Wikipedia talk:Deny recognition

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Essays
WikiProject icon This page is within the scope of WikiProject Essays, a collaborative effort to organise and monitor the impact of Wikipedia essays. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion. For a listing of essays see the essay directory.
 Mid  This page has been rated as Mid-impact on the project's impact scale.
Deny recognition (talk page) archives (latest)→
 This is not a proposal.
Despite repeated discussion about making this essay a guideline, it is originally and fundamentally an essay explaining some users' opinions or actions. It needs neither implementation nor consensus as an essay.

Special:Contributions for MfD![edit]

Per WP:DENY. Or at least that's what would happen if WP:DENY became policy. The Special:Contributions pages of vandals violate WP:DENY technically, and hence if WP:DENY became policy, then the page would be deleted. All the categories, userpages, talk pages, and long term abuse pages relating to vandals have been deleted (per something that isn't a policy that I don't like). While I must admit I was looking through the categories mostly for humorous usernames and silly edits, deleting the long term abuse pages is just outrageous. The long term abuse pages are a method of notifying the good users about the vandal! That's why I hate WP:DENY- you've got to know what vandalism is in order to revert it! SupaStarGirl 13:30, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

There was general community consensus to do so; for example, see the landmark decision Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Long term abuse/Willy on Wheels 2. Faulting an essay for expressing or formulating a popular rationale is illogical, since it is the community that interprets and enforces the suggestions given by the essay. Using the slippery slope to argue that deleting a vandal showcase will inevitably lead to the deletion of a core software feature is far-fetched. —{admin} Pathoschild 17:11, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but as an exercise in highlighting the absurdity of the policy and how it is unenforcable it can't be beat. See reductio ad absurdum. What it does show is that the proposed policy is not well thought through, and at worst may lead to abuse. - Ta bu shi da yu 11:46, 22 January 2007 (UTC)


I would support making this a guideline (I do not think it should be a policy.) Who's with me?! Grandmasterka 22:29, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

I don't actually think the division between widely-accepted essay and guideline is a big deal (less so than between policy/guideline), but I would support tagging it as a guideline. --Sam Blanning(talk) 23:46, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely not. Causes too many problems as is, and reduces community oversight. --badlydrawnjeff talk 23:48, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't like this idea. It's too vague in its current form, it's previous precise form was unacceptable and caused all sorts of problems, and you don't need a guideline to run MfD's. --tjstrf talk 23:54, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
  • No not a guideline, the part about deleting user pages is badly misguided. --JJay 00:32, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
  • It's not a big deal, but a widely accepted essay (if actionable) is by definition a guideline. Per JJay's objection, I've clarified the part about 'deleting user pages' to indicate such deletion goes via discussion on WP:MFD since we don't have a WP:CSD criterion for that. (Radiant) 09:47, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
    • I'm not convinced it's widely accepted. It's definitely heavily pushed by a very vocal group of editors, but there's no evidence of wide acceptance. --badlydrawnjeff talk 11:44, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
      • There is evidence that we have MFDeleted pages that had no purpose other than to glorify or otherwise give attention to vandals, and that these deletions were not controversial. (Radiant) 12:15, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
        • We also have evidence that the deletion of such pages that have that information have caused major problems. See the recent resurrection of Brian G. Crawford as an example. WP:DENY should not be a guideline because of situations like that - the pages must be handled on their own merits, and rogues who choose to simply speedy them outright without discussion are not helping the situation. --badlydrawnjeff talk 13:50, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
          • Which resurrection would that be? I find no record on Brian G. Crawford. At any rate, you are arguing that this should not be iron-clad without exceptions, and I agree - that's why it shouldn't be policy. The whole idea of all guidelines is that they're never iron-clad without exceptions (see also WP:POL). (Radiant) 14:00, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
            • Check on the issue w/Mr Spuky Toffee, who was later found to be a sock of BGC. User:JzG then made a post to AN/I to entertain the thought of unblocking him, which people endorsed until it was pointed out why he was blocked. This information used to be on his userpage before it was deleted under the auspices of WP:DENY. --badlydrawnjeff talk 14:10, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
              • Where to I check this issue? There is no User:Mr Spuky Toffee. It would really help if you would cite actual links. (Radiant) 14:20, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
                • User: Mr Spunky Toffee. I don't really have the time or energy for specific diffs from weeks ago on the issue or I would provide them. --badlydrawnjeff talk 14:30, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
                  • I fail to see the problem you allude to. Toffee's user page clearly shows he's a sock of Brian, and Brian's page clearly shows he is banned by the foundation, and neither page shows any record of information deleted per WP:DENY. Are you suggesting that this page states we delete the reasons why people are blocked? Because that's not what the page says, and neither is that what happened in this case you mention. (Radiant) 14:46, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
                    • Then you're not reading the logs very well. The userpage of BGC was deleted as the userpage of an indefintely blocked user. This is right in line with WP:DENY, and exactly why we need to get rid of this quickly, so otherwise great editors don't make that sort of mistake again. --badlydrawnjeff talk 14:51, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
                      • So? All the necessary information about BGC is still there and has not been deleted. The information deleted from the page consists of a bunch of userboxes and a list of AFDs he was involved in. In other words your claim that WP:DENY causes the deletion of useful information is false, QED. (Radiant) 15:15, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
                        • It isn't false, actually, plenty of info on the talk page was removed as well. You can keep saying that, but it doesn't make it more true. I'll also point you to Cyde's deletion logs, who's arguably the biggest proponent of this and often speedies this information in a blatant disregard for anyone else, and the various MfD discussions where otherwise useful information has been removed. --badlydrawnjeff talk 15:27, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
      • Toffee's talk page was never deleted; BGC's contains no information relevant to why he was blocked. Jeff, making allegations but refusing to substantiate them if asked for details is known as "handwaving" and is not a valid argument for anything. Until you have any actual evidence of your many unsubstantiated claims, I'm not going to bother discussing them with you any more. (Radiant) 15:58, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
        • Your accusations of handwaving only seem to come when I have you cornered logically. I find that fascinating. If you believe what you believe, I obviously can't stop you, but I've provided plenty of evidence, it's your choice whether to accept it. --badlydrawnjeff talk 16:10, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
          • Badlydrawnjeff makes a good point. It is important to balance the needs of the community to remain aware of and keep track of ongoing problem individuals while also denying those problem users unwarranted notoreity gained from their disruptive behavior. One of the points that has been brought up is how glory seeking vandals have been inclined to let Wikipedia's tracking efforts function as a sort of automatic Google bombing for their vandal related terms. Optimally a system would allow for tracking while limiting the effects of such Google bombistic results. (Netscott) 20:57, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
  • The spirit of this WP:DENY is right. I don't see why this couldn't become a guideline. (Netscott) 11:46, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
    • Because the practice is wrong? --badlydrawnjeff talk 13:43, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
      • No because I've personally seen proof of vandal glory seeking. (Netscott) 13:45, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
        • As have I. That doesn't mean that removing the information is the right move every time, which is what this implies. --badlydrawnjeff talk 13:50, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
          • I don't see how this implies it, but it certainly isn't the intent of the page, so would you please edit it to remove that implication? (Radiant) 14:00, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
            • Not really, no, because the intent of the page as a whole is what's faulty. We'd be better off slapping a {{rejected}} on it to make sure it's not abused. --badlydrawnjeff talk 14:10, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
              • I take it then that there really isn't an implication to remove the information every time, but that removal of such should be discussed on WP:MFD as the page says. (Radiant) 14:20, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
                • No, there is. Note how it has been handled. --badlydrawnjeff talk 14:30, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Jeff has brought up some good points on why it shouldn't be a policy. I think it is widely accepted enough, and used often enough, that it can be a guideline. There have been many MfD discussions that put this essay into use, a lot of ANI threads about it that I can cite. Perhaps we can ask for wider input elsewhere? (Even on WP:ANI, where there are plenty of people who deal with this issue?) I certainly didn't expect this to turn into an angry argument between two editors, and I definitely wouldn't want to put a {{rejected}} tag on it. Grandmasterka 08:52, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment: The spirit of the initiative is good, the application is often bad. In the rush to deny vandals any form of recognition whatsoever, we often end up cutting off our noses to spite someone-else's face. I personally believe that the deny-initiative should be tempered with the maxim Don't deny where a trivial denial will cause a denial that you really wish you weren't responsible for because its waaaaaaay worse than a page with {{indefblockeduser}} on it. A good example of this is, don't delete a category full of sockpuppets of a given user if (as it will) it will cause you to find "{{declined}} It was more important to delete the sockpuppet category than it was to keep the information around for the benefit of checkuser." on RFCU. As long as users are stopping to think "How might this come back to bite me far worse than I ever expected?" I think we'll be fine. Essjay (Talk) 05:03, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
Comment: I still don't see this as a guideline in any way. The whole underlying premise is purely speculative or at best highly simplistic. I mean where is the proof for statements like: Vandalism is encouraged by offering such users exceptional notice or users imitate notorious or unique vandalism methods for amusement, to share in the infamy, or for the thrill of defying authority and/or the perception of destroying other users' work?
There are many reasons for vandalism and this essay barely scratches the surface. It reminds me of those who argue that we could largely eliminate terrorism or rioting if media coverage was limited or non-existent, thereby conveniently ignoring the root causes. The best way to fight vandalism here is by consistently reverting. Failure to do so leads to John Seigenthaler Sr. Wikipedia biography controversy, arguably the best known case of vandalism at wikipedia, although the article calls it a "hoax". In that case, Denying recognition and infamy removes the primary motivations for vandalism and disruption is clearly false and would have been vastly preferred by the vandal, or should I say hoaxster, since the eventual recognition and infamy cost Mr. Chase his job and served as a severe warning for legions of wannabe vandals. There are many cases where the evidence of past vandalism should be retained, both the user pages and other examples. This should clearly be decided on a case-by-case basis. But erecting this into some kind of guideline with lofty aspirations to "mitigate vandalism" is at best premature, at worst a false panacea for a far deeper problem. --JJay 20:52, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Essjay, while the spirit of the idea is good, the writing is too vague, and will lead to all sorts of unintended, and negative, consequences when used overzealously. Prodego talk 02:01, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
  • So perhaps we could fix the wording? It is obvious that some decisions are being made on the principle that Recognition should be Denied. The counterargument "but DENY is only a proposal" has not been very convincing against that. It would be useful to have a guideline that indicates when we should and when we should not Deny things. >Radiant< 10:23, 24 December 2006 (UTC)
    When it comes to deleting nonsense userpages and talk pages that are nothing but vandal warnings, this should be used. When it comes to deleting pages that only contain subtle references to new users "actually doing it" (such as BJAODN pages or long term abuse pages), then this should not be used, and the pages should be kept. SupaStarGirl 16:27, 24 December 2006 (UTC)


