Wikipedia talk:Blocking policy/Archive 10

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Vandalism post-block

A vandal has been repeatedly blocked for vandalism; his talk page is littered with "last warnings" and a statement that he can be blocked without warning. The block expires, and he starts vandalizing again. Does one really need to waste time issuing another "last warning" before reporting to AIV? -- TedFrank 14:19, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

      • AIV is a quick-response sort of place, and it is quite possible, indeed probable, that the admin in question did not fully understand the nature of the situation. --Jayron32|talk|contribs 06:06, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

User requested indef. blocks?

Having just seen this it made me curious. I don't see a provision for requests of self-blocking on this policy page. Is there some mention of such a thing elsewhere? (Netscott) 05:15, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

  • In general I thought we didn't do that. >Radiant< 08:53, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
  • That was my thinking as well. (Netscott) 08:54, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
    • Added a paragraph on the subject. Please copyed. >Radiant< 08:55, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Softblock for Tor proxies

I live in China and have to use Tor to edit articles, because the only alternative – the HTTPS connection – doesn't allow users to do so any more.

The Tor proxies are very often blocked. If I've understood correctly, since the policy to block open proxies was introduced, a new technical possibility has become available that enables registered users to use Tor, while still blocking anonymous users who use Tor.

(I've tried to address this issue elswhere, but there was no solution. Please see also: Wikipedia:Advice to users using Tor to bypass the Great Firewall#Request a softblock and Wikipedia talk:No open proxies#Users from China are banned by this policy; if you read German, pls also see de:WP:AN#Ganz China ausgeschlossen.)

The blocking policy should be modified accordingly: Tor proxies should generally be softblocked. — Babelfisch 07:23, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Anon-only block with account creation disabled would be fine, but I am wary of allowing account creation through proxies. Guy (Help!) 09:47, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I think a soft-block (anon block, account creation block, logged in editing allowed) is preferrable. Vassyana 13:06, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Where does that leave the millions of possible chinese editors who dont yet have an account? -Mask Flag of Alaska.svg 00:40, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Discussion copied from Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#Tor proxies:

The blocking of Tor proxies can collude with Internet censorship by the Chinese government. Please have a look at this discussion on the blocking of Tor proxies: Wikipedia talk:Blocking policy#Softblock for Tor proxies. — Babelfisch 07:26, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

  • It can also prevent massive vandalism and ban evasion. Note that Chinese readers are unaffected. Guy (Help!) 09:46, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia is about being a free encyclopedia, not a political anti-censorship vehicle. To quote Jimbo "If you have such a severe personal situation that editing Wikipedia with the level of anonymity provided by an ip number is dangerous to you, well, I guess you shouldn't edit wikipedia." [1]. But generally regarding censorship no one in the world is permitted to write here based on anything other than verifiable, reliable sources if those sources exist then censorship of that information isn't occurring. --pgk 12:05, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

end of copy

You've misunderstood me or I haven't been clear enough. This is not a problem of anonymity. Chinese users cannot even read Wikipedia without a proxy, because the Chinese government is blocking access. With a proxy, users in China can circumvent the blocking by the Chinese government and read articles, but when they want to edit articles, they are blocked by Wikipedia administrators. This situation is absurd. Mr Wales may be right that people who are concerned about anonymity shouldn't edit articles, but that's not the point here. I'm not so much concerned about my anonymity, but using Tor (or other open proxies) at the moment is the only way to edit articles at all.
If users in China can't edit articles on Wikipedia, because their only technical possibility to do so is blocked by Wikipedia administrators, that means that Wikipedia is consciously excluding all users from China. How "free" is an encyclopedia that does that? — Babelfisch 02:02, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Im on your side here Babelfisch, but lets get one thing out in the open very quick. The 'free' refers to free content not any rights on man or cost analysis. You are free to fork the project, you are free to redistribute and even make money off of it. Thats what free means so dont make such a blatent emotional appeal based on nothing. Its entirely a 'think of the children!' style defense. -Mask Flag of Alaska.svg
"Welcome to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit." – That's the first sentence on the main page, and it's simply not true. At the moment, Wikipedia administrators seem to collude with the Internet censorship of the Chinese government. 137 million Internet users are blocked by Wikipedia as "collateral damage" in the war against vandalism. Yes, I'm quite emotional about that, but there is a simple solution and I hope it will be adopted. — Babelfisch 02:45, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Well let me put you mind at rest, no one from the Chinese government has contacted me on this matter and encouraged me to block any tor node. As already noted blocking doesn't stop you reading. The information is not being censored. Not being able to edit isn't censoring you, this isn't a project about free expression. --pgk 06:27, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Anyone who needs an account in order to edit through Tor can simply request one, either at Wikipedia:Request an account or by privately asking an administrator. I've handled several such requests myself. If you're mad about the Chinese government censoring Wikipedia, your ire should be directed at the Chinese government, not Wikipedia. --Slowking Man 00:58, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

