Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Persistent proposals/Archive 2

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Highlight or put a mark to unwatched articles on RC

Many vandals edit Wikipedia but are quickly reverted by RC patrol and by watchlisters get the occasional edits that slip in, but what about edits that slip RC patrol and aren't watchlisted? Maybe these edits could be highlighted in yellow or red in the RC list like we have at special:newpages. I recently had to contact an expert pertaining to many anon edits to Template:Infobox copper. There was false information unnoticed for weeks, and who knows where this will happen again. I believe my simple proposal can help levy the problem -- penubag  (Talk) 17:36, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

I like the spirit of this idea, but it would have to be made so that it doesn't seem TOO obtrusive looking to the eye. Arnabdas (talk) 17:57, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
CSS maybe? -- SEWilco (talk) 02:28, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm of mixed mind. 80% of the random low level trouble here comes from anon editors, but on the other hand isn't it against the spirit of anonymous editing to be looking over their shoulders all the time?Wikidemo (talk) 05:20, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Anonymous editing means that the editor does not wish to disclose their identity, but watching over them closer seems like a fine compromise. -- penubag  (talk) 08:48, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
There is no way that articles that aren't watchlisted are going to identified to other than admins. And there is no way to tell which edits "slip RC patrol" and which in fact are reviewed by an RC patroller and evaluated as acceptable.
What would be possible is to do what another Wikipedia (Dutch language?) is doing - having patrolled edits for anonymous IP edits only. That reduces the percentage of edits that need to be marked as patrolled, and it focuses attention on edits most likely to be vandalism (something on the order of 1 in every 5). -- John Broughton (♫♫) 23:48, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
That's never good enough. Unwatched pages need more attention, even if we only allow admins to view highlighted watchlists. -- penubag  (talk) 02:30, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm sure this edit would have been noticed if my proposal was in effect, rather than go unnoticed for 30minutes. -- penubag  (talk) 08:10, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

even if we only allow admins to view highlighted watchlists - but that misses the point; the problem is (a) "edits that slip RC patrol and ALSO (b) "aren't watchlisted". But, as noted above, there is no way to tell which edits "slip RC patrol" and which in fact are reviewed by an RC patroller and evaluated as acceptable. At least there is no way now - we'd have to go to marking edits as patrolled. And if you're proposing that we do so, you're probably not going to get a lot of support - as it is, new pages are being patrolled, and (as noted elsewhere) despite the much lesser volume, nowhere near 100% of new pages are marked as patrolled. If editors don't find marking of new pages to be worth their time, why would they be willing to do so with just plain edits.
And if we're going to try patrolled edits, it makes sense to start doing this (time-consuming) task by focusing on what has the highest payoff - IP edits are many times more likely to be vandalism than edits by registered editors. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 23:58, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
No, that's not what I'm trying to propose. I'm not proposing that unwatched pages be marked as patrolled, but just put a little mark next to the pages appearing in recent changes so they'll get a little extra attention. There's aboslutly no down fall to this addition and can greatly keep Wikipedia reliable. -- penubag  (talk) 00:08, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
This section starts with a statement about highlighted in yellow or red in the RC list like we have at special:newpages - but that highlighting is based on 'which new pages have been marked as patrolled. How can ALL edits be similarly handled (with highlighting) if patrolling is NOT used for all edits? (And how could you possibly read anything I wrote as saying that unwatched pages be marked as patrolled - who in the world would suggest that?
If you think there is some way that the software can know which "edits have slipped RC patrol", other than my marking edits as patrolled, please share that information. Otherwise, please explain why you think changing to a system where edits are formally marked as patrolled (as is the case now with new pages) is a good idea, and whether you think there will be enough editors participating to actually make this work. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 16:10, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, there was a misunderstanding. When I said RC patrol, I didn't mean actual patrolling edits as in New pages, I ment it as vandalism slipping the RC patrollers monitors. So basically my proposal is to just mark the unwatched pages that appear in RC with a little mark or a yellow highlight (similar to the highlight in NP). Wow, what I wrote is a mess. -- penubag  (talk) 22:29, 23 March 2008 (UTC)


Could few users take a look at User:Maximillion Pegasus/Unwatched? Thanks. Maximillion Pegasus (talk) 05:01, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

That's kind of what I was saying here: (See below)-- penubag  (talk) 05:04, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
considering that the category only lists the first 1000 pages in alphabetical order, which currently takes it only from (1952-19??) ‎(Watch) to 2007 Countrywide Classic, without getting into the pages beginning with alphabetic letters at all, i dont se e what use it is to anyone at present.DGG (talk) 05:10, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Which was why I though my proposal was good. -- penubag  (talk) 05:15, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
True, but it is still useful. I believe your proposal would go great with one of mine. Maximillion Pegasus (talk) 05:19, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
No one else seems to like mine. -- penubag  (talk) 05:32, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
They're both good ideas, I think. As long as access is limited to trusted users, ie. rollbackers etc, I don't see why not, to both suggestions. I mean I don't think either of them will be implemented, as the proposals page is basically one big waste of time since the developers are so busy with unified login that no new good ideas have been implemented in a while, except for those that are the simplest to implement, and everything just ends up getting archived in the end. Not a criticism just a statement of truth. Perhaps we should start building a page of ideas that have merit and that come up often, so that they can be revisited once the developers have more time. Equazcion /C 08:57, 21 Feb 2008 (UTC)
I think that idea is pretty good, Equazcion, don't let it get archived ;) -- penubag  (talk) 04:20, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Sorry it took so long for me to notice this response. Here's to keeping the section alive. Maybe I'll start a subpage or something soon for ongoing proposals, or maybe a separate Wikipedia: page. Equazcion /C 07:15, 26 Feb 2008 (UTC)

Edit conflicts

Currently, if an edit conflict occurs, users are taken to an edit conflict page where once they make their edit again, they must then save the entire page, even if they were originally only editing one section. This often results in further edit conflicts, especially on pages with many active sections, such as this one. I don't think it's technically necessary for it to work this way, and propose that the edit conflict page be changed so that the user only has to save the section they were editing again, rather than the entire page. I think this would make things easier for everyone by cutting down on multiple edit conflicts. It would also save some server load/bandwidth to not have to deal with whole-page uploads whenever an edit conflict occurs. Equazcion /C 00:21, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Hear hear! The question is, would such a change be technically feasible? Waltham, The Duke of 00:58, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I hope so. Good idea. - Rjd0060 (talk) 01:09, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, it most certainly is, at least as far as I can tell. The edit conflict page is just another edit page on Wikipedia, only it happens to open the entire page for editing, for some reason. When an edit conflict occurs, you could just ignore it and load the section-editing screen again manually -- but why not have the edit conflict window do this automatically? Equazcion /C 01:11, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
There's only one feasibility issue I can think of: If the edit conflict was caused by the removal of the section you were editing, and possibly even if another section were deleted further up the page. A classic entire-page edit conflict could be displayed for just those cases, though. Equazcion /C 01:30, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't think it's technologically possible. The "edit conflict" page already only comes up when the server has tried and failed to merge your changes with the other editor's. --Carnildo (talk) 03:17, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't see why that's a problem. The software knows which section you were trying to edit. There's no reason it needs to display the entire page when an edit conflict occurs. It could just show you that one section you were editing. Equazcion /C 03:22, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
It should only be a problem if the section was removed, renamed, or reordered (WM works on section numbers). If one of those things should occur the EC page should give a message 'EC + can not find section' and display the entire page. --Lemmey talk 13:48, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

What I've always done is as follows:

  1. edit section X of a page
  2. attempt to save my completed edit
  3. the save fails due to edit conflict. I (hopefully) take note of this.
  4. from the "Edit conflict" notification page, I back up one page in my browser's history, arriving back at the section-edit just before I attempted to save it.
  5. I select the contents of the edit window and save it on the clipboard (click, ^A, ^C). I may or may not also paste it into a local text editor and save a copy in a local scratch file).
  6. I check to see whether the edit conflict affected the section I was working on (let's say that it did not)
  7. I redisplay the article and click to edit section X (again)
  8. I replace the entire section with my clipboard-saved edit (click, ^A, Del, ^V). (the Delete action is superfluous, but makes it clearer what is happening)
  9. re-enter the Edit Summary and redo the save attempt.

