Wikipedia talk:Username policy/Blatant Promotion RfC

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Currently, WP:UAA is inundated with reports of "promotional usernames", and often, the username is not as much of a problem as the editing behavior of the account. This appears to be primarily happening because there is a lack of clarity as to which venue to report blatant promotion that can and should be dealt with quickly. This RfC discusses ideas on how to address this. Gigs (talk) 01:13, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Local Consensus on Wikipedia talk:Username policy

  • The current username policy is confusing in regard to corporate names.
  • We shouldn't take a corporate/organizational name as prima facie evidence of a group account violation of WP:NOSHARE, since it is very often just a single representative at the keyboard.
  • The current practice on WP:UAA is to block "User:SamsFastPlumbingCo", but allow "User:SFPCo", even if "User:SFPCo" created the article Sam's Fast Plumbing Co.
    • This reflects the interpretation of what a "blatantly promotional" username is, and is regardless of edits made or not made.
  • WP:UAA is not the correct forum for promotion cases which are not blatant username violations, judged by the criteria above.
  • It is a very common case that an account is apparently single purpose and promotional, and there is no clear consensus on where those reports should go.
  • Complex cases of promotion should still be referred to WP:COIN for discussion.
    • Footnote: judging from responses and lack of responses to my questions at WP:UAA and WT:UAA, I'd change the example of "SFPCo" to "SFPC". "Co" (big C, little o) is the usual abbreviation for "company", so it would be reasonable for other editors to assume that SFPCo was claiming to speak for the company if they were a frequent editor of Sam's Fast Plumbing Co. - Dank (push to talk) 12:05, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Proposal 5 -- Reflect consensus in twinkle and templates

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

I think we have gotten a pretty good consensus going here. First, I'd like to list what I see the going consensus as:

  • Existing reporting forums are enough to deal with blatant promotion.
  • The policy has been made clearer that UAA is only for when the username alone is the issue, when it comes to promotion.
  • Send blatant, simple, cases to WP:AIV and complex cases to WP:COIN, when the username is not an explicit company name.
    • Not unanimous agreement on these venues, but this seems to be the general consensus.
  • As always, assume good faith when there is doubt, and try to work with users who may just not be familiar with the policies.

Therefore I propose:

  1. Update twinkle to include under the ARV (user reporting) function for Vandalism (AIV), a preloaded template for "Account is a promotion-only account", which expands into an AIV report of "This account is being used for only promotional purposes. {{{1|}}}".
  2. Update twinkle to include under ARV a new category of "Select report type -> Conflict of Interest", which generates a report on [[WP:COI/N], functionality similar to current twinkle ARV tools. Instructions within twinkle should indicate that COI reports should be for more complex cases of COI.

The point of these tools is to reflect the consensus that UAA is not the right place to report promotional editing, but rather only when the username alone is the problem. Until we show people the better places, they will likely remain confused about the purpose of UAA. Note that this proposal is not a proposal to change policy, only to change the tools to reflect the consensus that we have built here. Gigs (talk) 02:33, 11 June 2009 (UTC)


  • I'd definitely support that. –Juliancolton | Talk 02:45, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I usually add my own specific remarks to AIV reports to indicate the problem, but I don't see any problem with this proposal. Beeblebrox (talk) 05:20, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Changing TWINKLE? I support it, but good luck with that. Last time it took a year to get AzaToth to agree to take out the "confusing username" option. rspεεr (talk) 07:17, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
    • I should note that I have also canvassed Twinkle maintainers to give input on this proposal, so be nice. Gigs (talk) 12:04, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
  • That looks quite good to me. --Conti| 09:26, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Good idea. -- Oldlaptop321 (talk·contribs) 03:04, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

 Done Requested at twinkle bug report page. Gigs (talk) 01:00, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

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

Proposal 4 -- treat COI issues as more significant than username issues

Much of the discussion here centers around how to combat corporate promotion using the username policy. My proposal is to stop trying to do that, and combat it using the appropriate processes instead.