TOR proxies need to be hard blocked. I don't go searching for TOR proxies; rather, I find new accounts doing something fairly awful, and discover that their IPs are TOR proxies. It happens all the time. It turns out it is trivially easy for an editor to get a new account name by finding some unblocked TOR proxy; once they do so, the full range of TOR proxies become useable by them. I wish there weren't vandals, but there are, and they're often extremely nasty. Jayjg(talk) 03:02, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Slowking Man, I've created an account in June 2004 and I've been editing articles on Wikipedia since then. This is not about creating accounts. Hardblocking Tor proxies means that I can't edit articles even if I sign in. By using Tor, I've been able to circumvent Chinese government censorship since it was imposed, but now I'm blocked by Wikipedia administrators. The Chinese government has so far been unable to prevent me to contribute to Wikipedia, but Wikipedia administrators are now blocking me.
When I was blocked for the first time, I searched Wikipedia and found this:
That looks like a great solution, but it seems to be disputed, and some administrators don't follow this advice. It's not a policy, but has it become obsolete? In that case, the "advice to Tor users in China" should be rewritten or scrapped.
Quotes from relevant Wikipedia policies:
  • "However those who edit in good faith, show civility, seek consensus, and work towards the goal of creating a great encyclopedia should find a welcoming environment." (Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines, third paragraph)
  • "Assume good faith." (Wikipedia:Assume good faith)
  • "There are only 5 actual rules on Wikipedia: neutral point of view, a free license, the wiki process, the ability of anyone to edit, and the ultimate authority of Jimbo and the board on process matters." (Wikipedia:Simplified Ruleset, my emphasis.)
  • "Newcomers are always to be welcomed. [...] ‘You can edit this page right now’ is a core guiding check on everything that we do. We must respect this principle as sacred." (User:Jimbo Wales/Statement of principles)
I don't understand how this spirit and these principles can be discarded and 137 million Internet users in China can be blocked from Wikipedia as "collateral damage" of blocking potential vandals. This blocking policy and the ban on open proxies are not absolute, it's not their intention to block registered users who are not vandals, and they should not be used to violate much more basic principles of Wikipedia. — Babelfisch 07:32, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Any further comments, please? — Babelfisch 03:28, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
The comments are that allowing open proxies enables great problems with vandalism, which vandalism requires the blocking of the proxies after the fact anyway. Wikipedia:No open proxies actually is absolute. Anyway, you seem to be able to find proxies to edit through. — Centrxtalk • 04:34, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

If TOR is hardblocked, some of us will have to leave, just FYI. Some TOR nodes already are hardblocked, but at least there are enough that aren't that Wikipedia is still basically editable through TOR. — Armed Blowfish (mail) 04:38, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, of course, there are plenty of soft-blocked TOR proxies, which means that they might as well not be blocked at all - just keep trying till you get a soft-blocked IP, then do whatever you like. That's how they were able to keep deleting the Main page today. Jayjg(talk) 19:56, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
There were plenty until you blocked 50 or whatever today. As for TOR and the main page, see User talk:Misza13; summary for the rest of you is that TOR is an orthogonal issue here and the deletions would've occurred with or without TOR.
On a sidenote, Jayg's crusade against TOR reminds me - in a very bad way - of the kneejerk response to the Seigenthaler incident. --Gwern (contribs) 23:42 7 May 2007 (GMT)
It's no kneejerk response; it's been the practice to block open proxies since I became an admin over two years ago, so this is nothing new. These proxies lead to too many problems with vandalism and sockpuppetry, and soft-blocking is almost pointless. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:54, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
I've heard elsewhere that hardblocking is pointless anyway because admin accounts are not affected by IP blocks. Is this true? --Gwern (contribs) 05:04 8 May 2007 (GMT)
Absolutely. See here and here. Sysops are not affected by any IP-based blocks (including autoblocks). Even if they were, they could simply undo them anyway. --Michael Billington (talk) 09:37, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
It's not pointless at all, because these TOR proxies (like all proxies) are used by editors so they can commit vandalism and other policy violations (usually personal attacks of an often loathsome nature) without revealing their own real IPs, and thus never getting caught or stopped. Jayjg (talk) 14:20, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Meta:Meta:No open proxies is a Foundation-wide policy applying to all Wikipedia projects. It is not an issue of certain admins making up rules you don't like. TOR proxies were always blocked. When softblocking became possible, it was tried as an experiment. The experiment failed. The checkusers have repeatedly discovered serious vandalism coming from softblocked anonymous proxies (not just TOR). Thatcher131 19:02, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Actually, the most relevant page seems to be Meta:Editing with Tor. Nothing in the page implies that there's any sort of official all-projects block ("This is because many Wikimedia projects block Tor exit nodes from editing. Some details and discussion links follow."; "English Wikipedia tends to block every Tor exit node."; "Meta and Wikimedia Commons block some Tor exit nodes, but not most of them.").
Note even further that Meta:Meta:No open proxies specifically recommends "This policy is known to cause hardship to some editors, who must use open proxies to circumvent censorship where they live; a well-known example is the government of the People's Republic of China, which attempts to prevent its citizens from reading or editing Wikipedia. Chinese readers who wish to edit Meta should read Wikipedia:Advice to users using Tor to bypass the Great Firewall."
I looked on the talk page, and I noticed that the understanding of the policy seems to differ from that listed here - it's not that all projects must ban all open/anonymous proxies, but that "Yes, this is a Wikimedia Foundation policy that is binding for all projects. All projects are allowed to block open proxies; I suppose strict enforcement of the policy is up to individual communities, but projects that do not do so will be wide open to open proxy-based attacks." (in relation to Hebrew Wikipedia's decision to heavily enforce it.) --Gwern (contribs) 23:52 9 May 2007 (GMT)
The statements "Users are prohibited from editing Wikimedia projects through open or anonymous proxies" and "Open proxies are banned from editing Wikimedia projects" seem pretty clear. --bainer (talk) 05:39, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Assuming that Jimbo is still our god-king, No open proxies is indeed official policy [2] [3]. Thatcher131 11:25, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Jimbo's just a board member. He has moral authority as god-king and the public face, but he can't unilaterally impose policy. The Board can and does (WP:OFFICE being a pertinent example). --Gwern (contribs) 05:26 11 May 2007 (GMT)
Last i checked jimbo had stacked the board by placing two people who are not wikipedia related and almost certain to vote with him if asked to on it so he can effectively force the result of any vote. Has that changed? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Plugwash (talkcontribs) 11:09, 11 May 2007 (UTC).

