consensus at AfD seems to support that. The "keep" vote does not seem to be based on a policy or guideline. PleaseStand (talk) 02:09, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
I would have re-listed this. In reality this AfD was closed as delete, which was then overturned at deletion review. It's worth taking at look the DRV (at Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2008 February 29) as there's pretty good reasons there. Peter 20:41, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
  • The first AfD exercise above raised a reasonably common situation in deletion discussions (not just AfD, but other XfD as well), where there is several debates within a short space of time about similar articles/files/whatever. Taking each of these debates in isolation there can be apparently quite different consensus (not explained by differences in the X for deletion). How do you think these situations should be handled? Peter 20:41, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

  • How would you close 4? Btw, you've probably worked out by now these are real situations. It should (and maybe can!) go without saying that you should reply without looking up the actual results, and in my replies above I've only looked up the real result after deciding and commenting for myself. Peter 20:41, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

  • How would you close 5?

  • How would you close 6?

Page Protection[edit]

  • Repeated vandalism coming a number of IPs/new accounts to a specific article is indeed a good reason for semi-protection. Occasionally (though I think it's fairly rare) older accounts (usually socks) can target a particular article as well, and that can result in full protection (though more likely just block the accounts). Can you think of any other situations when a page should be protected/what is the purpose of protecting a page? Peter 21:26, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
If there is a content dispute among multiple parties (not just two users), full protection might be appropriate (preventing edit warring and forcing discussion to take place on the talk page). High-risk templates should also be fully protected (in part because of the effect of the job queue with respect to both legitimate editing and vandalism). In general, the purpose of page protection is to prevent damage to Wikipedia by allowing only certain users to edit problematic pages. PleaseStand (talk) 05:56, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
Sounds good. Just to supplement what you said on edit warring, there is a recent case where I have fully protected an article (Greensburg, Pennsylvania) when it's just two editors. That's because the IP user changes IP addresses, so can't block so easily, and the dispute is obviously centred around that article, so I don't nessesaraly want to stop them editing other articles. Semi-protect is no good, because I don't want to show favouritism to the registered user. Incidentally, as I'm involved in an administrative capacity on that article, I can't make editorial suggestions without appearing to be biased. It'd be grateful if you could go over there and take a look and weigh down on some sort of conclusion to just 'get something done'. If their dispute goes on it might nearly be worthy of WP:LAME (well not yet...), it's pretty trivial, but still I want to see them sort it out properly, if for no other reason than understanding how Wikipedia is supposed to work (which is another reason I don't want to block them, they are kind-of talking about it on the article's talk page). Peter 22:41, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
  • A user requests for their user page and talk pages to be protected. Do you protect only the userpage, only the talk page, both, or something different? Explain why, and feel free to give different answers for different possible situations. Peter 22:41, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
I would first check the history of both pages for vandalism and other disruptive edits; if there are no such edits, protection is unnecessary. If there is evidence of vandalism, I would protect the user page (full protection or semi-protection as appropriate). I would be more hesitant to protect the talk page because that page is important for communication with the user; that would require heavy vandalism from unregistered or newly registered users. I cite WP:PP as relevant to my answer. PleaseStand (talk) 00:42, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Fine. Peter 20:17, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Username blocks[edit]

  • For now, take a look at our username policy if you haven't already. I'll ask a few questions after you've done that and had the chance to deal with the above. Peter 21:26, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
    • I have read that policy and have posted a few questions on promotional usernames at the top. PleaseStand (talk) 05:56, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
Please comment on the following usernames, are they against policy, and what action would you take?
  • KCLSO, no edits
Acceptable, and it is definitely "not a blatant or serious violation of policy." It is not misleading or disruptive in any way (length of the username is manageable). In fact, it is not even a random combination of letters; both KCl and SO are formulas for chemical compounds. PleaseStand (talk) 00:42, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes. If you start seeing edits related to King's College London Symphony Orchestra (top result in google for the username) then you will be dealing with a promotional username, and probably be issuing a spam username block, depending on the edits. Peter 20:17, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Although long usernames comprised of random characters can be disruptive, they do no harm if they are not used to edit. Therefore, I would "wait until the user edits" before taking action. If it turns out to be a productive contributor, I would recommend that the user pick a better username. PleaseStand (talk) 00:42, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
In this case I would hardblock. Usernames this long and random are very rarely (ever?) used productively, and can be sleeper accounts for mass vandalism. It was more of a problem before the autoconfirmed usergroup and all the other technical anti-vandalism stuff was introduced, so lot less of an issue these days than in the past, but I still can't think of a good reason to have this username, and in the remote possibility they were a 'real' user then they can appeal. Peter 20:17, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
  • QwikCleanInc., adding wikilinks to some cleaning brands in lots of articles (this is a real situation, with a different username)
Has the user only made edits to promote their company? I cannot determine that from the above information. If so, I would block the user as a spam-only account; however, WP:SPAM suggests that the user should be given a warning first. There is an RfC on this matter, and consensus seems to show that the {{usernameblock}} template should not be used for this type of block because it encourages sockpuppetry, but rather {{spamusernameblock}} should be used as notice of the block. PleaseStand (talk) 00:42, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
I can't remember the username of the person I was thinking of, but this is (bizzarly) a case of long term abuse, someone who has used several sockpuppets to do this. However, I didn't expect you to know this, and your answer is fine. Interesting link to the RfC aswell, I wasn't aware of that. There seem to be plenty of good points being made there. I agree that {{Uw-ublock}} should be used in very few situations. In this case {{Uw-spamublock}} is the right one, as the block should be a hardblock, and it contains good instructions to the user. Peter 20:17, 26 June 2010 (UTC)