Wikipedia talk:Reference desk

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Why is the desk extended-confirm protected?

At the top of each page there is a message like this: "This page is extended-protected as a result of ArbCom enforcement or meets the criteria for community use until October 20, 2018." How can I find out whether this is from an ArbCom case or the community use case? And is there any way to make the message more specific? RudolfRed (talk) 16:59, 15 October 2018 (UTC)

If you look at the page history, the reason is that the abuse that led to the initial disruption was not stopped by semi-protection. As per policy, extended protection is allowed to stop disruption where normal semi-protection doesn't work. In this case, the same person who was hammering the ref desks with abuse (dozens of times per minute) has resorted to using auto-confirmed sleeper accounts to bypass the semiprotection. Given that, I've upped the protection to extended confirmed protection, which raises the threshold from 4 days/10 edits to 30 days/500 edits. It would be nice if it weren't required, but there's simply no way to stop it otherwise. Other admins who helped with the cleanup when it hit this morning, including Zzuuzz (talk · contribs) and Worm That Turned (talk · contribs) will confirm that a) what was posted was beyond-the-pale horrible and b) the severity of the attack necessitated the protection increase. The edits have been oversighted (it was severe enough that normal WP:REVDEL was insufficient). You can see more about this in the immediately preceding thread; its the same person discussed above. I hope that is a sufficient explanation.--Jayron32 18:12, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
FWIW, I appreciate the effort undertaken by multiple editors to remove/RevDel/oversight/protect the pages. Page histories show a number of different people involved in the various fixes - thank you all. Matt Deres (talk) 18:32, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
@Jayron32: Thanks for the explanation. RudolfRed (talk) 19:54, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
About the template, after the desks were set to ECP, I adjusted the header to show the large protection template if the page has any level of edit protection, instead of just the semi one, as no template was showing. The template itself adjusts depending on the level of protection although it's obviously primary designed for the encyclopaedia proper so the message may not entirely fit. The primary disadvantage that I can think of with the automatic template is that it means admins can't manually add details, see Template:Pp if you're unfamiliar with what can be specified. (Well they will either need to remove the automatic template, or have 2 templates.) But I'm not sure that we should be doing that per WP:DENY anyway. However feel free to adjust or remove the automatic template if others feel it's best. I have already adjusted the automatic template so that it always specifies sockpuppetry as the reason as I can't imagine another reason why the RD pages will have any level of edit protection. And yes having seen one recent example of what's being dealt with, my thanks to all who have done so. I'm not actually sure if the ECP is going to make much difference given that most people here seem to either be long term registered, or IPs (whether long term or not) although it's possible some IPs in good standing just registered to participate and will now be denied. Nil Einne (talk) 14:02, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
WP:DENY needs to be weighed against informing innocent users why the pages are protected. I tend to lean, in this case, towards the latter. --Jayron32 14:24, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
To be clear, I'm not saying we shouldn't inform users. The question is solely whether to link to a talk page discussion in the template. I.E. add the 'section' option to Template:Pp since AFAICT, this is the only option we have in it to clarify matters. Short of making a custom template or maybe there is some other protection template. IMO it's not necessary since most experienced users can find this discussion themselves or ask if there is none. I'd further note that this isn't unique to ECP anyway. The RDs have been protected almost continuously for about 10 days now. The has been no link to any talk page discussion in the template since then AFAIK. If anything, it seems to me that it's actually more important to provide the link in the template when the RDs are semi protected. Editors who are autoconfirmed but not extended confirmed are far more likely to be able to find this discussion than non autoconfirmed and any new IPs affected by semiprotection. Still as I said I don't really care. If people want to remove the automated template and let admins add them with links to talk page discussions I'm fine with that. An alternative would be to hard code the section option, but that would require people know what to call the section header for the explanation & also deal with any duplicates. We could probably also find some way to add some automated template while still allowing admins to add a section link somehow. Nil Einne (talk) 18:04, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
BTW, while I have no qualms if people want to change how we handle the template, a bigger issue is IMO that we don't have a clear way for truly uninformed editors to make edit requests. The template etc will direct them here. But they can't edit here. There are norms for unprotected talk subpages, but although I've seen the sad irony for quite a few days now of directing people here but then they can't do anything here, I haven't done anything. Mostly out of fear any target will become a new magnet for the LTA. Nil Einne (talk) 18:14, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
I feel you. The Gordian Knot we have to cut is that ANYWHERE we direct someone to, our friend will shut it down by spamming it with their disruption. If you can figure out how to simultaneously stop our disruptive troll, AND still direct IP users to an unprotected page to edit, I'll be sure to nominate you to the Nobel committee for consideration. You're choice of prizes. --Jayron32 18:28, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
Is it friend or fiend Jayron32? There is some precedence for the use of either, or both, with the name of this film :-) MarnetteD|Talk 18:44, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
I generally dislike pending changes (partially due to being lazy and never fully investigating them), but would this be a case where it would be useful? --Floquenbeam (talk) 18:41, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
Wouldn't PC still require all of the rev/del that is currently being performed? I think all the crapola would still be in the edit history and summaries. MarnetteD|Talk 18:44, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
Rats. If I understand PC right, on reflection I guess you're right. PC kind of solves the problem of added content to articles, but does nothing for edit summaries. --Floquenbeam (talk) 18:48, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
For this particular recent problem, I would recommend an edit filter that rejects anything with the targeted user's name. (Assuming they're all like the vile comments I saw earlier today before they were rev-del'd.) ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:04, 16 October 2018 (UTC)