Let's face facts. More often than not, China users abuse their rights to edit and vandalise Wikipedia pages rather than use them wisely. -- 08:58, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

Honda Pilot

someone told me i'll be blocked. and then i heard about autoblocking for ips, did autoblocking always block account creation? HP —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Honda Pilot (talkcontribs) 11:42, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

If you're blocked, and the blocking admin uses "autoblock", the IP addresses that you try to edit from will be blocked for 24 hours. If the admin also uses "prevent account creation", then during that 24 hour period where your IP is blocked, you won't be able to register a new account. However, autoblocks are temporary. TomTheHand 14:37, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

A single edit?

Do you have to vandalise multiple times to be blocked? Or can you be blocked immediately and indefinitely after your first vandal edit? The Serene Silver Star 15:23, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

For vandalism that is particularly severe, some admins feel that an immediate, possibly indefinite block after a single edit is appropriate. If the vandalism is run-of-the-mill page blanking, I would say that such a block is probably not appropriate and would probably be overturned on appeal. If you're blocked and you feel it was for an inappropriate reason or for an inappropriate length of time, you can put an unblock request on your talk page (which you can still edit) with {{unblock|your reason here}}. TomTheHand 15:28, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Also, note that it's possible that an account has several vandalistic edits to pages that have since been deleted. Such edits don't show up in the contribs log. >Radiant< 15:46, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Also please be aware that some apparent vandalism, for instance the blanking of the lower part of a long page, may be due to a browser software bug, newbie mistakes, or other innocent reasons. In the case of one such event, or a few slowly paced events, time may allow discussion before blocking. In the case of a rapid series of such edits, a block may be prudent to prevent further damage until discussion resolves the problem, even though you assume good faith and innocent error on the editor's part (and in this case the block reason should avoid suggesting guilt or deliberate malice). -- BenTALK/HIST 04:11, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

attack and outing sites

Per previous precedent and commonly accepted practice, linking to attack sites, or linking to sites that attempt to "out" the identities of Wikipedia editors for any purpose is a blockable offense. This includes re-inserting such content that was already removed, and its initial insertion. Users who post such information or links, or that re-insert them after their removal, may be blocked for the safety and protection of other editors.

I've added that text. I can't believe it wasn't there already as this seems to be common practice. We don't support harassment. - Denny (talk) 18:48, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

What sort of thing is covered under "linking to attack sites". For example, various racist orgs maintain what might be called "attack sites", but those often should, perhaps must, be linked to in articels about such gorups or controversies in which they have been ionvolved. I presume that this policy is intended to mean linking as a whay to make by proxy an attack that could not be made directly on wikipedia pages, linking as a way to evade WP:NPA. But the words here could be taken to mean that any link to soenmthing that could be considered an "attack site" is out of line and blockable, which it obviously is not. Perhaps this wording should be clarified to distinguish these two cases? DES (talk) 20:39, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
The attacking isn't such a big problem. The stalking is. I really wouldn't get terribly upset if someone linked to a site that said what a horrible person User:ElinorD is. However, it would be completely unacceptable for someone to link to a site that said "ElinorD, in real life, is . . . and works in . . . and her husband is . . . and her children go to . . . School". As far as I'm aware, no such site exists, but there are sites that give such information about other editors, particularly administrators. And posting the URL in a nowiki'd form, or posting the name of the site, so that people can just add the http://www bit should also be ruled out, as should posting hints that would enable people to find it with google. ElinorD (talk) 20:50, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
I was more concerned that "attack site" could be interpreted to mean other kinds of sites completely, but since I see that thsi new text is under the section header "Personal attacks that place users in danger" the kind of site intended is perhaps reasonably clear. DES (talk) 21:10, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