CVU pages and the like helped me coordinate and fight vandalism a whole lot when I cared about this stuff. Vandals outnumber us by hundreds to one, yet we beat them because we employ all available tools; rollback, recent changes apps, and so on, make us more effective and efficient and reverting vandalism than vandals can be at vandalizing. WP:CVU and the so-called 'vandal hall of fame' are part of the structure that enables anti-vandal "cops and robbers" to coordinate with each other and know what is going on in the Wiki.

The most important example of why it's needed to have specific information about vandal profiles is that particular vandals often repeatedly hit the same pages. That means that an informed vandal slayer, when he or she notices a pattern of vandalism, can know where else to look for vandalism to revert, causing it to be reverted much faster.

I appreciate the concerns raised in this article as well as WP:RBI, which is why I think the best middle ground is to "admin protect" the relevant articles so that only admins can view them. However, it seems that suggestion was dismissed without consideration by supporters of DENY with the rationalized non-argument that there is "no need to bother the busy devs". This made my work on Wikipedia frustrating and difficult enough that I pretty much quit.

It's disheartening to see people so concerned with making life harder for the people who do the boring and thankless job of reverting vandalism on Wikipedia. Vandal fighters catch enough grief from the vandals themselves; I've been threatened with violence and called all manner of names on my talk page, repeatedly. So to see the hard work done by myself and others to document effective vandal fighting techniques for other users summarily deleted by the community was frustrating to say the least, and was a major contributor to my effective quitting my administrative duties. Vandal fighting is hard enough for us to be required to do it in any way except the most effective way possible.

--causa sui talk 17:46, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

I've never found a need to keep records of past vandalism... And the idea of this is not to encourage more vandalism. (See the MfDs on long term abuse pages and several threads on ANI on thi subject for evidence of a general support for this essay and some evidence of its effectiveness.) Certainly no-one here is trying to "make life harder" for you. Or me. Grandmasterka 23:04, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
I understand that it doesn't have anything to do with the way you fight vandalism, but what so many people seem unwilling to understand is that record keeping does in fact help a lot of people. I appreciate that no one is deliberately trying to make it harder for vandal fighters, but that is what I think makes this so pernicious. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" means that people who believe they are doing the right thing will not be swayed from their most destructive projects. --causa sui talk 23:27, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Well, that's precisely what I would like on this page: an indication of what kind of information is actually helpful for vandalfighters and thus shouldn't be removed. >Radiant< 10:29, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
For one, the MO(s) of vandals with MOs more sneaky then just "Sockpuppets" or "adds foul language/partizan screeds/blanks pages/starts riots", see for example WP:LB which has the best list that I can call to mind. 05:05, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
I concur with Ryan's analysis and would like to add a yet another observation. An experienced vandal buster who has an intuitive feeling of a behavioral pattern of a particular vandal spots his attempts on sight. But wikipedia is HUGE crowd, and quite often a well-meaning colleague starts questioning, and you have to waste lots of time. This often happens in the case of hoaxers who habitually create false pages. Having a history for a proof makes it easy to talk. `'mikka 21:12, 11 January 2007 (UTC)


I'm rather wary of the suggestion that violatory pages be mass MfD as if this is misapplied, it could cause tremendous (perfectly innocent) disruption. Would it be worth suggesting that "if the page is particularly long established or used by the community" you ask (VP, AN, or someplace simliar) what peoples opinions are? I'm not suggesting VP/ANI become the new MfD, but that if someone suggests deleting something and the response comes back unanimously negative, a very disruptive scene could be avoided. 05:10, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't see how that would make a difference; you'd simply be proposing a deletion on an unrelated discussion page instead of using the normal deletion process. —{admin} Pathoschild 00:12, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Not if you don't say "Let's hold an MFD on ANI" (Bad pharaphrase), but something like "I suspect all [...] don't do any good and want to delete them all, does anyone here actually use them or find them useful?" and if you get a flood of "Yes usefull keep" its probably likely the MfD would go the same way, with a little more annoyance as a result of having that hideous green banner splashed on a ton of pages. 14:43, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Disagree with this proposal[edit]