This sequence is more complicated to explain than it is to do. Incidentally, I did it on this edit, with the added complication that the conflict did involve this section. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 01:41, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

I often do something similar, but it's a lot of extra steps that I'm suggesting shouldn't be necessary. Also, most people probably don't know they can do that and use the edit conflict window instead, which causes the extra server load and bandwidth use of a lot of unnecessary whole-page uploads/saves. Individually these instances wouldn't cause much burden, but in total they could amount to a significant difference. Equazcion /C 01:50, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
All of this functionality is in a file called EditPage.php. If one were to achieve what is proposed here, some fixes, or potentially a rewrite of that page would be needed. 哦,是吗?(O-person) 03:26, 28 December 2007 (GMT)
I don't think "server load" is particularly important; my sense is that edit conflicts are relatively rare. But from a user viewpoint, there seems no reason to present an editor with an entire page to edit if the editor was trying to edit only a section, assuming that the section still exists. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 13:45, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not allowing this to get archived. This is happening. Equazcion /C 04:17, 29 December 2007 (UTC) 04:17, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Is there a bugzilla posting on this? -- John Broughton (♫♫) 16:01, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree with John Broughton. In fact, the claim that the server tries to merge the changes is is completely false (not that whoever said it was lying, it's just not true). Looking back at most of my edit conflicts, the server doesn't even attempt to include edits to two completely different sections for some reason, which infuriates me every time. I understand a conflict on the same section, but is it necessary to display the whole page just to edit one tiny section? This whole system really does need looking into. .:Alex:. 17:26, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
That's true that it doesn't try to merge edits to the same section, but I always thought that when they say "merge" that this meant it tried to merge only as long as the edits were to different sections. If "merge" actually means that edits to the same section are supposed to get merged, this does not seem to be happening, and I mean ever. Equazcion /C 06:54, 31 Dec 2007 (UTC)
No, there is no bugzilla posting for this. I would do it myself but I'm not so familiar with bugzilla, and I also would like to get a more solid consensus going here... while no one seems to be against the idea, not too many people are commenting. Equazcion /C 07:00, 31 Dec 2007 (UTC)
Bumpity... Equazcion /C 17:06, 3 Jan 2008 (UTC) 17:06, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
If you write user specifications of what the software does now, what you want it to do, and why, I'll submit the Bugzilla. I suggest a subpage in your (or my) userspace as it makes a no-archived place to hold a discussion. MBisanz talk 17:46, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

←Okay, I'll get started on that. Lets call it User:Equazcion/Edit conflict bug. All feedback appreciated, as I don't have any experience writing bugzilla reports. Equazcion /C 22:37, 5 Jan 2008 (UTC)

As it turns out, a Bugzilla entry already exists for this, created by AzaToth in January of 2006. There's been no activity other than the original posting. I'd like to ask anyone who has a Bugzilla account to please vote for this one: Thanks. Equazcion /C 11:20, 7 Jan 2008 (UTC)
I asked users to vote for this over at WT:Help desk#Help desk regulars: please vote for bug fix. got a few to join but we need more. PLease go vote.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 05:40, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

I feel that this is a very serious issue and needs to be addressed asap. I'm not sure if it was some of the scripts I installed into my monobook, but whenever there is an edit conflict, I lose everything I was just writing. Even pressing on 'back' on my web browser does not bring back what I typed. This is extremely annoying and really gets on my nerves. The edit conflict message should at least show you what you wrote. -- penubag  (talk) 04:54, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Create a new ref tag called <note>


Sometimes you use the <ref> tag for notes (ie a bit more information) instead of for a reference, and i have seen articles which use the old {{note}} template to create a separate list of notes as well as of references. It should be very easy for the mw:Extension:Cite/Cite.php extensions to add <note> and <notes /> as two new hooks which work in exactly the same way as <ref> and <references /> do.

This would enable an article to maintain two lists (one of notes and one of references) as now it is either lumped together in one list, or needs to use old templating systems. For example: International Whaling Commission uses just the ref tags but some of the tags are for notes (eg number 6), so could have two lists instead.

Also, would it not be possible (maybe with a bit more work) to be able to have multiple lists of each. Ie you could have <ref1>, <ref2>, <ref3> which corresponds to <references1 />, <references2 />, <references3> which would be handy for articles such as List of Governors of Alabama which has a list below a table, and then one at the end of the article; or United Kingdom (and like many of country articles) has some notes in the infobox as well as a References section at the end of the article.

(I also raised this question at the technical village pump.) Chris_huhtalk 15:01, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

This is often discussed at WT:FOOT. Incidentally, if there is a Bugzilla request for this feature perhaps it should be listed in the Related section of WP:FOOT. -- SEWilco (talk) 15:25, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I think those are both excellent ideas, the notes and the separated lists of refs (and maybe even separated lists of notes, like <notes1><notes2>). I hope it gets implemented. Equazcion /C 23:58, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Having a section attribute would be a good way to implement this. Example usage:

<ref section="notes">hello i am a note</ref> and <ref>i'm
just a regular (default) ref</ref>

== Notes ==
<references section="notes" />
== References ==
<references />

And then maybe make it configurable to allow wikis to use their own shortcuts. We could use <note> could be a shortcut for <ref section="notes">, etc. --- RockMFR 07:12, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

See Bug 11899.--Pharos (talk) 03:33, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

While it's a little clunkier (as it is not autonumbered), the {{ref label}} and {{note label}} are available for footnotes using any style: a-b-c, i-ii-iii, A-B-C, or even full words. Despite the fact that it doesn't autonumber, since the article/table shouldn't be peppered with all sorts of note jumps, it doesn't make it too hard to manage. It works quite well for me in 2007 New York Giants season, where two tables have their own set of footnotes.—Twigboy (talk) 05:19, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
  • The problem might be solved more elegantly/generically (and without more html tags) by categorizing refs with a pseudo-"class type". For example, one would have...
<ref class="n">... something in class "n" (e.g. a note)... </ref>
<ref class="x">... something in class "x" (e.g. some other category of ref)... </ref>
<ref>... something without a class (e.g. a regular citation)... </ref>
The balancing <references /> would look like this:
<references class="n" /> to dump all <ref>s with class="n".
<references class="x" /> to dump all <ref>s with class="x".
<references /> to dump all <ref>s with no class.
This way, a page could have as many "notes" (or whatever) sections as necessary. For example, examples on a wiki help page.
Another option is to give <references/> a regex filter function:
<references name="n*" /> dumps all refs whose name= starts with 'n'
<references name="x*" /> dumps all refs whose name= starts with 'x'
<references name="[^nx]*" /> dumps the rest
This is however not suitable For refs that need different numbering schemes (e.g. notes vs citations).
  • One way to resolve the autonumbering problem would be to use an alpha prefix for the numbering, perhaps even using the first letter of the class name (or restricting the length of the class name to 1). Another way would be to give each group N numbers (e.g. 1000), so the default would be 1-999, the next 1001-1999 and so on.
  • The problem with using any autonumbering format except numbers and a-b-c is that Citephp depends on ordered lists (<ol> tag). Thus, while prefix + number (e.g. 'n1') would be the most flexible way to solve the autonumbering problem, it would require Citephp to emit CSS magic to simulate a numbered <ol>. It would still be ol (with list-style-type:none & hanging indent formatting), but the li's would need to provide numbering. Tables are another option.
-- Fullstop (talk) 22:27, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I really like your idea. Definitely something that should be considered if you ask me. --TheDJ (talkcontribs) 14:49, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Well it seems to be getting some support, it does seem to be discussed a bit at WP:FOOT, but nothing was done about it.

I have also thought of something else for the referencing system which may be useful. Sometimes an article may have multiple references to one book, each one being a different page. At the moment most of the time the book is referenced in one ref tag and then each time a different page from that book is used just the page is referenced (eg The Book. Pages 112-113.) How about having another parameter (like the name one) which allows you to group references together. Eg: <ref group="TheBook">Body, Some. ''The Book'' (1958). HarperCollins: London. 2nd Edition.</ref> as the main reference, then sub-references like this: <ref sub="TheBook">Pages 112-113</ref>.

Then this would format in the reference list at the end with the sub-references indented below the main references. Also the sub-references may have to have numbers such as 1ii as otherwise it might start to look odd with some numbers appearing in a wrong order in the reference list. Eg:

  1. Body, Some. The Book (1958). HarperCollins: London. 2nd Edition.
i. Pages 112-113
ii. Pages 250-253
  1. Some other reference
  2. Another group of references
3i. Pages 12-18

Chris_huhtalk 00:11, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

I once had a similar idea (using a loc= option in the <ref> itself), and even tried to simulate it with ref_label/note_label. But I was rather disappointed with the results. Its ok when you have only a handful of sources, but looks terrible when there are ~90 sources (~120 refs) as my one testbed had. The majority of the sources are only referred to once.
I finally settled with {{harvnb}}, which is much clearer when done consistently. Examples: 1 2 3. Note that all three also have separate 'Notes' and 'References' sections. Click on the ref #, it'll jump to the reference, click on the reference, and it'll jump to the citation.
-- Fullstop (talk) 04:13, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

There's an older Bugzilla request, submitted by me; someone should combine the two, I do not know how: Bug 5265 --Golbez (talk) 04:21, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

For multiple references to one book, you can use {{rp}}, which places the book's page next to the footnote number in the text.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 04:33, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
I think this was discussed on email lists, and I believe even a consensus that there should be reference groups, and <notes/> should behave like <references group=notes/>. It's definitely a known issue, I guess nobody's gotten around to doing anything about it. -Steve Sanbeg (talk) 00:08, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
So would can be done about this? Should i ask the developer of the Cite extension to have a look at it? Chris_huhtalk 00:59, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
See Bug #6271 Allow multiple classes of footnotes on the same page.
But it certainly would not hurt if the developer (User:Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason) could take a look at it. He might have an idea (or see a problem) that no one has thought of yet. -- Fullstop (talk) 03:43, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Support I like the original idea; it's rather simple and intuitive, we don't have to mess around with attributes or anything. As far as citing other pages, that's one reason why I like author-date referencing. However, it's a bit clunky when you're just citing something once. That's why I don't think a combination is a bad thing. If we could get the extra functionality of citing different pages added to footnotes, however, that'd be nice. OptimistBen | talk - contribs 04:32, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

This would help partially solve the unwanted-columns problem with {{reflist}}. See Template talk:Reflist#Multiple columns deemed bad for the discussions. -- Quiddity (talk) 05:02, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Resolved: bug [1] fixed -- penubag  (talk) 07:28, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