You do not turn a PR flack into a responsible Wikipedian by making them change their username. To turn them into a responsible Wikipedian requires discussion, and has basically nothing to do with usernames. Their username is almost entirely unrelated to the issue, except for two somewhat opposing interactions between COIs and usernames:

  • Corporate usernames can help draw attention to conflicts of interest. (Corollary: if you make the user change their name, they've still got a COI but you lose track of who they are.)
  • Corporate usernames irritate us by appearing in history logs and violating our expectations of what a username should be.

While I am prepared to support Tnxman's wording for the username policy, in most of these cases I see it as distracting and short-sighted to apply the username policy at all. When you address these cases as primarily username problems instead of COI or spam problems, you push the real problem underground.

COI problems are more important to address than username problems. When you can tell someone has a COI from their username, use the appropriate process. For ordinary conflicts of interest that have a good chance at being resolved, we have WP:COIN and discussion with the user. For blatant spam, we have WP:AIV and hardblocks. If they get blocked for spam, their username is no longer relevant. If they have a minor COI that is resolved adequately, then it would be an appropriate time to point out that their name is irritating and ask them to change it.

This is different from proposal 3, because it does not require the creation of a new noticeboard. The ones we've got do the job.

rspεεr (talk) 07:57, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

What we should actually do

To clarify, here's what I propose we should do in the relevant cases.

  1. Block spammers. Hard. For spamming.
    • If someone's username is actually an advertisement in itself, that's spamming.
      • Keep in mind that a mere mention of a company name is not the same as an advertisement. For example, I am about to say the word "Google". That's not an advertisement for Google.
      • Names that are advertisements in themselves may continue to be reported on UAA. They should be clear enough to merit a hardblock, and they should be hardblocked for spamming. A softblock is not a compromise between a hardblock and nothing: in this case, a softblock is a mistake.
  2. When someone edits on Wikipedia with a problematic COI, do exactly what we usually do. Forcefully (but not rudely) tell them not to do that. Explain the COI policy. If their username is involved in the COI, do not sabotage the process by placing a useless username softblock on them.
    • If the COI problem gets resolved (or if they edit responsibly enough that they never create a COI problem in the first place), but their username is still a problem, ask them to change it because we don't allow promotional usernames.
    • If they're refusing to change their username, clearly the problem wasn't actually resolved. Escalate this to a block if necessary. Keep in mind that this is a weird situation where someone is not just misunderstanding the rules -- they've been told the rules and they're acting petulant and unprofessional under their company name. Should be rare.
  3. Describe this in the username policy basically the way Tnxman does.
    • I'd prefer to leave out the sentence "Explicit use of a company or group name as a username will result in your account being blocked" from Tnxman's proposal, because I don't see the benefit of it, but I don't really object to it either.
    • Since we've passed Tnxman's proposal, I'm okay with this one bright line that says "explicit company name → softblock". Again, I don't see the benefit but don't really object. The rest of this proposal should be compatible. rspεεr (talk) 07:15, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

rspεεr (talk) 08:11, 6 June 2009 (UTC)