You can't just put your head in the sand and say that vandalism doesn't happen. If this ridiculous proposal becomes policy, then we had better get rid of the counter-vandalism unit, all vandalism pages (like Wikipedia:Vandalism) and WP:AN/I, as they all recognise that vandalism occurs. I definitely oppose this policy, and particularly dislike the fact that it is already being bandied about as a policy when it is not one. - Ta bu shi da yu 10:17, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I kinda lost interest in it. I realized that after we deleted the Willy on Wheels and other vandal hall of fame pages that its main purpose had already been fulfilled. We don't need special pages to tell us that page-move vandals should be blocked pretty much on sight, but for less than the most obvious vandals it's useful to have a small amount of info on them. Grandmasterka 12:22, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I think the idea was to not recognize vandalism more than what was needed to deal with it at the time. Personally, I think the obvious solution is to organize anti-vandalism efforts off-wiki, for many reasons, and some already do this. I'd have to admit, most of my fears about "misuse" of this guideline have been unfounded. -- Ned Scott 14:10, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
  • The fact is that we have deleted a lot of unhelpful stuff for the reasons of the principles espoused here. Sure, we mustn't delete anything that has a benefit to the encyclopedia - and perhaps some of the ovezelousness att he start has taught us that. I'd not argue that this should be policy/guideline, but that, in fact, (regardless of how you tag it) it IS policy/guideline. Sure, many people here, on this page, have concerns (some legitimate). Others have opposed it outright. Perhaps we can't generate a consensus here to tag this as policy. I don't actually care. However countless times MfD DRV etc. have in fact accepted the arguments and deleted stuff. So, that's very generally Wikipedia practice, and if it remains so we can maybe write up the policy at a future date when it is less contentious (or again, maybe not). But policy is as we do, not as we 'legislate'. Actually, no one wants a blanket policy here. No one is suggesting we speedy anything. There's always going to be borderline stuff that we'll want to debate. And vandal fighters will have some things they genuinely need to keep. So we'll need to take each item on a case-by-case basis. If we accept this as a 'policy' it wouldn't compel people to vote 'delete' in a debate - so if we reject it, it doesn't stop deletion consensus forming either. At some point maybe I'll write up an essay (unless someone beats me) recording the case (and the counter case, if you like), but for now it matters little what tag we put on this case. "Contentious, and perhaps (?) without consensus, in principle - often accepted and implemented in reality - lots of room for discussion at the edges". --Docg 23:16, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
    Until someone actually produces evidence that these pages result in more vandalism than they help revert, I'd prefer to leave that determination up to the people who actually use them. That it is often cited as policy does not make it so; this is an is-ought gap. --causa sui talk 23:36, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
    Ah, just what I love about Wikipedia. There is a cabal (I've met them), and there are so-called "policies and procedures" which are not followed, then there are policies and procedures that aren't actually written down but nevertheless, need to be followed. What a wonderful place this has turned out to be! As for transparency, well, heck, that's already shot and unless you are part of the inner sanctum (i.e. you are in the core group of people in the UK and the US), then you might as well not attempt to do anything on Wiki. Welcome to the world of "consensus" that isn't consensus, and the free encyclopedia that is anything but free. Sheesh. - Ta bu shi da yu 12:02, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
    • Well, that's the point. There isn't any logical way of producing hard evidence, nor could there be. Although we do know that vandals were interacting with some of the pages that we've now deleted. I caught one vandal tagging his own socks, checkusers have caught others. I think we've reached the balance point, where we keep those things that the vandal fighters indicate they are actually using, and we've got rid of most of the rest. That balance takes the heat out of the argument. As to people citing this, that's less significant than the fact that we've reached dozens of deletion consensus on the strength of related arguments. We have a defacto consensus that is operating, which rather renders debating the wikilaw moot. (So, I'll discontinue....)--Docg 00:12, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

It seems that this essay/proposal/whatever has been brought to my attention a bit late in its existence, but alas I'll lend my 2 cents: provided I am reading this properly, it seems that this would advise against enumeration of all of a vandal's edits (1 warning per each vandal edit). Provided this is indeed feasible to accomplish, I favor doing this as it provides an indication of exactly how prolific a vandal is; rather than perusing their history which (may) include seemingly normal edits -- perhaps legitimately useful or perhaps a series of minor edits intended to clutter their history of vandalism. This essay appears to be concerned that enumeration of vandal warnings will only encourage them, but on the other hand I believe it would assist with enforcement and ultimately blocking the offenders. I'm a bit tired at the moment, so hopefully this statement was at least half-coherent... just let me know if anyone would like further elaboration. Sláinte! --Bossi (talk ;; contribs) 03:28, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

That is only accurate to a certain degree. Although some warnings are not useful and can be deleted (such as on user pages of indefinitely blocked non-sockpuppet users), most warnings are genuinely useful in countering vandalism and are kept. The essay addresses this common objection: "Some material is still going to be valuable in dealing with vandalism, so this isn't about pretending vandalism doesn't exist. Information on vandalism should be critically appraised for its genuine value, and if that value outweighs any detriment from the publicity of that vandal/vandalism." —{admin} Pathoschild 05:24:50, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

This page is not meant to stop all anti-vandal efforts, but merely to notify that too much effort can have the opposite effect, and although slippery slopes are possible, it is still an insignificant reason to take action against this page. (talk) 07:06, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

An essay...[edit]

... if this is an essay, why does it direct editors to do stuff?

Userpages for indefinitely blocked users (except sockpuppets and banned users) that have no practical purpose can be put on WP:MFD or WP:PRODed after a short while

Surely this is not what an essay is here for? - Ta bu shi da yu 00:35, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Lots of essays commend cources of action (see Wikipedia:No climbing the Reichstag dressed as Spider-Man). Anyway, saying 'can be done' isn't directing that anyone has to do it. If you disagree with the essay, then you probably won't do it.--Docg 01:00, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Sadly, the whole point of this debate is that this isn't a "if you don't agree with x then don't do it." This is not a dispute over a victimless crime; deleting these pages wholesale (as was being done when this was first a proposed policy, and some useful pages remain deleted still) causes real damage to the cause of vandal fighters and consequently to the project. It's not a situation where we can just stand by and do nothing. --causa sui talk 01:13, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps. But surely the solution is to say "definitely don't delete anything which has a utility". All but the most obvious deletions should go to MfD - and there we can try to ascertain what is useful. I for one will vote to keep anything if someone can make an actual case why it is useful. If something has been deleted that is really hampering us in dealing with vandals do tell, we should get it undeleted quickly. --Docg 01:35, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I have nothing new to add to what I've already said to you about the usefulness about these pages, so I'm pessimistic about the utility of explaining it again. --causa sui talk 18:00, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, well I think the whole thing is just a matter of us all using common sense. There's really not a lot more to it.--Docg 18:03, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
A lot of people oppose this concept. Perhaps this is not necessarily a clear case of "common sense"? Many people (myself included) find it counter to common sense? - Ta bu shi da yu 10:05, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
  • This page could probably be improved by adding examples of when it is and is not appropriate to delete vandal-related pages. >Radiant< 16:47, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
As the comprehensiveness of a vandal's MO within a single, stereotypical edit of theirs increases, the potential usefulness of pages on them decreases? 20:00, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Sounds reasonable. You are welcome to edit this page, of course. >Radiant< 12:55, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Sigh. That's not what it was tagged as when I first saw it. - Ta bu shi da yu 23:42, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Proof this is a de facto plociy disguised as an essay.-- 05:41, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
All that shows is that a very early draft was tagged as a proposed 'policy, guideline, or process' eleven months ago. If you read the second box, you'll note that it was also tagged as "Project DenyRecognition" which sought to "gain wide approval for the deletion of unneeded categories and user pages which serve to recognize and/or glorify negative contributors". This was eventually changed into an essay instead. That's hardly proof that it is a 'de factor policy'. —{admin} Pathoschild 07:08:49, 25 February 2007 (UTC)