I oppose this change. This is something that should be handled with common sense on a case by case basis. This is instruction creep, and a solution looking for a problem. Frise 23:42, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Can you cite for me a single example where we should legitimately link to a site that defames, libels, publically attacks, or attempts to out the "IRL" identity of editors here?:::: - Denny (talk) 23:51, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
You're missing my point. Policies are too long and unwieldy as they are. Adding on to them just to address something that might someday be a problem only makes them longer. As it stands, you can sit there and watch a newbie's eyes glaze over as he tries to find something buried in a hundred lengthy pages of policies. You can't codify against every eventuality, and trying to do so only leaves the doors open for the e-lawyers to comb through and look for loopholes. It's not like we have admins standing around saying, "This person linked to ED! We would do something, if only we had a policy against it." Just let people use some common sense. Frise 00:33, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately its a very real current problem, endangering the physical safety of editors here. People need to be aware of the repercussions of their actions in the strongest sense; harassment will not be tolerated. Stating that those who threaten the safety of editors... will be blocked, is not instruction creep. I wish to AGF but I can find no good faith reason... to support these links, or to support not clearly saying this is blockable (which it is anyway, and policy reflects practice). - Denny (talk) 06:18, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
What shall we do when "attack" sites are used as sources? Remove them? Frise 06:43, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Nothing requires all sources to be web accessable. If we really needed to we could cite an attack site like a book, and omit the URL. --Gmaxwell 06:44, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
AGF isn't an issue here. AGF tells us not to make assumptions about people's intentions... but it's completely reasonably for us to say that for the well being of our community, we must block anyone who engages in certain activities regardless of their intentions. I.e. "Hello Mr. Alkivar's phone number is XXX. We know you are trying to help us,.. somehow... but you are causing serious harm so we have to block you. Have a nice life.". Nothing in WP:AGF instructs us to ignore objectively harmful activities.
As far as the policy being too long.. We'll this is just common sense, so it would be nice if we could omit it.. but since so many of our users think all that isn't explictly forbidden is permitted, we are kinda stuck with bloated policies. If this bothers you, the first step is to chase down all the people who block the use of unwritten commons sense rules and re-educate them. After that I'll happily help you cut down the policy pages. --Gmaxwell 06:44, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Nail on the head. People if they see or perceive loopholes, will stumble through them (all of us, me, you) for whatever reason. For the really nasty stuff (like this), it never hurts and can't do any harm to put in a lone sentence or two specifying it out--that alone will help long term since it reinforces the idea that its wrong and bad. - Denny (talk) 06:53, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Needless to say, I completely agree with Denny here. ElinorD (talk) 08:37, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

I've edited Wikipedia:Harassment to make it clearer that posting the address of a website that publishes an editors' personal details is just another way of posting those details yourself.[4] ElinorD (talk) 08:35, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

For what it's worth, the current phrasing strikes me as being a bit ambiguous as to what exactly an "attack site" is -- it might not be clear to an outside reader what we mean by it. Would "linking to sites which attack or identify personal details of Wikipedia editors" (linked up as you please) be a more specific wording? Just my thought. – Luna Santin (talk) 20:08, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

That would address my concerns, expreseed above. DES (talk) 20:10, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps linking to this new essay at Wikipedia:Attack sites/WP:BADSITES could help? - Denny (talk) 20:29, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Please consider that every single news source that ran an article about the Essjay controversy and used his real name would be considered an attack website under this proposal. Anyone proposing that we delete all references to CNN? ABC? The BBC? New York Times? Didn't think so. This is instruction creep with the potential to do more harm than good. Risker 09:22, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
Linking to a site which publishes Essjay's real name would not be a problem (as long as it's not a site that publishes the real names of people who are still trying to be anonymous), because it has been acknowledged by Essjay himself, and because it's public knowledge. I quite agree that this proposal should not be worded in such a way as to consider BBC and New York Times attack sites. But if it is worded that way, we need to clarify the wording, not dump the whole proposal. ElinorD (talk) 20:10, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

"implying how to find" attack sites is absurdly tangential (it's not even "stating how to find") and, even beyond possible innocent links to attack sites by a user, it is not unlikely that someone might innocently "imply how to find" something (what does it mean? if I say "Wikipedia:Protected titles lists some attack sites" is that supposed to be blockable according to you? It is a simply descriptive statement related to the administration of Wikipedia that anyone may say. —Centrxtalk • 18:44, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

I've changed the wording so that it now reads Users who, without actually linking to these sites, post information on how to find them, may, in certain circumstances, also be blocked. I also put that bit in a new sentence, so that it wouldn't seem as if that was also part of the ArbCom ruling, and, while I kept the links to Wikipedia:Attack sites and to the MONGO arbcom case, I changed the order of the links. ElinorD (talk) 20:10, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Those "attack sites"

What this really seems to be about is Wikipedia Review, since it is this site which DennyColt has taken it upon himself to excise from Wikipedia. Well, on the principle that any such critical site which is subjected to such censorship is worth investigating, I checked it out. Frankly, it isn't worth the hysteria. But more to the point is that if people there try to "out" people here, it is part of a larger pattern of criticism of the administration here. And therefore there have been several references and outright quotations. And this raises problems, because DennyColt authorized himself to delete the links to these, without removing the quoted text. I've restored (and corrected) those, because they can be in no way characterized as the kind of stalking attacks discussed here, because essays are not guidelines, and because the deletions simply give critics ammunition.

