Wikipedia:Article Feedback/Feedback response guidelines

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The Article Feedback Tool gives users an easy option to leave suggestions on how to improve pages. However the feedback tool is also open to abuse, and some moderation is needed to surface useful comments and remove inappropriate feedback.

These guidelines aim to help users deal with feedback posts, using the moderation tools at their disposal. These guidelines do not bind users to act in the way described here (with the exception of oversight which is bound by the oversight policy), however they should be used as a reference.

User groups and rights[edit]

Users are placed into four groups for the purposes of the Article Feedback Tool; these guidelines contain information for all four of these groups. They are:

Readers
Readers (defined as logged out users and non-confirmed users) can post feedback, view feedback, mark feedback as helpful or unhelpful and flag them as abuse. See Wikipedia:Article Feedback/Help for more information on how this user group can use the tool.
Editors
Editors (defined as Confirmed and autoconfirmed users) have the added ability to mark feedback posts as 'useful', 'resolved', 'no action needed' or 'inappropriate'. They can also view reviewed posts in special filters for each of these categories, 'Undo' any of these moderation actions, as well as discuss useful feedback on talk pages or contact the authors of feedback posts. See Wikipedia:Article Feedback/Help/Editors for more information on how this user group can use the tool.
Monitors
Monitors (defined as Administrators, reviewers and rollbackers) have the added ability to hide and see hidden feedback, as well as request Oversight. Administrators can also protect a page that is getting too much inappropriate feedback. See Wikipedia:Article Feedback/Help/Monitors for more information on how this user group can use the tool.
Oversighters
Oversighters have the added ability to oversight, decline oversight and see oversighted feedback. See Wikipedia:Article Feedback/Help/Oversighters for more information on how this user group can use the tool.

User rights and tools are shown graphically and with more details in this Access and permissions matrix.

Moderating feedback[edit]

Each user group has access to different moderation tools, as outlined below.

Reader tools[edit]

Reader moderation tools

These moderation tools are only available to readers, not to editors (who have their own tools that are more powerful than the reader tools).

Mark as helpful[edit]

Mark feedback as helpful if it is generally constructive and possibly useful.

Mark as unhelpful[edit]

Mark feedback as unhelpful if it does not contribute to the development of the article (such as "Justin Bieber is great" or "ksnknck").

Marking feedback as helpful or unhelpful does not affect its appearance, only the percentage shown below the feedback.

Flag as abuse[edit]

Feedback should be flagged as abuse when it contains inappropriate comments. Monitors regularly patrol the 'flagged as abuse' filter looking for feedback which should be hidden, so feedback flagged as abuse should receive a relatively fast response.

Editor tools[edit]

Editor moderation tools

These moderation tools are only available to editors, not to readers (who have their own tools, described above).

Mark as 'useful'[edit]

Any feedback which is reasonably actionable may be marked as useful if it is likely to improve the article. The format of the feedback (such as whether it is all in capitals or not) should not be considered when deciding whether to mark a post as useful.

If an editor continually marks unhelpful feedback as useful, the community may come to a consensus to ban the user from participating in Article Feedback. Discussions of this nature should take place at the Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents.

Mark as 'resolved'[edit]

Feedback should be marked as resolved if the reader suggestion has been addressed in the article.

Editors are encouraged to look through featured feedback and see if they can make some of the suggested changes to the article. When the suggested change is completed, the feedback post should be marked as resolved. (Tip: click on 'Add a note' to share a link to the diff).

Feedback can also be marked as resolved if it includes a reasonable suggestion (which would normally meet the conditions for 'useful') but is clearly not going to be fulfilled on policy grounds (please also state the policy in your note when you mark it as resolved).

Mark as 'No action needed'[edit]

Feedback may be marked as 'No action needed' if it does not contribute to the development of the article or doesn't require an action from editors. This could include comments that are unclear, irrelevant, praise, or duplicates, for example. This tells other editors that the comment has been reviewed, and removes it from the 'featured' or 'unreviewed' queues.

Mark as 'Inappropriate'[edit]

Feedback may be marked as 'Inappropriate' if it is nonsense, offensive or spam -- or if it includes private data like phone numbers or email addresses, for example. This tells other editors that the comment is not suitable for Wikipedia, and removes it from the 'featured' or 'unreviewed' queues. Monitors can then review it in the 'inappropriate' queue and decide if it should be hidden or not, as described below.