  • The whole reason for this discussion is that there is a large class of promotion that is falling outside the charter and purpose of those existing boards, and most of it is ending up on UAA. A user who has a suspicious, but not blatant, username, that creates an article about their organization or company. They aren't spamming. They aren't vandalizing. But they are a single purpose account, and it's clear cut promotion. That's the class of account that we are specifically wanting to deal with here. I don't see how your proposal improves that situation, these reports will still largely end up on UAA because that's the only thing people can figure out to put it under when they pull up their twinkle ARV window to report the obviously problematic account. Gigs (talk) 12:04, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I think I misread... is this proposal like parts 1 through 4 of the first proposal? I.e. you want to stop blocking corporate usernames on username grounds, but at the same time, you think our current processes are sufficient? Gigs (talk) 12:39, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Weak support, the Username and COI issues are both important both separately and together, and I like some of the above wording, but it is also slightly confusing. Cirt (talk) 04:26, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I am not sure I understand what you are proposing so please correct me if I have misinterpreted. It sort of seems like you are proposing we allow people to have promotional usernames so that we can better detect conflict of interest? If that is the case I must oppose. If we need a person's username to tell us that they have a conflict of interest then how bad can their conflict of interest really be? They are not really that hard to spot that they need a bell around their neck, they stick out like a sore thumb. Promotional usernames stick out like a sore thumb except that this sore thumb is trying to sell you dry wall or promotional services. I say we continue to disallow promotional usernames like we always have, like we have always disallowed spam anywhere on Wikipedia. Chillum 04:52, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
    • I don't understand your response. What kind of action is it to "disallow" something? Is it blocking the user immediately? Sending a sternly worded message? E-mailing their ISP's abuse department? Shaking your fist at the computer screen? The whole point of this discussion is to add more clarity to the process, so don't use vague words like "disallow".
      To answer your question the best I can, I do not propose to allow promotional usernames. There are many things we don't allow but also don't have special noticeboards for, like signing your name on articles or climbing the Reichstag dressed as Spider-Man. The part that's relevant to UAA and the discussion here isn't what we allow or disallow, it's what we do. I'll add a section where I clarify what I think we should do. rspεεr (talk) 08:11, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
  • We disallow it by using a soft block which requires them to change names. It is what we have been doing for some time now. I hope that clears things up. Chillum 21:43, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. How on earth can a user name be promotional? Ok, I'll answer it myself - if the user name is User:Acme Inc. is the best thing since sliced bread - buy our solutions now!!!. Otherwise, if the user name is the name of a company, then it's surely much better that the person doing the editing on behalf of that company has a name that shows everyone else that this is the case. We'll always have people editing with a conflict of interest, and banning these so-called "promotional" user names just makes them use a different name, making the editing less transparent, which is a bad thing. Is it really reasonable to believe that the content of a user name in any way influences anyone to buy a product or support a candidate or do anything else that the paranoid spam-fighters think happens? Let's concentrate on the articles themselves, and whether they are being used for promotion, rather than make the potential spammers hide under different names. Phil Bridger (talk) 21:40, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Support I can support ending username softblocks for company usernames, this is the essence of the first part of my first proposal. I agree with Phil that the idea of a "promotional username" is kind of a strange concept, and should be exceedingly rare (except in the case of a domain name as a username, which should still be softblocked on sight) Gigs (talk) 22:05, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
    • Be careful when making blanket statements such as "domain names should be softblocked on sight". Domain names that are selling something should be softblocked on sight. Domain names that simply identify a person the same way that a username identifies a person are fine. rspεεr (talk) 22:36, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
      • You are correct, I should have qualified it by saying "promotional domain names". Gigs (talk) 01:19, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment Repeating myself from WT:U: I'm comfortable with the wording as it stands, "the suggestion that the account is operated by a group, project or collective rather than one individual". "Suggestion" is just the right word, I think. I mentioned some examples of ones I blocked over at WT:UAA: User:Ulyssesreborn (created an article promoting the Ulysses Rebirth exhibit), User:Wimintern (created an article promoting World Internet Marketing Inc), and User:Intaid (created an article promoting International Aid, Inc.) As Julian says, the username is okay "if you have to squint to see" the connection, but when you see these usernames editing those articles, squinting isn't necessary, and I don't think our reaction to seeing these at WP:UAA should be "take it elsewhere, that's COI". I appreciate the concern that UAA gets overloaded sometimes, but we are doing a good job on the db-spam queue these days, and when I do a username block, the report is automatically removed from UAA by the HelperBot. A name that appears to correspond to a group, editing an article on that group, creates an inevitable temptation for multiple people at the group to use that account, and creates unsolvable OWNership problems. - Dank (push to talk) 16:35, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
    • I think we can actually have it both ways. If we change twinkle to make it more obvious that there are alternatives to UAA, then that should lessen improper UAAs, while still not making it hard instruction that UAA should ignore incorrect forum blatant COI. (See proposal above if you haven't yet) Gigs (talk) 21:53, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
      • Yep, I've read the discussion, good job. I don't personally care whether these things are reported to UAA or COIN, as long as we're agreed on how consensus stands for which usernames to block that suggest the same company or group that they're creating an article about. - Dank (push to talk) 23:26, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment As for names, if there actually is consensus that the usernames should not indicate the company. , I think it would be on the combined basis of discouraging OWNership, and preventing the encyclopedia from looking like a PR organ, rather than spam itself--and to avoid situations where someone may use a company name as an attack name--which can be even worse than spam. Much more important, I doubt there is consensus that spammers should be hardblocked, as contrasted to being guided to change their ways. As I see it, there is consensus only that the ones who refuse to change their ways should be blocked. Where I do agree is that the usernames are a secondary issue to the spam. DGG (talk) 02:47, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