Surprisingly, Google results on Wikipedia for the previously most notable vandal have dropped 95% from 23,900 to just 1,150 (based on numbers archived in a revision dated 27 March 2006). That's not a perfect indication of glorification, of course, but I'd say we're off to a good start. I've personally noticed a dramatic decrease in page move vandalism based on that meme, but I may only be seeing what I want to see; some confirmation would be nice. :) —{admin} Pathoschild 18:14:28, 01 April 2007 (UTC)

This should be deleted[edit]

Although essays like this are not policy, many people act on them without thinking. It is NEVER right to cover up anything that happens, no matter how distasteful it might seem or what other people might do. --Afed 13:55, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Please be more specific. Which 'cover up' are you referring to? Are you suggesting the deletion of this essay alone, or of all essays? It seems to me that most people act on essays because they do think about it and agree, not because they blindly accept any page in the Wikipedia namespace. —{admin} Pathoschild 22:28:22, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Not sure what you mean here. All wikipedia policy requires thinking about for application, as do all guidelines. It isn't the fault of the text if people are silly about things. This isn't about covering anything up, we have vandalism we have pages which talk about vandalism how to deal with it, the common types of vandalism etc. This is at least in part about remembering the goal of wikipedia, to write a free NPOV encyclopedia, not a rogues gallery, not a place to gain "fame" by misdeeds etc. --pgk 19:53, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I think the point to be made is people (especially at WP:ANI) continually cite WP:DENY, when it is merely an essay and not a policy and should have no baring on how they handle something. When used it is generally used to 'cover up' things rather than have them delt with the correct way. Having said that deletion has nothing to do with this. Afed should repsond to the people citing WP:DENY and point out that it is not a policy and that until it is, deny should be ignored, especially when it is going to cover something up.--Dacium 03:07, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
wikipedia is not a bureacracy, the vast majority of activity on wikipedia has no formally written policy, there is no policy that says "catalogue every vandal in intricate detail", there is no policy which says "maintain a subjective defcon system" etc. Perhaps I should start jumping on anyone doing something not explicitly mandated by policy? Essays cover a broad area including ideas on how to deal with certain situations citing an essay is pointing to the rationale rather than expand on if full hand every time. We aren't automatons wikipedia can't be written and maintained by a simple bot following a set of rules ("policy"). --pgk 18:31, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree it should be deleted, as it has the potential to escalate the animosity, rather than curb it. Also, to Pgk, Wikipedia policy says it's not a bureaucracy, but there are bureaucrats. Has everyone lost their mind. I guess this essay is to hide the fact (deny) that there is no bureaucracy and Cabals. ~Jeeny (talk) 21:45, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Agree with this essay but...[edit]

What about the most notable and prolific vandal of them all. Steven Colbert. He didn't do it directly, but he encouraged millions of viewers to do so. He has a entire template dedicated to him, also, he's also relished about it all over TV show. I think we should treat him, or any other vandal inspired by him the same treatment we give to other vandals.-RiseRobotRise 17:05, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes, any vandalism he caused should be given the same treatment. Steven Colbert himself, however, is presumably encyclopedic for other reasons. —{admin} Pathoschild 22:05:22, 04 August 2007 (UTC)
Vandals are blocked from editing. I don't think blocking Colbert would do anything... (talk) 06:53, 30 January 2011 (UTC)


It has been proposed that WP:RBI be merged into this article.--Mightyms 05:23, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

No It is likely that User:Cyde created RBI to deal with a similar, but different, issue. If RBI is moved, then, of course, several sentences will have to be deleted/changed. Anyone who moves or merges anything could potentially accidentally weaken critical points. So I would just let RBI and DN stand on their own. --Gp75motorsports REV LIMITER 21:26, 8 January 2008 (UTC)


Can a user get blocked for feeding the trolls? I just wanna know. TobytheTramEngine 07:29, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

No. Probably because some editors like to bait trolls to gain data on their editing patterns. I personally think that a good look at the user's contribs log would be good enough, but to each his own, I guess. --Gp75motorsports REV LIMITER 21:32, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I hope your not implying you feed trolls. (talk) 06:49, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Double Negatives[edit]

It says "Do not feed the trolls" under "How not to respond to vandalism". Doesn't that mean it is suggested that people feed the trolls (because of the double negative)? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:03, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

You are supposed to respond to vandals by feeding trolls. They are not the same thing. Feeding trolls will bring attention to the trolls and encourage the vandals to troll instead of vandalize, getting rid of the vandalism problem. The troll problem can be further nullified by feeding the vandals. (talk) 06:48, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Did you mean to say "You are supposed to respond to vandals by feeding them to the trolls"? Then, by running this process in the other direction as well and applying a little force, the trolls and vandals would all eventually be rolled into one quickly diminishing ball of crud, as with Oscar's resolution of the Igli problem.--Hjal (talk) 05:46, 31 January 2011 (UTC)


"and editors are not obliged to follow it."

Really? In my past experience dealing with adherents of DENY, I'd say that editors are obliged to follow it. Would someone care to explain this to me? I've asked in the past, but I'd prefer an answer this time around that's different than a catch-22 'it's only an essay ;-)'-type.

Perhaps a special template needs to be made for this that states that it is an indeed an essay, yet one that is treated like a policy? As I've said before, I have no issue with the fundamental idea behind DENY; my issue is with how it's been 'implemented' as an essay. One (talk) 15:38, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

I think that's a faily broad question not merely applicable to WP:DENY but many other essays. There are probably more areas of wikipedia life which aren't covered by policy than not, some have essays giving outline views, some have apparent defacto unwritten "policy" etc. WP:DENY is perhaps an interesting concept, personally I can never understand how anyone can object to it's basic message, "don't encourage vandalism by giving undue attention" it seems a no-brainer, does anyone support the natural opposite of that, "It's a good idea to encourage vandalism by giving undue attention"? The rub generally seems to be over just what "undue attention" actually is. That's why I guess you'll see much support for this in certain situations where it seems pretty clear cut that the attention given is indeed counterproductive, in such situations I guess for many participants it is indeed a natural "policy". In other situations where some will be using a WP:DENY based argument others will see the line in a different place and find it wholly inapplicable. I personally doubt it would ever be suitable as a policy for that very reason, it has a huge subjective element to it. -- (talk) 22:25, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

If I were you[edit]

and I wanted to make it clear that I wasn't talking to a very limited number of people, I would throw out what you wrote about "memes" and all the other technical terms, and reduce this to human language. --VKokielov (talk) 04:08, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

More than vandalism[edit]

Trolling constitutes more than simple vandalism; often in my experience "trolling" can refer to asking questions with the intent to simply "spin" someone or make them look stupid when they attempt to give a serious answer to a trollish question. Other disruptive behavior also falls under the broad heading "trolling", and I think it wise to update this essay to reflect that there are also other types of trolling that shouldn't be fed either. Thoughts? /Blaxthos ( t / c ) 03:46, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Renewing this thread, requesting additional editors' thoughts. //Blaxthos ( t / c ) 23:37, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
I think Wikipedia:Don't feed the trolls is what you are looking for. --causa sui talk 23:47, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia actually provides very little guidance regarding what "trolling" is, and what it means to "feed" a troll. This lack of documentation frustrated me recently when I experienced a sharp disagreement with another editor over whether he or I was "feeding" a "troll" with our reactions. If we actually wrote something down addressing those questions, it would be very helpful, I think. -GTBacchus(talk) 03:35, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
If it doesn't make sense, then don't worry about it. It's not a big deal. --causa sui talk 05:39, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Sometimes it's a big deal. Some of the worst drama-storms I've seen on Wikipedia revolved around someone's decision that someone else was "trolling". We define "vandalism" quite clearly, and we have clear guidelines for how to deal with it. The same is true of tendentious editing. However, when it comes to trolling, there's no guidance, only personal folk-theories. Interesting state of affairs. -GTBacchus(talk) 06:12, 31 May 2009 (UTC)


According to this page, WP:DFTT is a shortcut to this page - but it actually redirects to a WikiMedia page.