The whole thing seems ill-advised. Those who exercise power under a cloak of anonymity have to expect attempts to strip away their veils. Actual attacks are one thing, but blanket ex post facto bans of sites which might be involved in such attacks simply ratifies their complaints about the opacity of wikipedia process. And the attempt to make WP:BADSITES into a guideline without going through any process at all is unacceptable. Mangoe 15:56, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

"Those who exercise power under a cloak of anonymity have to expect attempts to strip away their veils."
This completely goes against what we are, doesn't it, to even support or condone this? Would you be willing to disclose your real name, employer, and if you had one, your username at Wikipedia Review? - Denny (talk) 18:57, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, posters on the Wikipedia Review initially broke and further instigated the Essjay controversy. That patiently was a huge attack against Wikipedia and against one of our best editors here. I dare say, if it wasn't for the media response instigated by WR, specifically by Daniel Brandt, Essjay would probably still be sitting on ArbCom, with Jimbo's continued blessing. However, it seems to me that removing references to WR is rather beside the point of removing all references and articles associated with Brandt, who is the real threat, while WR is the vehicle by which he makes his activities known. I would say keeping links up to WR provides more WP editors with an "early warning" monitoring system for Brandt's stoking of developing controversies on WP. More awareness may lead to preventative or corrective action next time; outlawing references to the site "here" won't stop the investigations they undertake "there," further media controversies stoked by Brandt will hit the WP general editorship blindside, and actions like this will look like attempts at cover-up rather than attempts to deal with criticism/controversy pragmatically or honestly.--Academy Leader 19:49, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
The outing is one part of the problem with WR. The other part is that they have published actionable libel, discussion about the sex lives of women editors, and copyright violations, not to mention the hundreds of insults, the deliberately hurtful photographs, and so on. Also, look at the tiny number of people who are actively involved. There can never be a legitimate reason to link to it, that I can see. I believe we do already have guidelines in place that say don't link to sites that contain libel or copyright violations. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:55, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
We have Wikipedia:Copyrights, which is policy. "If you know that an external Web site is carrying a work in violation of the creator's copyright, do not link to that copy of the work. Knowingly and intentionally directing others to a site that violates copyright has been considered a form of contributory infringement in the United States (Intellectual Reserve v. Utah Lighthouse Ministry)."
WR publishes photographs of people without the permission of the copyright holders. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:58, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
So this is all really about Essjay again. It's amazing how much in the way of overwrought new policy is being in rolled forth in (over)reaction to an embarrassment which was an inevitable consequence of practice here.
SV, your reference to the copyright policy verges on misrepresentation. I have trouble imagining that you cannot tell the difference between a reference to a "work" carried on the website and that website as a whole. Maybe you have a point concerning a reference to a particular post that bore such a photograph, though I'd also expect some proof that the photograph was copied in violation (for after all, it's generally reasonable to assume that any image on that net that is not obviously proprietary to the website is in violation). In the real case that I dealt with, there's no such photograph, and no question at all that the material was created within that forum by the user who posted it. I can only hope you haven't read the material to which I refer, because your implications about it are incorrect.
I do not condone posting personal details about people, but I have to say that if you go out in public under an assumed name (and this counts), you will run the risk of having your true identity exposed. You can accept the risk or not, but it's going to be there. I wish I could be surprised at the lack of understanding of how counterproductive this vendetta against the WR people is. It looks petty, and there's nothing that attracts the media sharks like the opportunity to expose such pettiness. Mangoe 20:41, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
You are correct that harassment of Wikipedia editors by external sites is something that we here cannot control. On the other hand, by linking to those sites, or in any way providing them publicity, we become complicit ourselves, and we in fact promote and encourage the harassment by feeding the trolls. ArbCom has already ruled on this, and it is patently obvious that editors should not in any way aid or abet this harassment. This is not 'petty' at all - it is common sense and common decency to our fellow editors. Crum375 20:56, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
Mangoe, you seem to have replied to my posts without reading them. I didn't mention Essjay, for example. Can you address the points about libel, discussion about the sex lives of women editors, the insults, the photographs published without permission? SlimVirgin (talk) 21:03, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
Magoe, you wrote: ", but I have to say that if you go out in public under an assumed name (and this counts), you will run the risk of having your true identity exposed." That may be true, but Wikipedia should not link to these sites, unless that person is notable. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:06, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
Jossi, did you go and look at all the references that were changed under this new "policy"? I did. I did not find lots of people saying, "over on [banned site], it says that Googlesmertz is really Natty Bumpo!" I'm not sure that I found any, in fact. Most were passing references or simple references to it as a critical site. Two cases were cites for which there was no possible justification for vandalizing the reference.
SV, the reasons you give are punitive. That's a bad position to put yourself- and I mean you personally- in. I haven't found the discussion of anyone's sexual habits yet. As for the photo, I have only your word about it. I think it's rather rude of Brandt to post a photo of you, accurate or not, for what that's worth. It wouldn't be unreasonable to remove links to that image, though I have to wonder how you'll prove it is copyrighted without confirming to everyone that it is of you. Be that as it may, this smells at present like a vendetta by a group of admins here against a site whose criticisms of WP specifically include the way administrators (and you in particular) behave. You're as much as admitting that, since you can't take the heat, you are the tyrant they accuse you of being.
You don't need a specific policy to cut out specifically libelous or abusive references, so if the reasons give applied to the specific cases it was invoked against, you wouldn't need the policy anyway. Mangoe 21:36, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
Mangoe, I think you are simply missing the point. The WR site, as an example, attempts to out WP editors, e.g. by guessing at their real names, locations, etc. - you don't need to read a lot to discover that. In addition, it harasses them by speculating on their personal lives, that are unrelated to WP. All of this is disruptive to WP editing, and can potentially put editors at risk from stalkers. Any attempt to condone this behavior, or to help it in any way, e.g. by providing links to such attack or harassment sites, is obviously detrimental to the project and its contributors. Such activity is clearly blockable. Crum375 21:51, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't know what a "punitive" reason is, and I'm not talking about the photograph they think is of me, but about all the photographs they've published. But as you seem to be parroting their line, there's not much point in continuing this discussion. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:54, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm about at the point of bowing out of this, seeing as how, in the cases I really care about, reason is prevailing over (proposed) policy. And it's apparent that my warnings against the folly of this are not sinking in. But I have to say that I simply don't see them as a real menace. Mostly what I see is, on their side, a varied group of those who have issues with the way Wikipedia is adminstered. It does not, in my judgement, constitute the malicious conspiracy that is being hinted at in all the allegations you have made. I don't agree with "them", but then, they don't agree with themselves. I'm sticking with the claim that simply having one's anonymity broken is the risk one takes for making onesself a public anonymous figure.