"Paid editing" RFC

I cannot help but to think that the paid editing RFC is closely related to this RFC. Does anyone else think the same way, or might there perhaps be other implications as far as what is going on over there is concerned? MuZemike 23:24, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

I've been keeping an eye on it, but that is more about constructive edits made by paid users, where we are concerned here with blatantly promotional edits that violate core policies. To put it another way, if a paid editor winds up violating our core policies, this RfC concerns our processes to deal with them. Gigs (talk) 00:18, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Closed proposals

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

Proposal 1 -- Loosen name policy, create new forum for reporting

  • Consensus was oppose, proposal withdrawn Gigs (talk) 13:29, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

  1. Cease blocking accounts solely because the username alone is blatantly promotional/corporate.
  2. Remove references to "promotional usernames" from the username policy, since a company/organizational username with no edits is not a particular detriment to the encyclopedia.
  3. Continue to suggest that they create a more personal account, but not with threats of name blocks; Update uw-templates to reflect this
  4. Wait to see if they violate a content related policy
  5. Create a new administrators noticeboard for blatant promotion (Administrator Intervention against Promotion)
  6. If their edits appear to be blatantly promotional, a single purpose account, only nonconstructive edits, then block them quickly using the new noticeboard


Discussion- Consensus to oppose
  • I must oppose this proposal as contrary to our goal of being neutral and not allowing people to use Wikipedia for promotional purposes. If a username is a company name then every edit they make is in essence an advertisement for that company even if their actual edits are fine. Every edit to an article puts their company name in the history, every discussion they have is signed by their company name. Let them take a name this is not advertising. We don't allow spam anywhere else, why would we allow it in usernames? I say use a soft block to force them to choose a name that does not promote their company. Chillum 01:24, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment I would like propose to same wording I proposed at WT:U, namely, "Use of Wikipedia for promotion of a company or group is not permitted and accounts that do this will be blocked. Explicit use of a company or group name as a username will result in your account being blocked. Accounts that add promotional material with a clear conflict of interest will be reported to the appropriate noticeboard, where further action may be taken." We could replace "appropriate noticeboard" with any board that currently exists or will exist. This should cover a majority of the cases and the exceptions could be discussed elsewhere. TNXMan 01:28, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

I have moved this to the appropriate section below. Sorry, this is my first RfC! TNXMan 01:57, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