History Options

The Recent Changes list allows you to hide minor edits and bot edits. This should be available on all history pages. If you're really trying to track how the content of the page has changed, minor/bot edits can just clutter up the whole process. Those edits would still be shown in diffs, obviously. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 21:57, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

It would also be great if we could see all of a particular user's contributions to an article in one place.--Pharos (talk) 23:26, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
And then it would be nice to list the edits by size, both for the entire article and each particular user. Since WP does track the changes in kilobytes, this seems quite feasible. ImperfectlyInformed | {talk - contribs} 23:36, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
It would also be great if we could see all of a particular user's contributions to an article in one place.--Pharos (talk) 23:26, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Another useful option would be the ability to search past versions of an article for a string literal. I quite often come across articles with orphan named refs (e.g., <Ref name="some name" />) where the parent containing the Ref body has been deleted, usually in the middle of a deleted block or text. Searching for the past edit where the deletion was made is tedious. (Perhaps there's an easy way to do this and I'm not aware of it?) -- Boracay Bill (talk) 23:42, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
What about some form of grouping a vandal edit with the edit that reverts it? Like if you hit the (undo) button, it will draw a faint red box around your edit and the one you're undoing. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 00:12, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Not disagreeing with the above, but my personal list includes the option to hide all edits that have been reverted, along with the reverting edits, leaving only edits (and editors) who truly changed a page. Software-wise, that would be fairly easy to do, if each version had a hash value (and images already do have has values, for the purpose of identifying duplicates). [Boracay Bill - check the "History (of pages)" topic in the editor's index - you'll find (in the "Tools" subtopic) two things that will do what you want.] -- John Broughton (♫♫) 03:05, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
But that won't work when there was intervening edits between the vandalism though, which isn't uncommon. Or when the editor/reverter made other edits at the same time. Nil Einne (talk) 04:22, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
True, but perhaps another message could be displayed upon undoing an edit: "For the purposes of tracking article activity, please do not edit this article while also undoing an edit." Or something like that. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 10:32, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

The wishlist so far:

  • Hide minor edits
  • Hide bot edits
  • Hide reverted / reverting edits
  • Group reverted / reverting edits
  • Sort edits by contributor
  • Sort edits by size
  • Search all previous versions
I can see a use for sorting Special:Contributions by page title, but hiding and rearranging edits in the page history may have a lot of complications. When you do a diff using the "(last)" link, would it diff to the previous revision or the last revision that you can see? If you sort the edits in any way except chronological order the diff links really wouldn't work at all. Mr.Z-man 19:57, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Then perhaps chronological would always be the secondary sorting option. If you sort by author, within each author's section, it will be sorted by time. I don't really see the harm or complication in hiding minor / bot / reverted edits. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 15:52, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't seem like the diff links should be trouble. Maybe they will be, but it shouldn't be that difficult to have the diff link automatically reference to the edited version of the page rather than simply the previous version in the list. If the diff does the former, it's a problem of design which could (and I believe should) be rectified. Sorting a particular user's edits by size would be extremely useful, although the transparency might be frightening for some. ImperfectlyInformed | {talk - contribs} 00:03, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
The problem with hiding edits, is that when you do a diff, its going to be including edits that you can't see in the history view. When you rearrange them, the (cur) and (last) links could still work as intentioned, but the radio button based diffs wouldn't work at all. Mr.Z-man 01:37, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
What if when the history is sorted in any way other than chronologically, the radio button diffs are disabled? There would have to be some explanation as to why they are disabled, but it would solve the problem. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 21:57, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Even if hiding edits does end up being too complicated to implement, here's an idea that's not: In addition to displaying edits in groups of 50 - 500, we should be able to display all revisions in the previous day / 3 day / 7 days, etc. just like on the Watchlist. This would be really helpful for pages with a lot of traffic, such as WP:AIV. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 01:32, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Moved this discussion from the archive into persistent as it demonstrated clear consensus. These changes would be enormously helpful. Impin | {talk - contribs} 09:46, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Probably the best way forward is for the default to be the present one--that way any of the defects of the other displays, as mentioned above, and the dozens which will undoubtedly appear also, would not be fatal--we would be losing nothing but gaining options useful in some circumstances. DGG (talk) 16:13, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

Is there really a problem with sorting history pages differently than by date? When people look at the difference, they should be looking at the difference between that version and its prior version. I guess I'm not understanding what the big deal is. There's only one version. Impin | {talk - contribs} 02:07, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

in trying to sort out contentions over articles, it is very useful to sort out the contributions of the different editors. This is one of the first things to look at. Although it can be done in principle from the individual contribution lists, it can be difficult here too unless unless there are single purpose accounts involved,DGG (talk) 00:17, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
So you're advocating that we be able to list, say, contributions from DGG and ImpIn on this page? ImpIn | (t - c) 02:19, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

DGG: The reason I would like to be able to sort diffs other than by date is so that they can be sorted by size. The most major changes listed first. This would be a great improvement in helping to identify possibly harmful, or greatly beneficial changes made. I don't see why this is not possible, as every diff should be linked to its prior version, not simply the preceding version by date. ImpIn | (t - c) 00:59, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

yes, that's a good reason too--sorry if I implied my reason was the only one, or that the sort i suggested was the only one that should be implemented. DGG (talk) 03:15, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Proposal: Allow established/experienced editors to see deleted contributions

For more information, see Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Persistent proposals/Straw poll for view-deleted. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 15:47, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

A number of editors have been around for years and have made thousands of edits, but are not necessarily interested in becoming admins. Nevertheless, such editors do participate in deletion reviews and requests for adminship discussions where seeing deleted contributions would indeed be relevant and helpful to assess the articles and candidates under discussion. Therefore, I propose that we come with a criteria by which established and experienced editors who have been editing for years and who have thousands of edits be able to see (not undelete, just see) deleted contribs for the purposes of such discussions. I am sure that it is somehow technologically possible to allow such editors to see the contribs without tacking on the undelete function. Sincerely, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 20:07, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

I think this would be a good idea, it is somewhat difficult to decide whether or not an article should have been deleted if you can't actually see that content--Jac16888 (talk) 20:16, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree 100%, there is really no reason for anyone to not see it. It doesn't sit in actual Wikipedia space, so no one would confuse it with a sanctioned article. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 20:29, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
  • It is important that COPYVIO, BLP, and other things be kept under tight control. Before I would go along with any such proposal, it would have to be limited to certain articles, for a certain length of time. A "deletion reviewer" userright that would allow access to articles actively undergoing deletion review makes sense. A separate userright that would allow access to deleted edits made by a person in an RfA or other rights-elevation process also makes sense. For deleted articles, this would show just the edits made by RfA candidates and the immediate preceding edit for comparison, not any other edits. If there is no RfA-style vote, then limiting both rights to people who have both an old account with many edits and a recently-active edit history also makes sense. I would recommend such rights automatically expire after 6 months, with nearly-automatic renewal if the person is still an active editor and asks that the right be renewed. Defining "active editor," "old account," and "many edits" is something that can be hashed out later, but I would recommend at least 6 months, several thousand edits, and at least 100 edits in the immediate past 6 months. I know this sounds complicated, and it is, but creating a class "read only admins" that have access to all non-oversighted deleted edits is neither necessary nor desirable. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 21:08, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
  • That sounds like a pretty good plan. The process for getting those rights could be based on the process of getting AWB rights. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 21:13, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Are the requirements for AWB selective enough to be compared the requirements for this notion (viewing deleted pages)? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Leonard^Bloom (talkcontribs) 22:47, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I think for myself as the iniator of the thread, I have over 20,000 total edits, have been editing since 2006, have rollback rights, but although several editors have offered to nominate me for adminship I have so far declined as I really focus on non-admin areas. With that said I do think that my comments in RfAs and DRVs would be more intelligent if additionally based on deleted contribs. Plus, even personally, I have never and would never made any copyvio or BLP edits and so think I should be able to see the totality of my contributions. Best, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 23:24, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Just so you know, I wasn't saying that the process should be exactly the same as for AWB, but just that the process' be similar. i.e. Come up with a set of "requirements", then if someone wants those abilities, they apply at a page (like for AWB), and in most cases they are granted. This would make sure that there is some approval process, but it's not as involved as RfAs. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 19:21, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
(ec) Let's not get over-restrictive on this. Established editors have enough sense to avoid spreading blp and copyvio--and if they try to reinsert it they will soon no longer be established editors. If we're concerned about they're using it elsewhere, there are enough other ways to get deleted comment if one wishes to be in bad faith. I see no reason not to let anyone with a good reputation here have it, with an appropriate warning about what not to do with it. The material that is really sensitive is oversighted--since we dont fully trust all 1500 of the admins to be sensible 100% of the time either.
A six-month restriction is absurd, because we've made people full admins with less experience than that if they do things right. AWB requires 500 edits in mainspace, and anyone who does that much work successfully is probably trustworthy enough for this very limited purpose. But if this is to be an automatic right, not a screened right like AWB, yes, it should be a little higher than that. And some of the uses suggested by arb com do not require large amounts of experience in mainspace, unlike most of what AWB can do.
Additionally, any editor should be able to see the edits they hav themselves contributed. It simply doesnt make sense not to. 23:31, 27 June 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by DGG (talkcontribs) 23:31, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
I mentioned COPYVIO and BLP not because they are likely to be reposted, but because if copyrighted material is made available to more than a select few, it can invite a copyright lawsuit. Likewise, if BLP material isn't deleted from view, it can invite a libel lawsuit. Now, the reality is, many BLP and COPYVIO items are in non-deleted edits that are open to every Internet user on the planet, so the risk of a lawsuit may not be all that high. However, we should at least recognize the possibility before proceeding. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 23:45, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
I think though if it is okay for admins to see the stuff, then those with as many contributions as admins who do participate in DRVs and RfAs should be able to also see these contribs (it would of course still be an overall limited number of editors) and as DGG or someone else said we really should be able to at least see the totality of our own contributions. Best, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 00:08, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
Surely it would be better to use the rollback tools system of approval, it seems to be working fine, and since this is an admin tool too, it makes more sense to have a similar set-up--Jac16888 (talk) 23:37, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
The key difference is rollback and AWB don't grant any new powers, just a new convenience and the ability to really mess things up in a hurry rather than slowly. Granting the right to see deleted material is significant, done in the extreme it's equivalent to "backup operator" permissions on a computer. This is why it should be reserved for either people approved by the community a la RfA or to people who are not just trusted not to make mistakes, but trusted not to misuse information that is hidden to the masses. I know we aren't talking visibility to WP:OVERSIGHTed edits, but we are talking seeing what most can't. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 23:51, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't see why the present system of having an admin–many of whom say on their userpage that they are happy to do it–allow users to view deleted material on request is insufficient. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 00:00, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
Skipping the middle man saves time and is more efficient. There's no reason why established editors should not be able to see all of their contribs. Sincerely, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 00:03, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Please, someone, centralize this discussion. I've posted quite heavily on this subject at the Wikipedia_talk: page, but it would seem that that is one of multiple places this discussion is taking place. Only one page is needed. Pick one please, and merge the two pages. --MZMcBride (talk) 03:31, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