Link to FAQs

I would like to see a link on this page to Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language/FAQs Jmar67 (talk) 13:48, 16 October 2018 (UTC)

Sorry, the link should be on Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language. Jmar67 (talk) 13:52, 16 October 2018 (UTC)

Pointless, annoying censorship

This from User:Floquenbeam. It may have been an unconventional experiment to propose, but it would have got to the topic at hand. Are people just deleting anything here they don't like now? Wnt (talk) 01:20, 18 October 2018 (UTC)

Reverted removal per WP:BRD. Floq may seek consensus here. Or, Floq may edit war. ―Mandruss  01:29, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Floq will edit war. —Floquenbeam (talk) 01:33, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Very impressive! ―Mandruss  01:35, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. —Floquenbeam (talk) 01:38, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Good removal. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:40, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Based on what PAG? ―Mandruss  01:41, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
I don't know what PAG means, but the comments about uncontacted tribes were blatantly racist. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:47, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Not only can't cite a WP:PAG, doesn't even know what it means. Too comical. It's time I finally unwatched RD so I'm not tempted to enter this particular Crazy Zone again. Enjoy. ―Mandruss  01:57, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Nothing comical about racist comments. Good riddance. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:03, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
I never saw "member of an uncontacted tribe" listed in a nondiscrimination statement. Besides, if you had bothered to read my comment before judging it, you might have realized my concern is that there is no actual positive control for a mirror test -- does it actually work for humans who haven't seen or heard of mirrors? Last but not least, I should point out that the global worldwide consensus of enlightened minds is to systematically discriminate against these people, gleefully withholding all state benefits and watching through telephoto lenses as they die from preventable diseases and taking down careful notes, Tuskegee Syphilis Study style. Am I worse than them? Only in the sense of being creative, or amused, or something. The highest of all virtues for any censor is not to think, and not to wonder why not. Wnt (talk) 02:14, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Now we get to your real agenda. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:17, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
If by that you mean emphasizing the lack of a positive control, then yes. Otherwise ... I doubt what you say has a meaning. Wnt (talk) 02:21, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Concur with the removal. Trolling by regulars is still trolling, and has no place here.--Jayron32 02:48, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
"Trolling" defined HOW? My question was Are people just deleting anything here they don't like now? and I take it your answer is a clear yes. People like you are why Bolsonaro and his ilk have taken over the world. Wnt (talk) 02:53, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Your comment indicating that uncontacted tribes are too stupid to recognize their images in a mirror is blatantly racist. And it also has nothing to do with elephants. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:08, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Good removal and it was neither pointless or annoying. The post (which was annoying) had absolutely nothing to do with the question. MarnetteD|Talk 03:12, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Bullshit. "Uncontacted tribes" aren't even a race. My suggestion was and remains that I would suspect humans, as a species, probably need more than one brush with a mirror to get the general idea. Wnt (talk) 03:21, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
How many millions of years ago did animals of any kind begin to recognize their reflections in bodies of water? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:31, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Oh I don't know, maybe it is in mirror test, or perhaps you'll look it up and enlighten us, or perhaps the oceans will boil and the continents will blow away first. I know what I'd put my money on. Wnt (talk) 04:42, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Or maybe you'll box up this section and apologize for your racist comment. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 05:17, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
I agree with the removal and would have done it myself if I hung out on RD/S, not because it was racist but because it was pointless and irrelevant. The fact that you put it in small text is a sign that you yourself recognized its irrelevance when you posted it. --Viennese Waltz 07:51, 18 October 2018 (UTC)