I'd fix it - but I don't know whether to fix the redirect or remove the shortcut indicator.

-- Steve.
I've removed the shortcut indicator - the redirect was changed briefly by one editor who has now selfreverted. Hut 8.5 19:00, 20 August 2008 (UTC)


Hi. I notice that this page is illustrated by File:DoNotFeedTroll.svg, with the caption "never feed the trolls". Other than that, there is no mention on this page of trolling, except for a link to m:What is a troll?.

On that page, we find three references to feeding. One is a section called "Not feeding the trolls", but that section doesn't say what it actually means, and it refers back to this page as the "main article" on the topic. The second reference to feeding trolls is in a section recommending slow reverts. The third one also pertains to the "slow revert" advice.

I think we have a fairly good working definition of what a "troll" is. A troll is someone who wishes to provoke reactions, rather than to improve the encyclopedia. However, nowhere can I find a discussion of what it means to "feed" one. I have received contradictory advice from different editors as to what constitutes feeding. Some say that fast reverting, identifying them as a troll, and blocking them is the way not to feed. Others say that is a way to feed. Some say that we have to identify them in order to stop them. Others disagree, and say that calling them a troll is a form of feeding. Still others assent that it is a form of feeding, but ask what else we can do. And so on, and so on...

I know that this community has always struggled with the issue of trolling, and there have been at least two proposals attempting to address the question in some policy or guideline. None has succeeded, that I can easily find.

So... what's the best strategy for minimizing disruption? As long as we've been doing this, we must have an ample store of empirical evidence, right? Is this even a question we should be thinking about? -GTBacchus(talk) 20:20, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Or, in a lot fewer words, what behaviors of ours help trolls to create disruption, and what can we do to minimize the disruption that trolls may create? Is this a question we can answer empirically, rather than relying on folk knowledge, anecdote and hearsay? -GTBacchus(talk) 18:39, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
The logic, as I understand it, is that trolling behavior is an attempt to provoke a reaction, hopefully emotional. The idea behind this essay is that long-term abuse pages are evidence to vandals that they are having an effect and generating a response. Revert-block-ignore is advanced as an alternative to recordkeeping because it denies the vandals the drama and excitement of being engaged in a "war" or "battle" if we simply undo their vandalism and ignore them. Though I think the application of that doctrine in the summary deletion of a great many very useful anti-vandalism pages was excessive to put it very mildly, I think we ought to understand the plausibility of the "Deny recognition" objection when we document vandalism. --causa sui talk 23:13, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the justification for creating the "Deny recognition" page in the first made a lot of sense, and I support that whole-heartedly. What I'm asking is, what has that got to do with "not feeding trolls"? We all know that creating pages documenting every piece of trolling feeds trolls. What else does?

I'm aware of situations where people try to apply "revert-block-ignore", but it doesn't work. If nobody with the blocking buttons in on hand, it turns into "revert-pretend-to-ignore", which actually involves giving the troll the fight they want (in the form of reversions), and the emotional reaction they're looking for, because the reverters go ahead and use angry and judgemental words.

I agree that publicly documenting vandalism is foolish. My question is this: This page is supposed to tell us about not feeding trolls. It doesn't. What does it mean to feed a troll, and what does it mean to not feed one? I'm asking for something beyond the obvious "don't create a shrine to their trolling". What if they're not obvious enough to block? What do we do? What should we not do? I want more. -GTBacchus(talk) 23:58, 4 May 2009 (UTC)


Ok, first of all, I'm not doing this to be a troll or glorify vandalism, but simply as a thought experiment.

If the guidelines for internet memes and other things are notability, shouldn't well known vandals (i.e. Willy on Wheels) technically have wikipedia pages? There are pages for Lolcat and other silly things that have happened on the internet that really have no important impact on society, but obviously are notable enough that we have pages for them. To me, it seems contrary to the nature of an encyclopedia, which should describe what is not what we wish was, that certain notable vandals don't have pages. Yes, we shouldn't encourage repeated vandalism, but no one can deny the impact that Willy on Wheels had on wikipedia and the internet community at large.

Clarinet Hawk (talk) 19:23, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

As it stands now, our policies mandate verifiability in "multiple, independent reliable sources"; other content is subject to deletion. While some internet memes may be so significant as to warrant publication in other sources, most trolls and vandals are of little concern to this project. There have been some notable cases that warrant an encyclopedic treatment (like that guy who got hired by the Wikimedia foundation by pretending to have a bunch of degrees), but it's my belief most articles "about" vandals will be quickly deleted (as failing all of our core policies). In any case, having such an article would be in complete opposition to the point made by this policy -- in essence, there is no such thing as a "notable vandal". //Blaxthos ( t / c ) 21:13, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree the 99% of vandals don't meet the notability threshold; my question is what happens for the few that do. Oh, and your last point is circular logic. I am arguing that the essay which you linked to as a policy fails in this instance. Even if it was a policy, it's still isn't an answer as I am questioning the validity of the policy, not if it exists. Clarinet Hawk (talk) 22:54, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Move article for clarification?[edit]

Perhaps "Deny recognition to vandals" or "Deny vandals recognition"? Otherwise it's a bit vague.--Tyranny Sue (talk) 13:35, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

MfD for Wikipedia:Long-term abuse[edit]

Please consider commenting at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Long-term abuse in light of your views on this essay. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 17:11, 28 April 2010 (UTC)


Well, I think it is brilliant! Really! Vandalism was a lot worse in the bad old days. Once we learned to rv even obscenities with the words, "your test has been reverted. Please use the sandbox further tests" it took all the fun out of it! I've even learned to ignore first time offenders who have only edited once. They don't seem to repeat. Incredible! I never would have guessed! Student7 (talk) 00:09, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

Using WP:DENY in the edit summary[edit]

WP:DENY in the edit summary is exceptional notice.

Please simply use rollback. --Kleopatra (talk) 15:08, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Trolling and vandalism[edit]

WP:DNFTT links here, but the intro is all about vandals as opposed to trolls. DENY can really work as a solution to trolling, and the intro should reflect wider application than only vandalism. Our anti-troll illustration somewhat jars with the vandal-focused intro. I'd tweak it accordingly if I get a few voices of support here. Secondly, I'm also inclined to add the term "feeder" for an editor who hurts Wikipedia by feeding trolls by warring or arguing too much on talk pages. Feeders can be as bad as trolls themselves, IMHO. -Chumchum7 (talk) 11:03, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Here's my proposed intro:

"Motivations for trolling, disruptive editing and vandalism range from a desire for recognition and infamy,[1][2] to an aspiration to frustrate the Wikipedia project and community. Such behaviour is encouraged by feeding it with exceptional notice. This is particularly true for prolific trolls and vandals, who were (prior to this essay) immortalised by Wikipedia pages, meticulously catalogued by category pages, dedicated specific templates, and who thereby become a notable part of wiki culture."