I'd say that the fragmentation is not intentional: the ArbCom discussion is (or should be, anyway) about the commons-admins-seeing-our-deleted-images issue, which is only tangentially connected to this discussion. Discussion on a new right to see deleted contributions, which is what this is, should be kept in this thread. Happymelon 21:23, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't think the commons issue is even mentioned in the arbcom page, and was only mentioned in the first section on the talk page. That proposal is for a global right and is being discussed mainly on meta. Mr.Z-man 22:30, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
I'd be very interested in a slightly enlarged set of userrights, without having all the admin rights. I have no wish to block users ever, or deal with page protection; but I'd often find it helpful if I could view deleted pages/images. The other two items from the WP:UAL#Table list which I would be interested in include "editprotected" and "unwatchedpages". -- Quiddity (talk) 20:13, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
What, you don't want the "all-you-can-eat" option? And we're doing a one-day-only 2-for-1 offer on oversight: buy hiderevision, get checkuser half price!! :D In seriousness, there are a number of admin permissions that I would like to see broken out, but not into separate groups a la rollback, ipblockexempt, etc. Why are we so ideologically opposed to a 'trusted' usergroup (with a nicer name, of course). Bundle rollback, accountcreator, deletedhistory, noratelimit, edit-semi-protected, unwatchedpages, and a handful of others together and dish it out like rollback: you get someone who is equipped with all the admin tools that don't have sharp edges, and you leave the admins free to handle the 'big three' of protect, delete and block. Happymelon 20:26, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
Looking at the API usergroups list, the less dangerous admin rights are: deletedhistory, import (unused), move-subpages, autopatrol, proxyunbannable (unused), rollback, trackback (unused), reupload-shared (not sure what this does, may be unused), unwatchedpages, upload_by_url (seems to be disabled?), ipblock-exempt, markbotedits (for rollback), suppressredirect (currently unused), apihighlimits, browsearchive, noratelimit, tboverride, override-antispoof, and uboverride. Mr.Z-man 03:48, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Happy-melon's idea for a "trusted" user group. This group could be given to experienced editors who don't feel ready (or don't want at all) to be an admin. The current rollback group could be merged into this group as well. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 19:30, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
For various reasons, I like the idea of a "trusted" group too - given anyone can get an account, a standard not needing RFA, simply to say "this person broadly has the idea and even if not perfect edits mostly decently". Roughly, it ties in with high risk vs. low risk, and also may mean a user who wants that, knows there will be some review of their reputation and work, and hence that it may mean a bit more to build a good rep and do good work :) FT2 (Talk | email) 23:08, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
The only problem is that besides the ability to view deleted content and rollback and perhaps autopatrol, most of the "safe" admin rights are either unused (import), rarely used (markbotedits), not very helpful (unwatchedpages), or bypasses for disruption-prevention measures (tboverride) that the vast majority of users may never need. Especially if we choose not to bundle the deleted history rights with this, it would basically be nothing but a status symbol. Mr.Z-man 23:37, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

In reply to above, the present system of admins saying they will give copys of deleted articles is with caveats. No copyvios, no BLP, nothing that would be inappropriate for the general public. I know I have deleted, and I have seen deleted information in articles that is not suitable for the masses or the average editor to have access to. As for the average editor seeing their deleted contributions, I don't think that is what this proposal is for. This is for people with a genuine need. Curiosity is not a genuine need. The idea of skipping the middle man is moot for the reasons I have just mentioned. If this going to be implemented the requirements would be on par with a successful RfA. Community trust, no real history of blocks or abuse, etc. I think if someone wants this ability they need to demonstrate they could pass an RfA if they attempted one. KnightLago (talk) 19:07, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

A general comment: First off. I think this is a brilliant idea. I think there should be a barn star for this proposal! In reply to KnightLago: Hi KnightLago. I respectfully disagree. Here is the reason. I would like to use this feature myself but in the past I've been block. I've been blocked personally for several reasons which, now that I think about it, may have been justified. However, anyone, that has enough experience to have been blocked, such as myself, must surely know what the concensequence are if they violate the trust of the community. For example, using this new feature for disruption would most likely be considered an automatic block. I can think of many other examples but one that comes to mind is an editorial dispute over content. Such disputes would be dealt with by our current channels (Admins) who could easily permanently or temporarily take away the privilege of going back into deleted page history. Also, I think an RfA is pretty much a load of crap of politics which really doesn't apply for this privilege. (I am a little biased though since my RfA failled many a years ago. Nevertheless, I too don't really have an interest in being an admin right now and think it's a great idea for experienced users to be able to check deleted pages. In particular, I think experienced users (8000 edits or more during a period of 2 years. The 2 years in mandatory.) should be permitted access to all deleted pages. Less experienced user (let's say 2000 to 7999 edits or 1 year of experience (we could also add closes like: despite the fact that they may have been editing for more then 2 years they must meet the edit number)) should only have access to content which they specifically help contribute. (The reason I say less experienced users is because, sometimes, in my case, I remember making a new article (just in May 2008) and honestly believing that it could make it. (See User:CyclePat/Rhumart). I had to request that the page be moved to my user page and then make another request so I could merge the information to Free World Trust v. Électro Santé Inc.. And on top of that there was some more melodrama that I added because I was the only editor because I tried having the content speedy deleted, and tried moving the page myself to my own user page. Anyways... I just wanted to share this story with you because I think it's a relevant example of how we can cut back on melodramatic administrator who want to follow procedures by the book. In my case, the admin could have deleted the page, and I could have then userfied it myself. Finally, I think new editors shouldn't have access because they may not completely understand wikipedia's policy, may be trolls, etc, and may likely simply recreate the same page again. --CyclePat (talk) 17:54, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
Well, I am always happy to see them added to my list!  :) --Happy editing! Sincerely, Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 18:05, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

FWIW, The software support for tiered deletion is pretty much done, though it's still in code review and not turned on yet. Once its activated deciding how to use it is up to the community. Cheers. --Gmaxwell (talk) 20:35, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

I think the tiered deletion system should be used to divide up deleted content. The "Trusted" user group could have access to anything that was deleted because of notability issues, etc. Copyvios and BLP stuff could still be only visible for admins. I can't think of anything that's wrong with estabished/experienced users seeing information with notability issues, and they might be able to find something notable about it. I've made a few articles that were speedy-deleted because they weren't "notable", but I still believe that they should be included in Wikipedia. Giving established users access to this content would help Wikipedia and not have many (if any) negative effects. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 01:10, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
surely this tiered-deletion system effectively negates the only major concern about this proposal, that more people will have access to copyvios and blpvios, with that fear removed short of the odd slip by an admin, then i really can't see any reason not to go ahead with this--Jac16888 (talk) 20:03, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

I just reread the entire discussion again and I admit there are a few promising ideas. The high standard with close to RFA like requirements I was arguing for would be for a general view deleted privilege. I don't like the idea of such a thing and think there would be more than a few problems with it. As Davidwr said, Copyvios, BLP information, libel, attack pages, etc. would be available to the public with no real need to see the information other than curiosity. While I agree that the risk of a lawsuit is not high, the possibility becomes greater. Besides that, the idea of RFA and DRV only deleted viewing is interesting and after thinking about it I recognize there is a genuine need, so I would be for that. Regarding viewing your own deleted edits, maybe after a certain time limit and/or edit count this could be allowed. The problem would be new users continually recreating deleted content or trolls if the limit/ability is set too low. As for the tiered-deletion system, after reading it I am not exactly sure what the parameters are or how much it could be applied to this proposal. Right now it look more geared to admins and deleted information viewable to them and to what extent. A tiered deletion system sounds interesting, but the details need to be greatly expanded upon before I can offer a real opinion. After reading all of this, the question I have is which proposal is being advanced right now? Because there are a lot of ideas that have been thrown out on this page, but there needs to be some direction in order to focus on the details of the proposal. KnightLago (talk) 23:52, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

  • Support The idea sounds very promising and as well as being useful to being who perform deletion reviews and such, it helps to break down the Wikipedia hierachy of adminship (which is supposed to be no big deal btw) by making separate admin functions more attainable to people who have personaility traits making them unsuitable for adminship (i.e. a person who edit wars might do DRs, the ability to view deleted edits isn't really going inflame their ew problem). I also support the idea of a "trusted" usergroup that excludes "the big three" admin rights as a useful midway point for people who aren't into fixing disputes but would like to perform some administrative tasks. —Atyndall [citation needed] 04:23, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Proposal: Tiered deletion with established/experienced user group

This section has gotten a bit crowded so I thought I would summarize the idea that I am proposing.