So if censoring whatever you don't like is the standard of conduct here, there's still one lingering question: I would guess I'm not allowed to randomly cut out people's comments, or at least, would be required to tell them when I do rather than just have them wonder what happened to their text and happen on a nasty edit summary in the history. Is it official that this is an admin-only power, in reflection that this is fundamentally their forum and they just allow (sometimes) a few of us nobodies to post here if it amuses them? I mean, it would just be intellectual completeness to cover that issue, though I suppose admins can do what they want and they don't really need to have any rules why, let alone publicize them. Wnt (talk) 08:07, 18 October 2018 (UTC)

  • Good removal (WP:TPO, "removing harmful posts" - maybe borderline on the racism front, but clear trolling even if unintentional). Bad execution (just reverting instead of leaving a note that something was removed - DENY does not apply without a sanction against Wnt first). Awful edit summary (WP:PA applies even to trolls - I will not be arguing whether insults are personal attacks but even if they are not it still isn't a good idea to put them). TigraanClick here to contact me 08:46, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
  • It's not censored, it's in the history. It's not rev-del'd. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:58, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Calling that comment "racist" is just plain stupid. It was obviously a comment on the mirror test and its failings as a benchmark. Either it's stupid for not seeing the obvious meaning, or it's stupid for presuming that other's won't see the obvious meaning themselves and realize that calling it racist is just more WP:BATTLEGROUND bullshit that doesn't belong here. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:58, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
    • Your personal attack on me is every bit as offensive as the admin's comments about Wnt. And tell me what his racist comments have to do with elephants. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:58, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
I think the essence of the comment was the reference to a prank reality TV show and associated hypocrisies such as not accepting a salary and the presentation of oneself as a humanitarian all the while glossing over collateral casualties to uncontacted peoples. It could have been written better but I get the gist of it. And it has nothing to do with elephants therefore that would be a basis for removing it. Bus stop (talk) 17:04, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
I am happy to agree with Bus stop's last sentence. Wnt, sure the desks are censored, and really stupid stuff regularly gets removed here. As for your post: of course it wasn't really stupid (nor was it racist, for goodness sake), it was a mix of political and stylistic choices that, predictably, came across as insensitive, insulting, belittling, and apparently also racist. Predictably, Wnt. You are no novice to how things work and people react here. When your answer to a query is that flippant and irreverent without helping the querent in any way or fashion, it's just as well it gets removed. Bad combination, sorry. ---Sluzzelin talk 02:13, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
It's always said to be the user's responsibility to attempt to predict censorship (compare Google's need to work out what terms to block by spying on searches). Do note however that there is no actual policy that could predict those "political and stylistic choices". An AI would be very confused with this one, since I am barraged with an unanticipated outpouring of emotion on behalf of the dignity of the uncontacted tribes I'm said to be racist against, as if people cared, yet the "political" choice that I might speculate you mean that caused the deletion of the post is presumably that one is supposed to read about Brazilian fascists intending to take indigenous lands yet never have an inkling that these people might become available as research subjects (if not entirely rounded up and removed from their lands) until the "surprise" announcement is made in the news.
Though the nature of their concern eludes me, I am thinking of a poster on the lines of "buzzed driving is drunk driving", namely Thinking is Trolling. Because making people think is inherently regarded as a hostile act of a provocateur.
But this still leaves the amusing question of whether I should go delete a post by Baseball Bugs telling somebody go Google "innate responses to tastes" (without even trying the search, apparently, because it isn't productive). [1] Now he of course is free to go ahead and "hat" the person complaining that that isn't an answer, but I could say all three replies there are useless, so go delete it. Now, I doubt I'll even bother trying because censorship is about power, and someone whose main role on the desk is to try to come up with reasons to condemn posters and respondents is obviously going to outrank someone who simply likes to talk about science. This is, after all, first and foremost a bureaucracy desk, no? Wnt (talk) 14:35, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
I did try the search, and there are a number of options. It's not my place to tell the OP which ones to look at. Bearing in mind also that the question is asking why we call bitter stuff "bitter". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:43, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
There are options, but it looks like they're all crap. Point is, being "on topic" should mean you don't tell IPs "go ask somewhere else". Especially when you ought to assume good faith and therefore at least consider the OP tried Google and got crappy results. It's unproductive, you were told that, and your response was to hat the person complaining ... but not your own unresponsive answer. Wnt (talk) 15:22, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Where did the OP say they had tried Google already? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:48, 20 October 2018 (UTC)
Pointless and annoying, indeed. Wnt, you have my sympathies, which along with fifty cents will get you some fraction of a cup of coffee. I must, reluctantly, commend to you Mandruss's comment of 01:57 18 October 2018. Those who wantonly delete whatever they don't like are in firm control here, and at this point there's just one thing that you or I can do about it. —Steve Summit (talk) 19:28, 21 October 2018 (UTC)