Thanks, -Chumchum7 (talk) 09:49, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Denying recognition defeats its purpose[edit]

The reason we want to deny vandals' recognition is to reduce vandalism. The reason we want vandalism reduced is to make Wikipedia a better site. The reason admins want to make Wikipedia a better site is because using Wikipedia would be a more reliable way to have fun. The only thing admins are meant to do on Wikipedia is to argue with vandals (it makes you feel superior if you try). All admins enjoy arguing with vandals because potential admins who do not enjoy it never become admins. To deny vandals' recognition, no one can argue with them. Therefore this strategy defeats its own purpose. If your confused from reading this, worry don't, I am as well so. (talk) 06:41, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

DNFTT shortcut[edit]

LiteralKa has changed several redirects/shortcuts with the effect that WP:DNFTT was a soft redirect to m:What is a troll?. I have reverted those changes and invite discussion on the issue because it has arisen in the past.

Yes, "trolling" is technically different from sincere POV pushing and vandalism and other forms of tendentious behavior. That difference is not relevant to the traditional WP:DNFTT link which goes directly to a page (this essay) that presents clear advice that, whatever the nature of the particular type of bad behavior, it is best to deny recognition. There is wide consensus that the best way to respond to dumb vandalism is WP:RBI: revert the vandalism with a neutral edit summary ("rvv" is best because it is always the same and presents no excitement to a vandal), block the vandal (if egregious), and ignore (do not have a long discussion because that will only tell the vandal (and other vandals) that they have hit a goldmine—a few seconds of vandalism results in two hours discussion between several editors who, by their attention, demonstrate the power and importance of the vandal.

So, while vandalism and egregious POV pushing and other tendentious behavior do not comply with a dictionary definiton of "trolling", as far as editors are concerned, there is no difference. We don't study the motivations of problem editors and use different labels according to the inner workings of that editor—to us, repeatedly laboring any point (whether by talk page commentary or article vandalism) is trolling which must not be fed.

Other reasons why WP:DNFTT should redirect to WP:Deny recognition:

  • The shortcut has existed for a long time and has been used in many places. It should not be changed without widely discussed consensus.
  • The proposed soft redirect is totally unhelpful for the WP:DNFTT usage employed by editors.
  • When it finally gets down to business, the target of the proposed soft redirect links to this essay. See m:What is a troll?#Not feeding the trolls which links to WP:DENY as the "Main article". That is, the page at meta acknowledges this essay as the procedure to be followed.

Sorry about the TL;DR, but I get a bit excited about this issue because DNFTT is our best defense. Johnuniq (talk) 03:13, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

The page literally does not mention trolls anywhere (sans the 'see also' links), I felt that it was okay to do this. Keeping it like it was before did nothing but promote the myth that vandalism and trolling are one and the same. LiteralKa (talk) 03:46, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
So we're supposed to recognize trolls? I think the better modification would be to make it clear that WP:DENY applies to trolls as well as run-of-the-mill vandals. VernoWhitney (talk) 00:53, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Where did I say that? The redirects and the image promote the myth that vandals are somehow trolls, or vice versa. LiteralKa (talk) 22:55, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Johnuniq and VernoWhitney. Don't revert that again. Prodego talk 00:11, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
How about this: somebody writes a little bit on the differences of feeding vandals vs feeding trolls and sticks it in a subsection. We redirect to that. Distinction is made, and the page is better off as a result. LiteralKa (talk) 00:11, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
A better idea would be to absorb the purpose of the page by reading the comments posted in this section. This is not an encyclopedic article where we are trying to educate people about what "troll" means. Johnuniq (talk) 02:30, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Right, it's an essay saying that you shouldn't give vandals too much attention. LiteralKa (talk) 04:05, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
As the same approach is useful and recommended for trolls, why are you opposed to their inclusion here as one of the main focuses of the page? VernoWhitney (talk) 14:43, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
The page was created to respond to concerns about "vandal halls of fame". No trolls there. LiteralKa (talk) 15:52, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I'll take your word for why it was created, but what about its current uses/usefelness? VernoWhitney (talk) 16:04, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Related locations[edit]

The above locations are those related to DNFTT (if I have missed any, please add them). Johnuniq (talk) 23:15, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Deny automated recognition[edit]

Anyone got any thoughts on my user essay User:Yaris678/Deny automated recognition?

It applies the arguments of this essay to the specific case of anti-vandalism tools such as ClueBot NG and STiki.

Yaris678 (talk) 21:33, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

I'm not in the mood for careful reading, but a quick skim makes me think your essay looks good. However, I don't think you address a fundamental problem: if a user is not given warnings, it would be hard to actually block the user with current procedures. While an admin could check the proposed database to confirm the user has passed some threshold of vandalism, some believe that blocking with no escalating warnings is not appropriate.
For pure vandalism, reverting is best, with its calm and simple edit summary. When nonsense has been added by a couple of users, an undo with "rvv" as the edit summary is best for deny recognition. I do not like the pretentious edit summaries used by some of the semi-automated processes that are the opposite of deny recognition.
I use {{uw-test1}} for most of my vandalism warnings for a couple of reasons: it suggests that the user's careful vandalism which they hoped would provoke some uproar was merely a "test" (so denying recognition), and it has an automated feeling to it: when nonsense is added it gets removed by a dispassionate process. Also, if I make a stuffup and fail to understand what was done on a page, less biting occurs if uw-test is used instead of uw-vandalism. Johnuniq (talk) 01:23, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
Glad you like the essay.
In terms of warnings... the essay doesn't say that these shouldn't be given. The brief recommendations on whether to warn, says "if a registered user is found to have vandalised, a polite request to be more constructive should be made." It is a bit more vague on the subject of IP addresses, mostly because I don't really know. You always have the problem that it might be someone else who reads the message. Maybe it should say something like "if an IP address is close to being blocked then a polite message should be given that does not blame its reader but merely notes that unproductive edits have been noted from that IP address and that alternative ways to do test edits exist."
I agree on both the word test and edit summaries. The essay has some recommendations on edit summaries. These aren't exactly what you say you do but they follow the same philosophy of not making a fuss. Any thoughts on these?
Yaris678 (talk) 11:46, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Re your essay: I am responding here as my thoughts apply also to this page.
Re the recommendation to not warn IP users: There is no hard evidence, but my feeling (from warnings I have given) suggests that a friendly warning to an IP who has no or few previous edits can often be successful in that the IP does not engage in further vandalism. I have no idea whether this is true in the medium/long term, but I have checked a few cases after a few days, and have been astonished that a mild warning (often {{uw-test1}}) was sufficient to stop an IP who had made a couple of bad edits. My guess is that the warning shows them that someone cares, and that they are being watched, and that can be effective. When I go to an IP talk page and see a long list of warnings, I quickly move on (i.e. I very rarely bother adding another warning to such a page). My reasoning is that if finer minds than mine can see a benefit in allowing such IPs continued open access, who am I to disagree? Another warning is just pointless, and I do not want to waste my time (while also looking stupid) by leaving a warning that will have zero or little benefit.
I'm not sure I see a benefit to the idea of maintaining a vandalism database. What I would like would be for the community to rise up and tell WP:WMF that it is time for them to spend some of the donated money on serious anti-vandalism tools, starting with a full-time staffer who has the job of reporting long-term problem users to their ISP. The community seems to enjoy the ongoing crapwar of vandalism fighting, and hates the idea of long blocks of IPs used by major ISPs, but it is time for a more serious response.
Re edit summaries: Yes, I agree. Mentioning "vandalism" or other exciting terms in an edit summary can only be unhelpful in that it glorifies the perpetrator who would regard such attention as a reward for a day well spent. Using just "rvv" in a hand-crafted edit summary is best (when rollback might not be appropriate, e.g. if there is more than one editor to be reverted). Johnuniq (talk) 08:33, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
Re warnings: It is difficult to know, isn't it? Maybe the IP wouldn't have continued to vandalise anyway. Maybe the vandal has just started using a different IP address. If you look at my contributions you will see lots of examples of vandalism I have reverted using STiki on the 8th of May, without giving warnings. In the most recent case (African Golden-weaver) the IP repeated the offence. In most of the other cases, no further vandalism came from the IP address. It might be worth doing some kind of study where we randomly warn half of IPs and not the other half (that wouldn't eliminate the first possibility, but it might quantify the first).
Re vandalism database: You say you are not sure if you can see the benefit. Is this because you think we don't need to record the vandalism that takes place? Because you think such recording should happen in public? Because you think it would be a lot of effort?
Yaris678 (talk) 10:55, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
Properly implementing any form of database would be quite a major development. I would prefer that resources be focused in other ways, mainly the staffer I mentioned above, but perhaps a case for the database would need to be made more forcefully. You are probably aware that once you are happy with a proposal, you could present it at WP:VPR. Johnuniq (talk) 07:09, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Re vandalism database: This would obviously require some effort. I don't think it would be a ridiculous amount but I can't really comment any further because I've never done anything like it myself. That said, I am coming to the conclusion that the contribution analysis option is the best. I have been having some thoughts on how to do that and may write it up as a separate user essay. I am imagining a STiki-like interface.
Re proposing at WP:VPR: I did actually mention it there in passing yesterday. However, I don't really want to propose it yet - I don't really know what I am proposing. I am fairly confident about the problem I have identified but not about the solution. I rewrote some of the recommendations yesterday, and am a little more sure... but am still open to suggestion. Perhaps when I firm-up my ideas for contribution analysis I will propose that.
Yaris678 (talk) 09:14, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