  • A new user group between auto-confirmed and administrator be created and given rights like rollback and other "less dangerous" (as decided later on) rights that are currently admin-only. This group could supersede the current rollback group.
  • A tiered deletion system be implemented with categories as follows:
  • Oversighted edits (Oversight only)
  • Copyvio, BLP, attack, etc. (Admins and higher only)
  • Miscellaneous, non-notable, etc. articles (Established/Experienced users and higher only)
  • When articles are deleted, admins select which category the deleted page belongs under. To most users, the result would be the same as the current system. However, the lowest tier (notability, etc.) would be visible to established/experienced users.

I don't think that it would be that big of a deal if these users had access to the lowest tier of articles, and those users may be able to improve the article to fix any notability issues. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 20:34, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Copied discussion from archive to persistent to get more people involved since there seemed to be a consensus forming. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 16:22, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
I have no qualms with something like this, assuming that it is technically feasible. Shereth 22:51, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
I also see no reason why ordinary users should be prohibited from viewing deleted edits that contain no harmful information. I don't even see why it should be restricted to just "established" editors. What bad thing is an IP editor going to do by virtue of viewing a deleted edit that an "established" user wouldn't do?--Father Goose (talk) 02:39, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
I think the major complaint there would be that it would essentially neuter deletion; what point would there be in deleting an article if anyone could look at it, anyway? Shereth 16:09, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Deleted articles would still be removed from the encyclopedia, but its history would still be viewable (except for the BLP/oversighted/etc. edits). I want to hear why the right to view the deleted edits should be given to "established editors" and denied to everyone else. I agree with the rationale that non-admins should be allowed to view deleted edits, to be given the opportunity to improve deleted content to keep-worthy form. However, new/unregistered users can do this as well. The rationale for excluding them has to be something more than "it's okay because we're in the club and they're not".--Father Goose (talk) 19:26, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

You should also consider including 'autopatroll' in this established user group. The potential for abuse with that feature is extremely minor and it might help clear the backlog of un-patrolled pages at Special:NewPages. - Icewedge (talk) 17:08, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

What bad thing is an IP editor going to do by virtue of viewing a deleted edit that an "established" user wouldn't do? - I think the problem is that if we make old versions of (deleted) articles available to IP editors, we'd essentially be allowing someone to simply post a URL on a website that links to such versions. And then Wikipedia becomes a place to post personal essays and original research and other problematical material, because their deletion simply means using a different URL to point to the deleted version. At minimum we need to require that someone be logged in in order to view deleted material, even "low level" stuff, so that a link fails for everyone who isn't logged in. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 23:27, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Sounds pretty speculative to me. But if it actually proved to be a problem, we could counteract it by placing pages that were being abused in that manner into the administrator-only tier. And deleted pages aren't guaranteed to remain in the database long-term anyway.--05:45, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I do think we're moving in the direction of too many user groups; a user group like "senior editor", with rollback and similar privileges, would be useful not only for simplification but because it would become a goal of some editors (and I think that's a good thing) - to do enough constructive edits as to be allowed to join that group, even if they don't intend to actually use rollback or similar. (And their goal would also to avoid getting into trouble such that they'd lose those rights.) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 23:27, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
In some ways that sounds like a good thing (good edits) but in other ways a bad thing (no intention to use the tools). While incentives are good, and there is really no avoiding people using user rights as status symbols, I don't think we should actually be encouraging it. Mr.Z-man 20:57, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

I'm unconvined about bundling rollback and the proposed deletion viewing tool into a "established editor" class. The rights should be granted individually, in case they need ot be revoked. For exmaple - an established editor who misuses rollback will have the tool removed - but that does not mean that their ability to view deleted pages should be removed as well. Pedro :  Chat  13:57, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

As discussed below, the proposal now seems to be giving access to "regular" deletions to all auto-confirmed users. I would suggest that the proposal for an "established" user group be changed to bundling all "safe" admin powers. Those powers would be everything except for the big three of deleting, protecting, and banning, as well as viewing "harmful" deleted articles (which I don't think anyone would need to do) and marking deleted articles as "safe". "Established" users would be experienced (i.e. have been around for a while and have a significant number of edits) and be in good standing. If one of those users did something that would involve revoking one specific type of privilage, then they should probably lose "established" privilages. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 03:19, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Admins have no power to ban editors. Do you know the difference between a block and a ban? I think you might mean block ? Pedro :  Chat  19:49, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
As I said in the section above, the problem with this is that besides rollback, which we give separately, and the ability to view deleted content, which may or may not be part of a trusted user proposal, most of the "safe" admin rights are fairly useless for most people, some don't actually do anything here. Its pretty much guaranteed to become a status symbol. Of the 19 rights I listed above, I've really only needed to use 7 of them in my 1+ years of being an admin, 1 being rollback, and 2 being used for viewing deleted pages. At least 5 of them currently do nothing here. Mr.Z-man 04:46, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
The point about the "established" user group becoming a status symbol is a good point. One of the main reasons for my support of this idea was because of the original proposal of giving deleted article access to experienced users. Since that would have created yet another user group, I thought it would be a good idea to combine all of the non-dangerous "admin" powers together. Since the proposal is now for all auto-confirmed users to be able to access "safe" deleted articles, this user group is not really needed anymore. Also, we won't need to have an extremely lengthy debate over the best name for that group :) . -- Imperator3733 (talk) 19:50, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Mr. IP proposal (slight modification of previous ideas)

I would argue for a three-tier deletion system. 1st tier: harmless speedies, viewable only to autoconfirmed users. 3rd tier: "harmful" articles — copyvios, BLPs, other privacy issues, whatever — viewable only to admins. The middle tier will be "harmless" items which fail XfD; their histories will be universally viewable, but will be stigmatized by a large template announcing their deletion from the encyclopedia, which will stand in place of the usual "This is an old revision" notice.

My reasoning here is simple. Harmless speedies should remain off of view to unconfirmed and anonymous users, because leaving them on view to the demographic which generally creates them would enhance the novelty/prank factor associated with making them in the first place. However, leaving their histories on view to autoconfirmed users is fine, because they are ultimately harmless. As for harmful articles, creating a new user right and right-assignment process for viewing them would be too bureaucratic, and would have too much overlap with the RfA system, so we should leave them to admins. And as for harmless deleted articles which went through XfDs, there is little problem with leaving their histories on view as long as they are properly stigmatized.

I think that this system best covers all concerns. Mr. IP Defender of Open Editing 18:11, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