But as far as their thesis is concerned, it has some merit. Since it has already been established that specific links to specific "attacks" are verboten, without reference to additional policy, it is hard for me to understand this as anything but an attempt to censor out the other material, that which is not an "attack" except in the sense that it is criticism. And the whole episode surely has the potential to lead others to the same conclusion. That is why I think this is unwise, and why it comes across to me as a punitive act. You-- you personally-- give the appearance of trying to punish those who oppose your exercise of power. I am somewhat unconcerned with how justified their complaints are, and for that matter among themselves they express reservations as to the legitimacy of what some there claim. What I do notice is that this act is lending credence to their complaints, and at the same time leading the curious to check out what is so awful about the site. Tha tis why this is folly. But as I have given advice here more than once, and there is no sign that it will be heard, much less heeded, I shall most likely turn aside to more fruitful pursuits. Mangoe 14:35, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I concur with objections to the links based on existing US copyright law and WP policy. I agree that there is a lot of slander and innuendo in the WR forums, but it is a message board site and references to it, hotlinked or not, are already prohibited in article mainspace by existing attribution policy. The creation of a special policy, or modifications to existing policy, specifically against linking to "attack sites" I think creates a slippery slope so far as what the potential definition of what an "attack site" is. (Recalling, to my mind, the problems associated in defining what an " unlawful enemy combatant" is.) Any agent of a public figure notable enough to have some online media against them could use the policy to quell userspace discussion/debate of the appropriateness of these references for the article mainspace... it is a slippery slope but one that the creation of a blanket policy would seem to exacerbate rather than effectively prevent. --Academy Leader 02:16, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