Trolling vs Vandalism[edit]

From m:What is a troll?: "Trolling is not necessarily the same as vandalism (although vandalism may be used to troll). A vandal may just enjoy defacing a webpage, insulting random users, or spreading some personal views in an inappropriate way. A troll deliberately exploits tendencies of human nature or of an online community to upset people."

Some say that trolling and vandalism are one and the same. Under the "See Also" section, many of the links say the exact opposite of that. Many actually go into detail as to why they are not one and the same.

As for Johnuniq saying that "DNFTT is our best defense", it really isn't. He is exaggerating the importance of an essay that, frankly, many interpret to mean "don't feed the trolls" and that "trolling is vandalism". That's not what the essay is about, the first footnote (the one about the "Pelican Shit" vandal) says exactly what this page is about: not giving undue attention to vandals (who, by the way, aren't trolls.) LiteralKa (talk) 00:07, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

Nothing in this essay says "trolling and vandalism are one and the same" (obviously they are not). Further, this page is not an article explaining the meanings of "vandalism" and "trolling", and there is no reason to damage a useful and widely accepted essay due to some concern that we might mislead readers about what a troll really is. As far as editors are concerned, persistent disruptive behavior (sincere POV pushing, vandalism, genuine trolling, or anything unhelpful) is best handled by the "do not feed the trolls" procedure. For example, I have seen polite but persistent creationists debate issues concerned with evolution on article talk pages—after a while, other editors who prolong the debate need to be pointed to this essay to let them know that continuing the discussion is not a useful way to dissuade a POV pusher. No editor has been sanctioned for being a troll—editors are sanctioned for persistent disruption, and we don't care about their motivation (who cares if they really are a troll?).
Your recent edit inserted a very unhelpful image in the lead with caption "A vandal at work". The image is unhelpful for at least three reasons: it glorifies vandalism (we do not portray vandalism as "work", nor feature it in any way); it offers no benefit to the reader (the purpose of this essay is to quickly provide procedural advice); it is not at all clear that the drawing is vandalism, and to suggest that inserting "poop" into articles is somehow equivalent to creating some pretty good artwork is the wrong approach. Johnuniq (talk) 02:03, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't say that trolling and vandalism are one and the same, but it addresses them as such. The essay does not mention trolling aside from the intro sentence and an image caption. Without sufficient context, the image there is frankly just a random afterthought.
And you're thinking about the image too deeply: a black and white photograph of a soldier drawing titties on a tunnel wall isn't "glorifying vandalism," it is far from it. LiteralKa (talk) 11:40, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

DENY and Article notability[edit]

I think it needs to be specifically pointed out in this essay that WP:DENY cannot be used in an AfD discussion in relation to the article itself. I've seen so many times where an article was created by someone who was later blocked as a sockpuppet or was an outright sockpuppet itself and the article was put up for deletion under the ruling of DENY, even when the subject was notable. This essay shouldn't be used as a method of deleting articles when we should be looking at article subjects for their notability and not deleting them for anything beyond that. Doing otherwise is betraying the purpose of an encyclopedia. Considering the amount of times i've seen this argument used at AfD, it seems that it has to be pointed out that this essay is only in relation to users and their edits, but not to (mainspace) articles created by them. SilverserenC 04:59, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Do you have an example handy? It seems like quite a wacky misinterpretation, but if it's being made commonly, then it's evidence that another essay (reflecting that point of view) ought to be created so they can cite that instead. causa sui (talk) 18:31, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
I can cite numerous examples. Here are two: [1] [2]. #2 is particularly disturbing because it's a clear attempt at grasping from straws. This is the kind of thing that this encourages. LiteralKa (talk) 05:47, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
The original reason I created this section was for the use of DENY in this AfD. Some other, older ones include this (2008), this (2009), this (2007), this (2011), and this (2007). There's more, but that's just a few examples. A lot of the uses have to do with articles on internet based things, but not all of them, like my original link and the 2011 one. Either way, WP:DENY should never be considered a valid argument in terms of keeping or deleting an article. Deny a vandal and others as much as you want, but you should be deciding on articles based on their notability. A lot of the time, there's this knee-jerk reaction that, since the article was created by a banned user or a sockpuppet, it must be deleted, even when it's on a legitimate subject. Now, I don't care about the actual outcomes of the AfDs I quoted above, i'm just talking about the principle of the thing. We decide on our article subjects based on notability and verifiability, we do not decide them based on who we don't want to cover because we dislike them as a community. That's largely what happened with the GNAA that LiteralKa linked to above. There was a large community dislike for the organization because of their trolling, so much so that a number of people were holding it to a much higher standard of notability than we would for any other subject. SilverserenC 08:13, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Can someone else please respond to this section? SilverserenC 00:08, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
What you're saying makes sense. Articles should be AFDd on the basis of their notability. I can't comment on the GNAA ones, but the others are good examples. That said, how do you intend to stop editors from referring to DENY in discussions? The Cavalry (Message me) 00:26, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
By having it pointed out in this essay that it should not be used as an argument for deletion in an AfD or DRV discussion, that notability and verifiability are what determine whether articles should be kept and that is all. That way, even if people try to misuse this essay that way, it can be rebutted with this very essay as well. SilverserenC 00:37, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
People misuse everything on Wikipedia (and beyond), and I don't think adding something here is going to help at AfD, but would be likely to create confusion for those reading DENY (perhaps a concrete suggestion would help evaluate my concern). One problem would be the fact that there are very few absolute restrictions, and it's conceivable that one day someone might find a reason why WP:DENY would be useful at an AfD. In the Lewinsky AfD, DENY was used as an attempt to argue that someone was pursuing an agenda with regard to related articles, and that editor should be reverted per WP:DENY. I have not looked at the identity of the "someone", or the merits of the argument (although it seems weak), but it is an available claim, and nothing added to this page could overrule such a claim in other AfDs. Rather than putting a "this page cannot be used to support delete" at various places, the standard procedure would be to have a guideline that spells out what can be used. Johnuniq (talk) 03:25, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
That would work too. Whatever makes it so that things that are meant to apply to users aren't used to remove or delete content in the Wiki. The issue is that an argument such as DENY pertains to the emotional when used for content, rather than the encyclopedic. SilverserenC 04:39, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