I guess I could agree with that. And I agree with John Broughton's idea, above, that user groups should be folded together wherever practical. An "established user" group (perhaps "trusted user" would be better) could be given a bundle of tools shy of protection, blocking, deletion, etc.--Father Goose (talk) 20:06, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I think WP:PERM and WP:BRFA have shown that we can have non-autogranted user groups without the RFA/RFB bureaucracy. I would be opposed to any system that allows a deleted page to be directly viewable by anyone. Why bother deleting it? Blanking it would have pretty much the same effect. There's also the issue that the speedy deletion criteria are extremely specific. The history of a speedied page about a non-notable band will only be available to autoconfirmed users, but if a page is written about their even-less-notable song, it would have to go through AFD and its history would be available to all. There's also the issue of AFDs about articles that aren't BLP issues, but are still extremely controversial. Mr.Z-man 21:13, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
The point of deleting articles from the encyclopedia is to formally say "this is not part of the encyclopedia" for one reason or another, not necessarily to turn its editing history into "classified information". (Excepting, of course, copyvio/BLP/etc. deletions.) Anything short of salting an article doesn't prevent its recreation, but making deleted content completely inaccessible does stand in the way of reviewing deletion decisions, which are sometimes hasty, questionable, or just in error. We don't want "all deletions to be unquestionable and final", but unless you can see the deleted article (or saw it back when it existed), it's nearly impossible to check for yourself if a given deletion was on the up-and-up. And if you contest an article's deletion, you still need to take it to DRV if you want to recreate it (unless it was a prod).
I don't see why users should be barred from viewing the "Allegations of apartheid" articles; they should be barred from recreating them without going through DRV first, but I don't see how "controversy" automatically justifies a response of "classified".--Father Goose (talk) 05:02, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Except, deletions after an AFD discussion are the ones most likely not to be "hasty, questionable, or just in error." Since DRV isn't supposed to be "AFD round 2," the content of the article is usually irrelevant for a DRV of an AFD-deleted article, as the DRV discussion should be based on the AFD discussion and the closing rationale. I would hardly say that making deleted content available to autoconfirmed users is making it into "classified information." The problem with drawing the line between AFD and CSD is that the CSD are very restrictive and almost arbitrary. There's plenty of things that go to AFD that make no assertion of notablity but are not "a real person, organization, or web content." Also, one does not need DRV to recreate an article - CSD G4 does not apply to speedy deleted articles, and for AFD'd articles, if the new version is substantially different from the AFD'd version and addresses the concerns in the AFD, G4 doesn't apply either. Mr.Z-man 13:55, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Ah, I misunderstood your earlier comment: "I would be opposed to any system that allows a deleted page to be directly viewable by anyone" -- now I see you meant "by just anyone". I can support granting deletion-viewing to autoconfirmed users (but not IPs) as an intermediate stance. I don't like reflexively excluding IPs from editing rights, but I concede that article recreation is an issue casual users would probably do best to avoid.
AfD deletions are less likely to be erroneous than speedies, but there are plenty of cases where the participation was too narrow or the closing admin weighed the arguments, then made his own decision, instead of weighing the consensus (which is an entirely different thing). Unless such decisions are sent to DRV by the original participants in the AfD, there's no way of knowing if the arguments were valid or "votes". You can't effectively evaluate a deletion discussion in the absence of the article being discussed. That, and making it easier to improve an article after it has been deleted are the basic reasons why I support this proposal.--Father Goose (talk) 21:17, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
I like Mr. IP's revised tiered system, however I was wondering what level blatant vandalism would fall under. The best solution would be to just lump those together with copyvios/BLP/etc, but they aren't exactly the same. As far as who gets access, I would support all auto-confirmed users for the "harmless" articles, and just admins for the "harmful". IP users shouldn't have access because deleted articles are not exactly considered part of the encyclopedia. Also, the main use that I can think of for this access is for seeing if anything is now notable and if so recreating the article. Being able to look at deleted versions would help with creating the new version, which would normally require the ability to create pages. Since IPs can't create pages, I don't think they need access to deleted articles. The only problem that I can see with calling the new user group "Trusted users" is that that is implying that we don't trust people who aren't in that group. Because of this, I think a different name should be decided upon. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 07:11, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
"Since IPs can't create pages, I don't think they need access to deleted articles." That's a very fair point. All right, on further thought, I've moved back into supporting a two-tiered system: autoconfirmed users can view "regular" deletions; admins, "marked bad" deletions.--Father Goose (talk) 09:21, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Sounds good. There should definitely be a large, extremely noticeable "This page has been deleted" notice that gives links the the AfD debate/speedy deletion criteria as well as a general list of things that articles should have in order to be undeleted. There should also be a special page of deleted articles that have not been categorized as either "regular" or "bad" deletions. Hopefully there would be enough admins willing to go through those pages and mark the deletions. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 16:47, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, that's true, we'd have to flag all the already-deleted pages. That's actually quite a workload. Perhaps it should be done primarily on a request basis, to keep it manageable.
Once (well, if) the system is implemented, all new deletions would automatically be tiered based on what box the deleting admin ticks.--Father Goose (talk) 17:46, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Arbitrary break at unindents

  • No Solution in search of a problem. The current system limits exposure of deleted materials to people whom the community has explicitly vested trust. I can't imagine an elegant system that results (consistently) in the same outcome (vis BLP/copyvio/oversight) with a tiered system like this and without significant overhead. Protonk (talk) 06:09, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Administrator ticks a box when it's BLP/copyvio material. No overhead.--Father Goose (talk) 03:29, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Tend to agree with Protonk above. I think this is asking for problems, especially on articles where the deletion has been strongly contested, or where any BLP issues exist. As with most admins I have been happy to make uncontroversial deleted revisions available to users, and I don't see why any change is required in that at present, as it leaves the judgement to those whom the community has explicitly trusted. Orderinchaos 08:10, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Administrator ticks a box when it's BLP/copyvio material. No controversy.--Father Goose (talk) 03:29, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose all proposals for non-administrators to view deleted material. There's no reason to do so, and material is deleted often for good reason. If a page is deleted but is harmless enough, ask an administrator to move it to your userspace. There's no reason to force Oversight to work harder when they're already slow enough to respond. —  scetoaux (T|C) 19:02, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Administrator ticks a box when it's BLP/copyvio material. No Oversight involvement needed.--Father Goose (talk) 03:29, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Response to previous 3 comments This proposed system will not allow people to view "harmful" deletions, which include all BLP, copyvio, etc. edits. Oversighted edits are already not visible even to admins. This would give most users access only to the unharmful deleted pages. Those could include minor characters from books/movies/TV shows, small websites that weren't deemed notable but may be in the future, and other pages that have failed notability at first but may become notable in the future. It would be much easier to recreate these articles in the future if the old versions are much more readily available. Deleted pages would have large and very noticable "This page has been deleted" notices at the top, and there would probably be several clicks to get to the page. People would not be able to mistake a deleted page for an undeleted page. Once again, harmful pages would not be visible to non-admins. Also, the decision as to what is harmful and what is not harmful will be left to admins. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 19:42, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
    You're essentially creating a new class of "deleted" articles, which we can't call deleted anymore because the point of doing so is defeated. There would have to be new policy regarding what kinds of pages are deleted, and what kinds of pages are "deleted". Suppose an admin deletes a page that only needed to be "deleted". Moar drahma. Arguments at AFD would have to change to reflect these changes: whether or not a subject has enough potential to be notable that it merits the partial deletion. I feel you're going to find that the benefits of going through with this will likely not outweigh the costs. You're going to end up with a large and growing backlog of pages only autoconfirmed or special users can see or edit. And for what? We already have too many classes of priviledged users in Wikipedia. I am against adding another one without evidence of net positive, which I don't see here. There are no problems here that can't be solved by going to an administrator and asking them to show you the deleted revision. —  scetoaux (T|C) 21:13, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
    A DRV just to "look" at a deleted article will be denied. Having to do anything through an admin is a recipe for it not happening. And there's no "new class of privileged user" -- this is about the granting of a right to an existing class of users that shouldn't have been denied to them in the first place.--Father Goose (talk) 03:29, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
    First of all, it doesn't take a DRV. If you ask an administrator politely, usually they will take the body of the deleted article and make a page in your userspace. And many times it has been done in the conclusion of a DRV with no consensus to overturn. In addition, regarding the privileged users, you're basically making the judgment that users with an account should have even more privileges than those who do not, when they already have other privileges that were taken away from anonymous users. —  scetoaux (T|C) 04:03, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
    That's like the difference between products behind a locked case and those on shelves; you can eventually track down a clerk to open the case for you, but unless you really need the item, you're not going to bother. One is only going to ask for a copy of articles that for one reason or another should not have been completely deleted, but you can only know if the article should not have been completely deleted if you can see it in the first place.
    I did actually ask to "see" a speedied article via DRV once, but the admin denied the request and said the article was too poor to be worth undeleting. Admins filter reasonable requests through personal judgments, making them exactly the wrong people to handle such requests. In theory, admins are responsive to requests; in practice, requests are routinely denied for largely arbitrary reasons.
    If you look at my earlier edits in this discussion, I advocated letting all users see non-BLP/copyvio edits, but a combination of resistance to that idea and a reminder that only autoconfirmed accounts can create articles convinced me that viewing deleted articles wouldn't benefit IPs much, since they couldn't recreate the articles anyway. Overall, I agree with you that "privileged users" is a bad thing, which is exactly why I'm advocating regular users be able to see non-harmful deleted articles.--Father Goose (talk) 04:44, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
    I understand that this system isn't designed to 'expose' these copyvio/blp/oversight articles to the masses. what I'm saying is that the current system of limiting all deleted content does this same job with limited overhead. The added benefit of making mundane deletions available to certain users doesn't (IMO) overcome the added overhead from keeping two tracks of deletion straight. Protonk (talk) 21:21, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
There would be no overhead, and the benefit involved is the same as making article histories available to regular users. It's a basic, necessary part of wiki access.--Father Goose (talk) 03:29, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose As an occasional AFD/DRV participant with no interest in adminship, I suppose I'm among the users this could benefit. But an occasional minor benefit to me in assessing a DRV debate isn't worth the added step(s) this would add to every AFD closure. Of course it's well intentioned, but the proposal would add an additional layer of subjectivity to the deletion process - scoteaux is precisely correct about this above - and it would subtract from the number of users (admin and otherwise) who would close debates, since doing so would become marginally more time consuming. And, this would encourage wikilawyering in DRV over content, where the focus should stay on process; this is already an area where scope of discussion is uneven. In my sole and humble opinion, the cost/benefit doesn't make sense here. Townlake (talk) 21:42, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Administrator ticks a box when it's BLP/copyvio material. No extra step.--Father Goose (talk) 03:29, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Just like Father Goose said, if there is anything harmful in the article (i.e. BLP, copyvio, etc.) or it's a vandalism only page, the deleting admin would check a box. There are no more steps that need to be done at the AfD. If someone disagrees with the decision, they could contact the admin, but if proper guidelines are put in place (and they should be pretty easy to create and understand), there shouldn't be much subjectivity added. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 04:58, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
  • to those claiming there would be no overhead. There are 2.7 million deleted pages. Making this change while leaving the current level of control over BLP/copyvio/oversight information intact would at least require some method to deal with that. Protonk (talk) 05:07, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
    We're not suggesting that all 2.7 million be "released" immediately, just that from now on, when an article is deleted, it can be deleted as "admin-only" or not. Oversight plays no role in this discussion, as oversighted edits are invisible and inaccessible to admins as well as users, and is an entirely separate process. I imagine that older deleted articles could be released for viewing upon a request, with only copyvios and BLP violations (based on AfD/deletion summary/quick eyeballing of the article) grounds for denying the request. (Though admins should be free to err on the side of caution.) Undeletion, by contrast, cannot be as freely granted.--Father Goose (talk) 05:57, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
    Incidentally, there are only 1.2 million deleted pages in the mainspace. I don't see as great a need to make deleted pages in other namespaces viewable; I'd treat those on a case-by-case basis.--Father Goose (talk) 06:45, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
  • While I support the idea of an intermediary group of trusted editors, I Strongly oppose the current implementation. I really don't like the idea that admins will be able to subjectively determine the "type" of deletion. Especially since such a question can be rather complex at times. Not to mention contentious. Imagine admins restoring/deleting a deleted page in order to post a "new" subjective label. No this sounds like a really bad idea. - jc37 00:58, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
    I'm not sure there would have to be any subjectivity at all. Copyvios are very straightforward, and I personally would be willing to have all deleted biographies automatically made admin-only as well. If a person isn't notable enough to clear the hurdle of AfD, I'd be willing to err on the side of caution and treat their article as a BLP risk. That still leaves us reams and reams of content that might deserve a second chance.--Father Goose (talk) 04:49, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
    Except that most of the stuff non-admins would have access to wouldn't be stuff that might have a chance at inclusion, it would be the stream of crap coming from CAT:CSD. While some of it, given a complete rewrite and some research to dig up some sources, might deserve an article, most of the subjects, and even more of the content, is complete garbage. Mr.Z-man 05:01, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
    But there's no harm in giving editors the opportunity to look at it themselves, to pick out the salvage from the sewage.--Father Goose (talk) 09:05, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
    The problem is that such a determination would seem to be simply subjective. If it wasn't we wouldn't have the debates that we do at AfD. And further, we wouldn't have a need for DRV. It's just that simple. We have processes set up just to question a closer's (in most cases, an admin's) judgement. Which is fine, that's part of the wiki-way. Consider this: An AfD had consensus that something was to be deleted, but had no consensus as to why. The discussion would be resolved as delete. With what's being proposed here, would the closer have to wait for consensus on the "why"? And if not, wouldn't they then have to make a subjective judgement call? And what if other admins disagree? Will we then see wheel warring? How about just a single "revert" that would then require restoration and redeletion. After all, look at what happens with block logs. Block, reblock with new summary, and so on. We really don't need to start that with deletion as well.
    This just seems simply subjective.- jc37 21:11, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
    You haven't addressed my suggestion that we treat all deleted biographies as admin-only. I guess there might be some borderline cases, but I have to believe that biographical material is not that hard to identify correctly. Aside from bios and copyvios, I'm not aware of anything else that would strictly need to be made admin-only. While it might seem distasteful to not lock away something wildly non-neutral, for instance, such edits are already littered throughout article edit histories, available to any viewer. We do need to "hard delete" stuff that is a legal liability, but we can still safely permit access to the histories of stuff that's been removed from the encyclopedia proper. (As it is, we permit unrestricted access to absolutely ludicrous content in the history of any article that's still "live", provided the edit hasn't been oversighted.)--Father Goose (talk) 02:36, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Lurking in the vast trash can are lots of copyvios and attack pages and it is better that as few people as possible see them. To the few well-established non-admins interested in this matter, I say: apply for admin rights! If being able to see deleted stuff is your sole reason for applying for adminship, it is still a totally valid resason. — RHaworth (Talk | contribs) 23:31, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
    Clearly we need to summarize the current state of the proposal so people stop having misapprehensions of what it's about. The existing body of deleted pages would not be revealed without being reviewed first: no copyvios or blps would be released under any circumstances. And you shouldn't have to satisfy (increasingly restrictive) AfD standards just to gain a single, essentially passive right which by itself cannot harm Wikipedia. (I note that one doesn't even have to reach admin standards to gain rollback rights, which is a very powerful tool -- and which has worked out quite well in the hands of non-admins.)--Father Goose (talk) 23:44, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support - I spend very little time at Deletion review because it is near impossible to do so without admin access. I don't think that there are any legitimate security issues here either, as the proposal specifically says that it will only be available for trusted users, and if anyone abuses the privilege it can simply be revoked. A system in the same style as the rollback requests would work well for this. The concern over BLP vios is very overblown --T-rex 00:50, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Proposal version 3.21 (version number estimated)