Protection suggestion

I notice that some (though not all) of the ref desk protections are set to expire within a few minutes of each other. I would suggest moving those to at least an hour apart. Some editors have mentioned that these attacks look to be run in a bot fashion. While I don't know enough about the mechanics of that I have noted that once they start they are so rapid that - even with how closely they are now watched - a large number of edits happen quickly and there is a lot of cleanup needed. This number expands when all the ref desks are unprotected at the same time. My thought is that if this jerk can only hit one desk at a time the cleanup will be a little easier or at least the offending material will be exposed to view for a shorter period of time. One day this may stop and things can return to their normal disorganized state on the ref desks but until then this might help. Now this is just a suggestion and if others think it unworkable that is okay. MarnetteD|Talk 03:30, 20 October 2018 (UTC)

The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
That's right - protect one for three hours, one for six and so on. One month for Humanities is too long. 2A00:23C1:385:2E01:3124:5DC9:E6E7:E267 (talk) 20:41, 20 October 2018 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 20 October 2018

The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Please add new section:

Why were the jury boxes made too small? (October 10)

We can do better than this. All it needs is for someone to take their tape measure down to the Queen's Building, measure the jury boxes, and then pass through the courtyard and through the door which leads to the corridor running parallel to the west wall of the main hall. From the corridor pass through the double doors leading into one of the original courts and measure the jury boxes there. (talk) 12:17, 19 October 2018 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 23 October 2018

[For the language department: suggested title "Irregardless and the like"]

Whether or not irregardless is a solecism, it's interesting. I think that most native speakers of English would regard the prefix as superfluous, and yet the result sounds natural and is easy to understand for most of us. I've occasionally noticed similar affixation elsewhere, though offhand I can't come up with examples. Is there a term in lexical semantics for this kind of thing? ("This kind of thing" meaning, I suppose, something like: "affixation by analogy for semantic effect, (ir)regardless of the fact that the desired meaning is already there;" though this perhaps could be improved.) More.coffy (talk) 02:08, 23 October 2018 (UTC)