Undo[edit]

To revert any of the moderation actions above, click 'Undo' and the comment will be moved back to the 'Unreviewed' queue. You can select another moderation action, if you like.

Monitor tools[edit]

These moderation tools are only available to monitors, not to editors or readers (who have their own tools, described above). Monitors include users in the administrator, reviewer and rollbacker user groups on the English Wikipedia.

Hide this post[edit]

If you find a particularly inappropriate comment, you can permanently remove it from public view with this special monitoring tool.

Hiding a post makes it invisible to anyone except monitors or oversighters: they will see a grey mask over hidden posts, but clicking on them will reveal the contents of these posts for these authorized users. Note that this tool works in the same general way as revision deletion, and should be used with care. If you hide a post, you are encouraged to add a note explaining why you are hiding it. If you wish to hide a post that has not yet been marked as inappropriate, first click on 'Inappropriate', then on 'Hide this post'.

Generally, only feedback which meets one or more of the following criteria should be hidden:

  • H1 Copyright violations.
  • H2 Insulting, degrading, or offensive material, allegations, harassment, threats or attacks including personal attacks directed at specific editors or Wikipedia editors in general (this criterion should be interpreted liberally).
  • H3 Purely disruptive or blatantly unconstructive material that is of little or no relevance or merit to the project. This includes nonsensical text (such as aksnksckdjdvfpqsk), browser-crashing or malicious HTML or CSS, shock or phishing submissions, obvious advertising, and spam links (which are not related to the article).
  • H4 Personal information not serious enough to be oversighted (such as email address, which do not include real names or other identifiable material).
  • H5 BLP violations which are not serious enough to be oversighted.
  • H6 Non-contentious housekeeping including correction of clear and obvious unintended mistakes in previous hides, changes to hides based upon communal discussion and clear consensus, adding information to the notes, hiding blank feedback.
  • H7 Duplicate feedback submissions by the same user on the same article may be hidden if they provide the same or similar information provided in their duplicates. Monitors should determine whether the most detailed or the most recent feedback submission will be left unhidden. This criterion should be used only when another criterion would not justify the feedback submission being hidden. That is, if H2 applies to one or some of the submissions, use it first, then use this criterion if there are still duplicates.
  • H8 Ignore all rules. Monitors are encouraged to use their own judgement and discretion when assessing whether a submission should be hidden or not. If you are unsure, mark it as inappropriate, as this filter will usually be viewed by other monitors, or hide it and leave an explanatory reason.

Monitors are free to use their discretion in deciding whether or not to hide a post, with the exception of feedback which meets criteria H1, H2 or H5. For these criteria, the feedback must be hidden regardless of whether it is useful or not. Monitors are advised to make reference to the above reasons by adding a note when prompted. They are anchored as H#, for example WP:AFT5G#H2.

If an editor is hiding feedback inappropriately, and the issue cannot be resolved through discussion, the ability to hide feedback may be removed using the normal process for removing the parent right that is granting the ability to hide.

Feedback submitters, if you believe your feedback has been hidden incorrectly, please leave a message at the AFT5 noticeboard.

Request oversight[edit]

Oversight should be requested for feedback which contains non-public personal information, such as phone numbers, home addresses, workplaces, schools or identities of pseudonymous or anonymous individuals who have not made their identity public -- according to the oversight policy. This includes hiding the IP data of editors who accidentally logged out and thus inadvertently revealed their own IP addresses. Suppression is a tool of first resort in removing this information.

Email addresses should be hidden, but oversight should not generally be requested unless the email address contains identifiable information.

If in doubt it is better to request oversight and leave the decision up to the oversighter, rather than not request it and have potentially problematic information stay live.

For all oversight requests, please leave a detailed reason for why you think the comment should be suppressed.

Once a feedback submission has its initial oversight request declined, oversight should not be re-requested through this tool.

Other tools[edit]

Add feedback on talk pages[edit]

To promote useful feedback on article talk pages, click on 'Discuss on talk page' for comments that have been marked as useful. This will let you quickly add a new section on the talk page, including the comment and its links, so so that editors can discuss it in the same place where they already talk about article improvements. To follow up with registered users who post feedback, click on 'Contact post author', to leave a message citing their comment on their talk page. Constructive interactions like these can help new users contribute more productively to the encyclopedia.