    • I have refactored this RfC so that we may have multiple proposals, since this one is off to a bad start. I don't want us to get locked into only "what Gigs proposed", because I really want to see some progress here, even if my ideas are rejected. TnxMan feel free to add your proposal below so it can be considered separately. Gigs (talk) 01:49, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose, the project should not be a tool for companies to use for promotional purposes. Cirt (talk) 04:23, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
    • What makes you think this proposal would allow that in any form? Gigs (talk) 22:00, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose Too specialized a board, clearer policies to aid all who need them can resolve this. -- Banjeboi 05:12, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
  • It goes against the basic tenet of NPOV to allow usernames (not users) that represent a company or organization to edit. Anyone who sees an edit by such a username would surely be seen as non-NPOV in nature because of the username itself. It would be inviting more problems who many users see such editing as problematic, not to mention opening the door for COI users behind promotional usernames to give them more leverage on discussions than, for instance, a COI user without a promotional username. Creating a separate noticeboard for users and administrators to watch (on top of WP:UAA, WP:AN, WP:COIN, WP:BLPN, WP:AN3, and WP:AIV) would also be even more bureaucratic creep. That being said, I have to oppose such proposal. MuZemike 22:44, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose Spending some time at WT:WikiProject Spam shows an astounding level of company and other promotional activity (actually, it's not astounding – every two-bit web site wants links from WP). Any relaxation will envigorate the spammers. We have policies regarding editor behavior (like WP:AGF, WP:NPA) to promote cooperative editing. However, I can't work cooperatively with User:CHEAPEST_FARES or User:SomeBigCorp. Any relaxation of username policy will result in wedging whereby people dream up increasingly blatant ways to promote their product. Johnuniq (talk) 09:06, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose if anything we should make our policies tougher on spammers! We shouldn't let groups of individuals edit from a single account so any account that gives this impression should be blocked ASAP. The current block template tells these editors the exact reason they were blocked and invites them to get a nonpromotional username and return to editing. Also, per MuZemike. ThemFromSpace 17:01, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Clarification I'm not sure why people think this policy would be "softer" on spammers. The idea here would be to stop blocking people based on promotional usernames (except in the most blatant cases where the username itself is an advertisement, not simply a company name), but block them even quicker if they made promotional edits. Right now, a promotional account who has made promotional edits often gets refused at WP:UAA on the grounds that the name isn't blatantly promotional, and will often get refused at WP:AIV on the grounds that it is not vandalism or that the account has not been warned sufficiently, or because of a lack of recent activity. These obviously promotional accounts then stick around until they eventually get blocked by a passing admin. There is currently a gaping hole in our dealings with promotional accounts. Gigs (talk) 20:44, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose Wikipedia should not be used for promotions. If an offending user contributes positively to the encyclopedia, perhaps a {{uw-username}} template should be used to try and get them to change names first. Also, if there is an offending user with no edits, a username block should be fine,and if they really want to contribute quality material to the encyclopedia, they can always come back under a different username. Maybe we could have a special template for blocking users with no edits, but a blatant commercial username? Does one exist? Finally, having another noticeboard is too bureaucratic, and one centralized one seems to work fine. --Patar knight - chat/contributions 21:40, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
    See {{Uw-coi-username}} -- œ 10:37, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Support Personally, I think corporate user names that clearly make COI obvious are even helpful, except for one problem: they imply ownership, and can be seen as an attempt to keep others off the article. But I do not think they do that in reality--they equally well call attention to the need for others to look at the article. serve . Even if we keep the rule against such names, at the least I think we should not block, in favor of a more gentle approach. Myself, I think very strongly that spammy articles and promotion are a really major danger to the credibility of WP, and the distinction is a key thing that distinguishes us from the general web-- and from other attempts at web encyclopedias, which tend to be much more tolerant about this. I spend a good deal of time here trying to deal with spammers, but I do it in trying to convert them to proper editing, not throw them out--in my experience, about one-third of them will improve, one-third give up and go away, and for the other third, we should deal with just those appropriately to the problem toy produce. I would find it easier to explain about the need for nPOV editing if I did not also have to explain about usernames, or deal with the very people I am trying to gently persuade get blocked by other admins, which tends to undercut a more positive approach. Blocking, like deletion, should be a last resort except for the really worst. DGG (talk) 22:45, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Support Because simple mistakes like this can happen, it's not assuming good faith to jump all over people and label them "blatant". However, oppose point #2, we should still keep the references to "promotional usernames" in the policy. In the meantime, {{Uw-coi-username}} should be used. -- œ 10:19, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Proposal 2-- Reword the Existing Policy

  • Consensus was support,  Done Gigs (talk) 00:24, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

As Gigs outlined at WT:U, the username policy contains several references to corporate usernames. Many of these references contradict each other. I propose that we replace the relevant sections with the following wording.