Purpose of this page[edit]

There has been some disagreement about the purpose of this page, possibly based on the fact that it makes no attempt to point out that trolling is different from vandalism. Some discussions above concerned:

I have removed the image due to its problems mentioned previously. Both vandals and trolls can be disruptive, yet there is no reason to determine the motivation of the editor concerned since such problems should be reverted with minimum fuss: vandals and trolls thrive on excitement, and WP:DENY is best in both cases. No page at Wikipedia, and particularly not this one, should portray vandalism as "work", or feature it in any way: a soldier drawing on a wall has nothing to do with the purpose of this page. Johnuniq (talk) 03:56, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Again, crude artwork of titties (which, by definition, is vandalism) on a wall is not portraying it as positive. If you want, change the word "work." LiteralKa (talk) 16:53, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
This page was created as a response to vandals with a "desire for recognition and infamy" as a result of WP:LTA. Trolls has no place in it. LiteralKa (talk) 17:17, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
I disagree. We have essay pages which state that 'all trolling is vandalism', and the policy at Wikipedia:VANDALISM states much the same thing. Having dealt with the very worst trolls and vandals, and dealing with them on a daily basis, I can say that as an arbitrator I treat 'trolling' and 'vandalism' as a technical difference only. I'm a little concerned that you're still getting involved in trolling topics, despite your being, by your own admission, a member of a trolling organisation. The Cavalry (Message me) 17:26, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Info on vandals[edit]

I am interested in the history of wikipedia. I would like to know where information on vandalism throughout time. However, I cannot find anyway to learn this info, because of essays like this. Are there any pages on this?--75* 18:50, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Research on Trolls[edit]

Not sure if this would be useful in our Wikipedia essay, but I thought I would drop it here. Why do trolls annoy you online? Because they're sadists. "Though not just sadists — researchers say online trolls also score above average in narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy." Morphh (talk) 19:07, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

WP:DENY approach seems to have support in research[edit]

"Data Mining Reveals How The “Down-Vote” Leads To A Vicious Circle Of Negative Feedback" is a 2014 study supporting (in a way) the validity of WP:DENY, stating that statistically, authors of comments which receive no feedback go away at a higher rate than authors who receive positive or negative feedback.

'So how can unwanted behaviour the stopped? “Given that users who receive no feedback post less frequently, a potentially effective strategy could be to ignore undesired behaviour and provide no feedback at all,” say Cheng and co.'

Since DENY doesn't really state this now, I'll just leave this link as food for thought and discussion. --Lexein (talk) 21:10, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

Why vandalism?[edit]

A few quotes from Wikipedia:Vandalism

Examples of typical vandalism are adding irrelevant obscenities and crude humor to a page, illegitimately blanking pages, and inserting obvious nonsense into a page.
While editors are encouraged to warn and educate vandals, warnings are by no means necessary for an administrator to block...
Upon discovery, you should revert clearly vandalizing edits...Then warn the vandalizing editor.

Vandalism by definition cannot be denied. Action must be taken. Revert, warn, block: all of these recognise vandalism. Denying recognition would mean allowing vandalized content to remain indefinitely. The people we need to deny recognition to are Internet trolls. To quote from that article:

A troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community...with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

The essay needs to be reworded so that editors who are linked to it will know how to deal with trolls, and editors who are linked to WP:VANDAL will know how to deal with vandals. Scolaire (talk) 08:22, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

The essay is fine as is. It recommends denying recognition to those who attack Wikipedia because there are a significant number of vandals who thrive on attention. Johnuniq (talk) 09:37, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
Attention-seeking behaviour per se is not defined as vandalism on Wikipedia. Vandalism means adding "I like poo" or "lkgjkgk;#pojgmlkmvmv'pg;fm", or blanking large amount of text. Sure, the people that do that may be seeking attention, but you can't fix the article by pretending they didn't do it. That is the first thing. The second is that all the redirects to "Don't feed the trolls" redirect to this article, and this article has a big "don't feed the trolls" image on it. All vandals are not trolls: most of them do not discuss their edits at all, even with an edit summary. And all trolls are not vandals: most of them add intelligible, factual content, albeit untrue or against consensus, and not with the intention of improving the encyclopaedia. By conflating the two, the essay misinforms and confuses instead of providing useful advice. Just saying "it's fine as it is" doesn't make it so. Look at the years of discussion above this. Scolaire (talk) 11:01, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
If you are referring to the posts by LiteralKa (talk · contribs), please bear in mind his role as a GNAA advocate—the good faith commentary above is actually trolling. All those experienced with handling vandals and other malcontents know that DENY (or WP:RBI) are best. Johnuniq (talk) 11:40, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
Apparently I was referring to posts by a single user. I didn't see that at the time. However, the fact that you consider him to be a troll (I think that's what you're saying) does not make him wrong. I am not concerned with the rights and wrongs of GNAA. I am an ordinary user who has in the past been linked to WP:DENY as the best way to deal with a troll, only to be told that it isn't for trolls at all, but rather for editors known as vandals, who are not the same as the editors dealt with in WP:VANDAL. If the essay is intended as a manual for "all those experienced with handling vandals and other malcontents", it should say so. If not – if it is intended for ordinary users like me – you might try directly addressing the concerns I have raised, instead of going off on tangents. Scolaire (talk) 13:25, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
This essay is a widely accepted essay on a procedure—who cares if someone is really a vandal and not a troll, or vice versa? All editors understand they should revert vandalism; this essay is saying to do that quietly—use rollback if possible, and certainly do not decorate their user page with "THIS USER IS A VANDAL!". Johnuniq (talk) 02:36, 9 September 2015 (UTC)
I'm sorry, you're saying that multiple users over a period of nine and a half years built up an essay just to say "revert vandalism, but do it quietly"? Why would you need an essay to say something as simple as that, especially when it is already in WP:RBI? That says, "Ignore the vandal by not communicating with them via their talk page, even to notify them of the block. This denies recognition to vandals that might otherwise turn them into long-term abusers." And if this is meant only for vandalism, not trolling, why does DNFTT and all the other abbreviations redirect to here (and Don't feed the trolls redirect to the Internet troll article!)? Where is the procedure for dealing with trolls? Even the (very brief) section on "Not feeding the trolls" in Meta:What is a troll says "Main article: w:Wikipedia:Deny recognition". It just doesn't make sense. Scolaire (talk) 10:38, 9 September 2015 (UTC)

For vandals WP:RBI is absolutely the best procedure (after its variant WP:BRI). DENY was originally about not building the vandals lasting memes and legacies. DENY is often used to mean denying a voice to vandals and trolls, but it is really about denying us our own urge to pay them continuing attention. I've noticed BRI has fallen out of favour when these days, it should be used more. -- zzuuzz (talk) 07:03, 9 September 2015 (UTC)