Enabling feedback[edit]

To enable the Article Feedback Tool on articles you watch, simply add this special category ('Category:Article_Feedback_5') on your articles -- and the feedback form will automatically appear at the bottom of these pages. Editors who add this tool are encouraged to moderate feedback periodically for those articles (using the 'reader feedback' link at the top of their article talk pages).

Disabling feedback[edit]

The feedback tool can be disabled on pages in different ways: through the normal protection interface (called feedback protection), which is the recommended option, but is only available to administrators; by removing the 'Article_Feedback_5' category (called 'Category removal'), which is an option available to all editors; or by adding the page to the Article Feedback Blacklist]] (called feedback blacklist protection), also available to all editors but generally not recommended.

Feedback protection[edit]

If an article is getting a high volume of inappropriate feedback, an administrator can turn off Article Feedback for different classes of users (e.g. anonymous readers) through the "protect" function. If you're not an administrator, you can request that they do so at Requests for Page Protection.

Administrators may protect a page against feedback being submitted by logged-out users, autoconfirmed users, or non-admins through the regular protection interface. As with move protection, when pages are edit semi protected, feedback protection should also be at "enable for autoconfirmed users only" to prevent abuse moving to the feedback tool.

Feedback protection (through the regular interface) has it's fault in that it can only be instituted at the same level as edit protection (for example, on an unprotected page feedback protection cannot be instituted). As feedback protection can only be set and changed by an administrator meaning that it may take some time for it to be set, but also meaning that it cannot be unset as a disruptive tactic.

Admins may institute feedback protection when the vast majority of feedback submissions on that page are hidden or marked as abuse according to the above criteria. The time frame used to judge "the vast majority" is up to the admin, and may range from one day to one month. For articles (particularly BLPs) which have had a number of submissions hidden under criteria H1, H2, and/or H5, the "vast majority" requirement may be relaxed to a level decided on by the admin.

Feedback blacklist protection[edit]

Adding pages to the Article Feedback Blacklist category can be seen as a less severe form of protection as it can be reversed any user (in the majority of cases). However, it also has two faults, one being that (on an edit unprotected page) any editor can remove the category, and the other is that it removes the tool indefinitely and is much harder to track than using the protection interface.

Feedback blacklist protection may be instituted on any page outside the Main, Wikipedia, and Help spaces (corresponding talk pages may be added to the category). It may also be used to disable the tool on pages where the tool has a long term history of abuse.

Feedback protection (using the protection interface) is the preferred option to prevent abuse as it can be tracked more easily, and an expiry time can be set.

User warnings[edit]

A number of user warnings are available for use. A multi-level template series is available for editors post feedback which contravenes the guidelines for appropriate or which meet the criteria for hiding for another reason. The user warning templates are {{subst:uw-af1}}, {{subst:uw-af2}}, {{subst:uw-af3}}, {{subst:uw-af4}}, and {{subst:uw-af4im}}.

Three single issue notices, are also available to be used in specific circumstances:

  • {{subst:uw-af-personalinfo}} may be used when editors submit feedback which includes personal information. Care should be taken to ensure that the submission has been Oversighted, or at least hidden before this template is used.
  • {{subst:uw-af-contact}} may be used when editors submit feedback which reads as an attempt to contact a person or company, usually related to the subject of the article.
  • {{subst:uw-af-question}} may be used when editors submit feedback which includes a question about the content of the article. This template directs the user to the Wikipedia:Reference desk.

Other guidelines[edit]

Conflict of interest[edit]

In general, users should not use any editor or monitor tools on feedback they submit, with the exception of hiding feedback that they submitted with their own account. For that reason, the software prevents users from reviewing their own feedback.

"Wheel warring"[edit]

In general, if a monitor has already reversed a monitor action (for example, hiding feedback), there is very rarely any valid reason for the original or another monitor to reinstate the same or similar action again without clear discussion leading to a consensus decision. Discussion of this sort should take place on the AFT5 noticeboard.

Sanctions will vary depending on whether the users involved are admins or reviewers/rollbackers. Admins are subject to the conditions at WP:WHEEL. Reviewers and rollbackers may have these rights removed by an uninvolved admin; whether removal comes before or after discussion at Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents would depend on the extent of the wheel-warring.