It seems to me that some people are concerned about everyone having the right to view deleted articles. Therefore, what about going back to requiring approval for this right. Instead of creating an "established" user group, it could be given out separately like rollback. New/inexperienced users most likely would not be recreating articles. Unlike RHaworth, I don't think that just wanting to view deleted articles is a valid reason for an RfA. Admins have other responsibilities, and I personally don't think someone should apply for adminship if they aren't willing to help with those tasks. Viewing deleted articles, just like rollback, is a relatively harmless ability, unlike deleting, protecting, and banning. This would also limit the number of people who would have access to BLP/copyvio edits. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 05:59, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Under the terms we've discussed so far, nobody would have access to BLP/copyvio edits except admins. Further, viewing deleted histories is, if anything, more harmless than rollback: it's an entirely passive right. The "abusable qualities" of it (excepting viewing BLPs, which would be admin-only) are pretty much limited to re-creating deleted articles, which is already a right "autoconfirmed" users have. It's not clear to me why would need to be more restrictive than that in granting the right. (It's not certain that we'd need to be restrictive at all: all visitors to the site presently have the right to look at old versions of "live" articles; these versions are just as functionally "deleted", and just as potentially harmful, as would be viewable histories of actually-deleted non-BLP articles.)
Wikipedia's very existence based on trust: we trust people to contribute to the encyclopedia, and revoke that right only in response to abuse. So instead of saying, hmm, we have to restrict this, we should be saying, hmm, we have to restrict it because... and then restrict it only to the degree that is necessary to avoid the actual harm.--Father Goose (talk) 17:58, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Support addition of viewdeleted as a permission, not a userclass, just like AWB, or NPWatcher, or rollback. I think the whole debate above about creating a new class of users is more based on experience editors wanting to be publicly recognized as such than an actual need. If a user feels they need to see deleted articles, then they can request that permission at WP:PERM. I have seen no suggestion that WP:PERM is broken, nor any reason that adding a few more requestable permissions to it would cause any problems. I haven't yet seen any good reason to create this new class of users. I also haven't seen any reason to divide the deleted articles into BLP/copvio and non-BLP/copyvio. If the user is granted the right to see deleted articles, then I don't really see the point in sectioning some off for whatever reason. If they abuse the right, then take away the permission, enough said. Cheers,--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 03:21, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
    Making BLPs and copyvios freely viewable is a potential legal liability, which is why the two tiers are necessary. If BLPs and copyvios are removed from the mix, viewdeleted can be granted as freely as the right to view article histories. Just because viewdeleted was not included in the software until now doesn't mean it shouldn't have been a freely granted right, right from the start.--Father Goose (talk) 06:44, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
    I think we have differing expectations for how widely spread this right would be. I don't think it should be "freely granted". Currently there are 1827 users with rollbacker rights, and 1584 admins. I don't see why the viewdeleted permission couldn't be as restricted as rollback, although I think the standards for viewdeleted should be a little lower, since I see rollback as having more potential for abuse.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 11:24, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
    What would the potential abuse be?--Father Goose (talk) 21:59, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
    We hand out rollback to basically anyone who has been around for a while or has any background whatsoever in vandal reversion as long as there's no recent history of edit warring. The standards can't get much lower. I think it would make a lot more sense to have much higher standards for the group and not 2 separate levels of deletion. Mr.Z-man 13:25, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
If there are only 1800 or so users with rollback, and it's given out to pretty much any user that asks if their account is in good standing, I don't see much of a problem if we make higher requirements for viewdeleted. I would suggest that the requirements be something like a) the user has had a registered account for at least 9 months, b) they have somewhere around 750-1000 edits, c) there have been a significant number of edits in the last 3 months or so (i.e. they are active), and d) the user's account is in good standing. We could tweak those requirements, but I would start with that. I don't think there would be a humongous number of people that would get this permission, so we would limit the number of people that would see BLP/copyvio edits. Of course, if this right is abused, it gets removed. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 18:10, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • I would support any proposal which allows an established user a mechanism for viewing deleted article histories which does not require either: (a) going through a heavily policiticized process requiring the approval of dozens to hundreds of editors (i.e. RfA), or (b) having to request specific undeletion or userfication of each individual deleted article. That is, just about any solution other than the status quo, which is clearly inadequate for a number of editors who wish to view deleted content. Whether it is a user class or specific permission is a non-issue to me, as well as whether it is available for all deleted articles or just articles which are not BLP/copyvio—as long as the distinction isn't abused (i.e. by marking non-BLP/copyvio articles as BLP/copyvio), and there is a process, no more complicated than DRV, to challenge specific decisions to mark a deleted page as BLP/copyvio. Other non-issues to me is whether it is available only on request (as long as the request is reasonably granted, like rollback), or whether it is automatically given to some class of users. I just ask that you please not dismiss the valid concerns of several established editors with comments like "a solution in search of a problem" or "you can already view a deleted article if you ask nicely". If those were valid responses to the concern this wouldn't be a persistent proposal. DHowell (talk) 22:42, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose There's only a small handful of users who would benefit from this, and abuse is nearly certain. It would also place a grotesque burden on admins to sort through the edit history of every article upon deletion to determine if any version contained BLP/Copvio/etc sort of stuff... remember, some deleted articles may well have thousands of edits. Besides, I don't see anyone being granted this who wouldn't also pass adminship as well. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 16:39, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I see this argument repeatedly - that editors who qualify for the permission would pass RfA. I think that significanty underestimates the RfA process as it currently is employed. Without turning this into an RfA thread, I think that if you look at a list of the unsuccessful candidents for this year, and eliminate the NOTNOWS, I supect that half or better would be editors that most would be willing to grant this permission. Xymmax So let it be written So let it be done 21:59, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Plus, there are probably quite a few people who participate in RfAs and DRVs but don't have the time to spend on other admin tasks. Having the viewdeleted ability would really help those users, assuming they are experienced enough and their accounts are in good standing. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 02:06, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose in this form. I agree that the burden on administrators imposed by the proposal is too great. I much prefer simply granting the unfettered permission in the same manner in which the rollback bit is turned on/off. I don't know how large the pool of editors is, but speaking for myself, I'm very active at AfD, but not DRV, because I normally can not read the article in question, and don't want to be in the position of finding an admin with the time and interest in providing me with a version of the article I can read. If there's something that is so libelous that it should not be viewed, the proper solution is oversight. (Now, considering the growth of there probably need to be more users with the oversight bit, but that's a separate matter.) Xymmax So let it be written So let it be done 21:59, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
    • So would you support simply giving viewdeleted out as a separate permission, like I discussed in my previous comment above? -- Imperator3733 (talk) 02:06, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I would, yes. It seems we may be on the outside looking in on that score, however. Xymmax So let it be written So let it be done 12:38, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
  • I also oppose any proposal to give non-administrator users this permission. The potential for abuse is great. Many instances of copyright violations, libel, and personal information are deleted but not oversighted. There are admins willing to provide deleted content on request and there may be a Google cache available for viewing during DRV. I can't remember who right now, but we do have at least one admin who passed an RfA in the past year or so (or close to it) solely to view deleted revisions for his work on Commons, so if someone needs this permission, RFA is thataway. WODUP 08:12, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Pulling together the fragments