(restoring indent) The problem you mention - agents of public figures abusing Wikipedia for their own gain - is a very real one, and is related to the problem of attack sites. One attack site was created by an employee of an Internet company, to push the agenda of his CEO and company. In addition to attacking Wikipedia editors and administrators, this corporate official created multiple sockpuppets to edit the Wikipedia article on his CEO, his company, and his CEO's critics. The New York Times said this CEO's attack site was part of a "campaign of menace," and Bloomberg news service called it a "creepy" p.r. strategy. It has also been extensively mentioned in blogs. In fact, an entire blog is devoted to researching and exposing this corporate smear campaign. Under existing policy, blogs of any kind are usually not usable as source material. So yes, I presume the agent of this CEO could use this policy to, as you put it, "quell userspace discussion/debate of the appropriateness of these references." However, since this subject has received attention in the major media, references to blog criticism, whether from "attack" blogs or otherwise, is not necessary.--Mantanmoreland 12:45, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, but it would seem to me that the issue of determining whether or not any of these links in userspace were posted maliciously would have to be a context-sensitive issue, depending on the nature of the site, the editor, the specific item referenced, etc. It would seem to me that links to specific items in "attack blogs" and such could be used to warn the subjects in question... links in WP userspace also let other people know a certain user is under attack. It would seem to me that if any of these links are used maliciously, to taunt the users under attack on other sites, that could go to support a block under WP:NPA... I still think a general policy covering (potentially) every instance of a link to a non-reliable source with "attack content," as opposed to copyright violations, is overdoing it. On WR, for instance, not all the content is malicious, (though a lot of it is) and some respected WP editors do post on particular threads there. I agree that these sites can never be used as reliable references, but in an era when blogs and such can break news, a blanket policy forbidding userspace references to them seems a bit draconian and needless, as it wouldn't solve the real problem of any information exchanged on these sites occasionally bearing fruit.--Academy Leader 21:00, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
We have a general policy that precludes the use of blogs except in articles about the blogs themselves, or when the blog writer is a widely published and reputable individual. Attack, harassment and hate sites, in general do not fall into these exclusions, hence there is no reason to use them. If there is any useful information on them, then the mainstream media should pick that up, and then we could use the information, once properly vetted and sourced. Since we are an encyclopedia, there is no rush to get the latest speculations or innuendos from some blog, and certainly not at the cost of promoting the harassment of our editors. In general, linking or facilitating linking to such sites is harmful to the project, and anyone doing so can be blocked. Crum375 21:34, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Academy Leader, let's go to a real-life example I mentioned earlier. As I mentioned, the blogs are alive with material indicating that the CEO of an Internet company is engaged in all kind of impropriety. These are not attack blogs. They are just blogs. This stuff has been alluded to in the media but not reported on in any detail. Much of it involves vandalism of Wikipedia. Do you believe it would be appropriate to chat on the talk page of this CEO about all the dirt on him and his company in these blogs? Please draw on your long editing experience [5]and address this question. Thanks.--Mantanmoreland 23:02, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Under a blanket policy, any matter of mentioning "I heard 'yada yada yada' on 'yada yada' site'" or any critical comment on some dubious content of such sites would be prohibited... Cases of links to actual slander on such sites I think would best be handled according to the discretion of any admin made aware of the situation. If the poster appears to be a proponent of the POV of the site, wants to get a blog or some other informal source listed as a citation in an article, and won't back down on the issue and disrupts WP to that end, then obviously a block is in order. But if it's a matter of someone asking "Hey, can anyone verify or collate 'some item of negative information' I read in an informal source 'here' elsewhere?" I don't think every such instance would potentially lead to WP being sued for slander. I don't think every instance of a link to negative material (as opposed to slanderous material) in a blog or other informal source in userspace is automatically worth blocking someone over, in my reserved opinion. Best, --Academy Leader 00:29, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
I guess you don't want to touch my real-world example. No problem. Your theoretical is disembodied from the real world of attack sites, as what they publish is not recipes for bread pudding but personal attack on editors. Rather than insert loopholes in a sensible policy, I think we can do without yada yada on whatever non-attacking content may exist on those sites. That doesn't mean one sends every transgressor to the gas chamber. But if, as happened just yesterday, someone links three times to attack sites after being warned, a block is warranted.--Mantanmoreland 02:24, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, could you provide a link? Without a link to a concrete instance, of course such conversation would remain hypothetical. This rather neatly illustrates my (entirely theoretical!) point that sometimes referential links are necessary to illustrate the points we make. Show me to the actual situation you are talking about and I'll comment on that, rather than offer more general comments on the "type of" situation you are "generally" describing.--Academy Leader 02:48, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
'Showing a link' in this situation is akin to demonstrating how jumping off a cliff is bad for you. If you just assume that a site contains malicious harassment, libel, attacks, etc. and fails our sourcing requirement, then there is no need to include it or discuss it, and if someone insists on posting a link, it would be blockable. If you disagree with this general rule and logic, you need to come up with a hypothetical scenario, where promoting an external attack and harassment site by posting its link on Wikipedia's pages provides benefits that clearly outweigh the harm to the affected targets. Crum375 03:43, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Nah, the scenario he was describing seemed to exist, in part anyway, on Wikipedia. Once I got a hold of the relevant WP page (subject) information I would have done a Google or Technorati search to find any offsite info on those terms... eliminating links on WP wouldn't hamper my ability to do that, but it would make the practice of finding any anecdotal information more inconvenient.--Academy Leader 04:27, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
By "link" I am not sure what you mean. A link to the attack site that was posted three times? Obviously not. A link to the CEO's page etc. wouldn't violate policy, but I see no point in naming the CEO and being bombarded with posts from his hirelings. I think I've described the situation with reasonable enough specificity. My point is that even when non-attack blogs are involved, the chitchat on blogs is of really no relevance unless they can be cited. If what they say is important enough to be picked up by citable sources, or by blogs that fit our criteria, it is another matter. The section of the blocking policy on attack blogs therefore deprives the project of absolutely nothing and is beneficial.--Mantanmoreland 14:47, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
This wouldn't have anything to do with "Judd Bagley," would it? I notice you claim to have been stalked by him in a userbox on your page. If this issue significantly has to do with WP, I don't see how providing the relevant page links or editing diffs on a WP page would be a problem. My counterpoint is that sometimes links to information posted in non-reliable sources may be necessary to make an accurate determination of any potential relevance the information may have for the encyclopedia, when properly collated by other reliable sources of course. A blanket policy entirely prohibiting informed discussion of these matters, due to any possibility of real or imagined "attack content" therein, seems to me "jumping of a cliff" in another direction. --Academy Leader 17:25, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Can you say what you mean by "sometimes links to information posted in non-reliable sources may be necessary to make an accurate determination of any potential relevance the information may have for the encyclopedia, when properly collated by other reliable sources of course"? I can't think of a single example or even work out what it means exactly. SlimVirgin (talk) 08:12, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Take a user-produced, comment-driven meta-site like Slashdot, for instance, where the bulk of commentary may be germane to WP without being something we would reference on an article page. If we were to dig around this thread "Wikipedia and the Politics of Verification" [6], I bet we could find some examples of posts virulently condemning Wikipedia or Wikipedians, but many others with some worthwhile critical content that could be safely linked to and discussed in an appropriate user-forum on WP. While I am not advocating linking to actual, obvious instances of libel or slander, my concern is that entirely banning links to sites that may offer such content along with critical commentary of WP would frankly deprive the community here, and render WP a more isolated place from its various off-site detractors and critics. Such persons may be unruly and ill-mannered, but whatever concrete posts they may make could help serve some purpose here in keeping WP on the straight and narrow. Best,--Academy Leader 09:27, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
We're not talking about sites that might have a few derogatory comments on them along with a host of legitimate content. We're talking about attack sites: sites that are more or less (or entirely) dedicated to causing trouble for individuals, where there is no responsible person administering the site, no one you can write to to ask that material be removed (or if you do, you risk being ridiculed by them all over again), little or no concern about libel, little or no concern for people's privacy, little or no concern that they're engaged in, or aiding, stalking and harassment, and sometimes physical threats. SlimVirgin (talk) 10:00, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

(restoring margin ) The purpose of article talk pages is to discuss the content of articles, not to be a stalking victims discussion forum. This policy serves that purpose by taking a zero tolerance toward trolls and stalkers. If you had ever edited an article, and not just posted on policy discussion pages[7], you might have an idea of what I am talking about.--Mantanmoreland 18:01, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

I have used another account for editing articles before, I registered this one because I liked the connotation, but so far I've only used it to comment on policy matters and haven't been doing other editing on WP.
As a component of this discussion is the propriety of "outing" people, I think any victimization by identifiably "real" or anonymous persons, against any identifiably "real" or anonymous persons on WP, or elsewhere and reported on WP, is relevant. If you are not comfortable talking about circumstances pertaining to your own situation, fine. But I think forthright and complete disclosure of any concrete instances of harassment would be appropriate towards discussing the applications of policy in your or other cases. Best,--Academy Leader 19:06, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
As I said before, I don't think it's appropriate to go into detail on specific instances of cyberstalking and trolling. There is a middle ground between feeding trolls with accounts of their exploits and providing hypotheticals that are totally disconnected from reality. If I assumed good faith in your posts, which I do not because of your use of an alternate screen name, I would be happy to send you details of the trolling via email. I provided you with a hypothetical based on a specific situation, and you wouldn't touch it with a ten foot poll. I think it is amusing that you talk about being "forthright" while you're not forthright enough to use your main user account. --Mantanmoreland 19:54, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
My prior account was Amerique (talk · contribs · email). I don't believe we've crossed paths before, but as someone who has been harassed by trolls (Amerigue (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · page moves · block user · block log), Ameriquə (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · page moves · block user · block log)) I can tell you I didn't appreciate it one bit, and do appreciate the relative security anonymity provides. However, reporting on such instances can be a way of identifying whatever policy issues are involved, rather than prima facie violations of policy. Regards, Sir.--Academy Leader 21:23, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
I appreciate your transparency. No, we've never crossed paths as best I can recall. The trolling, vandalism and such to which I was/am subjected presents no special policy issues, as it was always clearcut. Though an attack site was involved, it was secondary to the serial vandalism. What I alluded to about the CEO etc. is just icing on the cake, and has been mentioned in blogs ad infinitum. I brought it up to illustrate my point that blog discussions, even those which denounce Wikipedia trolls, warrant airing in only exceptional circumstances.--Mantanmoreland 21:29, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
This thread has been an interesting read in terms of honest disagreement, but I have to admit my eyebrows got hijacked when I read Crum375’s comment “If you just assume that a site contains malicious harassment, libel, attacks, etc. and fails our sourcing requirement, then there is no need to include it or discuss it, and if someone insists on posting a link, it would be blockable.” (emphasis added) I certainly hope it was not meant as broadly prescriptive as it reads, or else the heart of every dedicated, hardworking POV-peddler and troll will leap, and their dark and tulgey caves resound with cries of “O frabjous day! O frabjous joy!” Not that this isn’t already their manxome modus operandi, but to have their frumious practice enshrined in policy and the vorpal sword of discernment braken upon the rock of beamish common sense could naught but leave them chortling in uffish, ironic glee.
While empathizing with those bearing scars from having been troll-bebitten, I find myself more in agreement with Academy Leader’s observation, “I still think a general policy covering (potentially) every instance of a link to a non-reliable source with "attack content," as opposed to copyright violations, is overdoing it.” It should be evident to the most casual reader that Wikipedia holds itself to higher editorial standards than does Wikipedia Review – and that, therefore, WR is its own worst enemy. WR fails very much in the same ways it accuses Wikipedia of failing, and since it gives itself so much less room to fall, its “trollicksomeness” rather effectively ruins the credibility and worth of its occasional more accurate and relevant critiques. While Wikipedia strives to be like the New York Times (UK: The Times) and more often than we’d like doesn’t make it past the New York Post (UK: The Sun), they remain useful sources for reliable information (when handled with care), while very few expect to find it other than accidentally or incidentally in the National Enquirer (UK: The Daily Star), however “wickedly entertaining” the latter might be. (This editor’s opinions.) Askari Mark (Talk) 18:25, 18 May 2007 (UTC)