There appears to be some confusion as to what is being proposed, and who has proposed it and where. User:FT2, in his capacity as an ArbCom member, posted this announcement on June 27 followed by the creation of Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/June 2008 announcements/Activation of view-deleted-pages by User:FT2 "For and on behalf of the Arbitration Committee". Discussion started on Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/June 2008 announcements/Activation of view-deleted-pages and was soon followed by the opening of the discussion on this page. Initially the project page was linked to the Central Discussion Template - [2], then removed on 7 July as "on hold". Then on 16 August this page was listed on the Central Discussion Template. This page appears to be the current discussion page. It may be worth pointing out that this topic has been raised previously, as noted on Wikipedia:PEREN#Deleted_pages_should_be_visible.

There has been discussion on ArbCom's involvement in this matter, with some debate on ArbCom's authority to propose it - however, as DGG said: "We should treat this as a proposal from any other editor or group of editors with experience at Wikipedia."

It is technically possible to implement the proposal of allowing editors to view material without bringing the material into the mainspace: "Developer Werdna confirms that the ability to see (but not undelete) deleted material as a user flag already exists in MediaWiki, and can be activated given policy and a consensus.".

It currently possible during a DRV to view the deleted material - see Wikipedia:DRV#Destination_Void_.28band.29 and click on cache in this line: "Destination Void (band) (edit|talk|history|links|watch|logs) (restore|cache|AfD)"

So far there is no clear consensus either way. There have been discussions above on variations of a tiered system, but again no clear consensus. SilkTork *YES! 15:53, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

I think your comment about using the cache is a bit too strong. Often, but by no means always, will there be a version of a deleted article available. Seldom/never will there be a copy of a deleted image. At the time I am adding this comment, the cache is usable in only two of the eight redlinks (2/4 on the articles, 0 for 4 on pictures/templates) that are open and have the cache link affixed. It is better than nothing, but no substitute for being able to view the deleted item. Xymmax So let it be written So let it be done 21:23, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
My bringing the cache to the attention of people in this discussion was intended to be neutral. People can make of it what they wish - one point is that recently deleted material CAN be viewed by any user of Wikipedia regardless of registration or trustworthiness. Indeed, such material, because of the nature of the Google cache system, can be viewed by people who are not a part of Wikipedia at all. Such information can be used by people both pro and anti allowing Wikipedians to view deleted material. This article has recently been deleted. I can see it, and so can millions of people around the world. What that means for this proposal is up to others to decide. But what exactly are we "protecting" by not allowing the easy means for Wikipedians - trusted or otherwise - to view it on Wikipedia when they can already view it on Google? Hmmmmm. SilkTork *YES! 15:05, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Restored - View-deleted privilege

I've been gone for a few days, but I had really wanted to comment on this discussion, so I restored it. The conversation has moved back and forth, with no consensus one way or the other. It is clear that many people would like some sort of ability to view deleted edits/pages for non-admins, though exactly how is not clear. Some points I'd like to make:

  1. There is no such thing as "deleted" on Wikipedia, due to the nature of the license. This is a misnomer that can lead to confusion. Nothing can ever be fully-removed, it can only ever be disabled (or deactivated?).
  2. There is no legal problem with copyvio or BLP that has been removed from public access. There is no way to remove copyvio/BLP material from Wikipedia ever. This text will be in the revision history of this website for as long as it exists. Obviously a verbatim-copied website in an article would be actionable, especially if it were mirrored in a commercial website. If deleted material were accessible only to admins and editors who had a "view-deleted privilege", that would completely un-actionable. This is a non-commercial website that can never legally delete this material, and the material is already marked as copyvio/BLP in the deletion summary. As long as it is not accessible to everyone, and not played off as original work, there is no reason or legal basis to sue, or take any other action.
  3. There is no potential for abuse that is not already covered by existing policies. If someone sees a deleted attack page, and re-creates it, they are in violation of the same policies that the original editor was, and can be handled the same way.
  4. "Copyvio" doesn't mean useless. Keep in mind that Wikipedia is a tertiary source, and some people may not understand that an interesting opinion or relevant fact may need rewording to be included in the text. A "copyvio" that is not viewable to the public could easily be a reliable source that was badly handled. Most of our primary/secondary sources are copyrighted materials.
  5. An editor can easily ask for a page to be viewable from any admin, but as an editor cannot know what a deleted article contains, it is almost impossible for them to know if they would want this material recreated.
  6. Any truly objectionable material is oversighted, or should be. If it is so bad that no non-admin should ever see it, I don't see why an admin should.

With these points in mind, I would like to fully support the idea of a "view-deleted privilege", with requirements similar to rollback, that is selectively assigned. I do not see any real potential for abuse at this point, as long as the general public cannot see these materials. If it is shown that the level of abuse is too high, the requirements for this privilege should be raised. If there is little-to-no signs of abuse, they should eventually be lowered. The basic fact is, many of these "deleted" pages are rubbish, but since we are stuck with them for the life of Wikipedia, we may as well get some use out of them. ~ JohnnyMrNinja 08:52, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

I've already given my support for exactly this scheme above, but I thought I'd re-iterate it here. Plus, I love to talk. :) --Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 16:00, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
I have also given my support for this idea previously, so I give it here again. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 16:08, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Can someone explain what the feared abuse actually is? The only arguments I've ever seen are: (1) people could create links on other sites to the permanent URLs of deleted pages (but this could be handled by giving access to logged-in users only, without the need to create a separate privilege); and (2) people will "recreate" deleted material if they can see it (but they can do that anyway provided they saved it on their own machine; and making deleted stuff visible to everyone makes it easier to identify such cases). Is there anything else? Why the need to create extra levels of privilege for this?--Kotniski (talk) 10:43, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

As it is unclear exactly who is currently supporting what, I have created a straw poll, to be open for three weeks, at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Persistent proposals/Straw poll for view-deleted. All Wikipedians are asked to share their opinions. Discussion of the proposal will hopefully continue here. ~ JohnnyMrNinja 08:56, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

To quickly respond to point 1 and 2. Things really can get deleted from Wikipedia. There is nothing in the license stating we have to keep an article. (be it disabled or deactivated) It can be actively removed. Garion96 (talk) 03:43, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
It can be removed from sight, but by the GDFL - "All previous authors of the work must be attributed." & "All changes to the work must be logged." These can never be removed from the server. Hence Oversight. If they could truly be deleted, Oversight would not be needed. A BLP could just be erased from the server forever. ~ JohnnyMrNinja 06:52, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Work = article, work is not "entire encyclopedia". Garion96 (talk) 09:06, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Straw poll discussion

I am creating this section as a place to link to for discussion during the straw poll, as the above section starts off filled with my opinions. Please post any current comments on the topic here. ~ JohnnyMrNinja 10:24, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Just a note that the straw poll has been marked rejected following comments from the Foundation's legal counsel. Hut 8.5 06:49, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.