Use of Wikipedia for promotion of a company or group is not permitted and accounts that do this will be blocked. Explicit use of a company or group name as a username will result in your account being blocked. Accounts that add promotional material with a clear conflict of interest will be reported to the appropriate noticeboard, where further action may be taken.

We could replace "appropriate noticeboard" with whichever board is deemed appropriate (whether it exists currently or not). TNXMan 01:56, 5 June 2009 (UTC)


Discussion - consensus to support
  • I support this as a preliminary change that will at least get the policy into line with what is actually being currently practiced at WP:UAA. Gigs (talk) 02:31, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I also support the principal behind this wording. Although I think we should make it more clear that blocks for having a promotional name should in almost all cases be a soft block and the user should be welcomed to come back under an appropriate name. Chillum 02:48, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
    • I agree that it should be a softblock just to avoid being disproportionately harsh, but saying that we "welcome them back" as long as they change their name is the wrong language. They still have a conflict of interest! We usually want them to change their editing style, something which is totally unrelated to the username policy. rspεεr (talk) 07:41, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree with Rspeer, we're trying to make a point to these persons that Wikipedia is not to be used for advertising, whatever their username may be. This proposed language is pretty good, it's important to make it clear that spamming is not to be tolerated, and is considered the same thing as vandalism. Beeblebrox (talk) 08:49, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Fair enough. Chillum 13:19, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I should note that we only recently eliminated a lot of administrative jargon and instructions from the policy, we should avoid using words like "softblock" in the policy, but rather explain it to them in lay terms, if we do decide to include something about that. The administrative instructions already instruct the use of soft blocks in most cases. Gigs (talk) 17:52, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Support, proposed wording above seems sound. Cirt (talk) 04:23, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Support finding NPOV ways to assist all concerned. COI is often a badge of shame when instead well-meaning newbies are trying to help. Variances on usernames will continue to crop up including obvious vandals and many borderline cases. Renaming is a valid option for those who seem constructive and want to help. COI should also help direct borderline cases to some hints as to what to do. We have admins, editors, newbies and vandals and each population will need guideance of how to proceed. -- Banjeboi 05:17, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Support, the wording used here seems appropriate. Lankiveil (speak to me) 06:04, 6 June 2009 (UTC).
  • Support – I would like to see what Chillium suggested and try to add some language in there about allowing users to create a neutral username that is not connected with whomever they are working for. MuZemike 22:49, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Support Tightening the policy to avoid pointless arguments is desirable. I recommend omitting "clear" because we should report any conflict of interest (we're not saying "you will be blocked"). The word "clear" just makes spammers think "Ahh, so hard-to-prove COI is ok". Johnuniq (talk) 09:19, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
  • How about something like "Accounts that demonstrate a conflict of interest will be reported…"? TNXMan 12:52, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment There is no sharp boundary between promotion and information. Providing information about a useful product normally is inherently promotion of it, whether done by a NPOV editor or someone with COI. Either can provide just as good and encyclopedic material, and the motive for entering it is secondary. I carry on promotion for things I like, and so does everyone, but if liking something is COI, we will never have articles except from those with negative COI. I have seen excellent fair informative editing done here by those with direct commercial COI. Are we to remove it because it was done with the purpose of promotion? DGG (talk) 23:59, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. If we need a change, this is the way to do it. – ukexpat (talk) 03:57, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment Per the discussion here, I have changed the username policy. I welcome any and all comments, either on my talk or WT:U. TNXMan 02:24, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
    • I have edited it a little. [1] I have concerns about mentioning COIN there, since it seemed the rough consensus was AIV for blatant promotion, but I left that part for now. Gigs (talk)

Proposal 3 -- Create a new noticeboard for expedited handling of obvious promotion

  • Consensus was oppose, withdrawn Gigs (talk) 00:24, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

This proposal is a reworking of Proposal 1, without the controversial username policy changes. Currently there is a mish-mash of forums that are getting blatant promotion reports, WP:AIV, WP:UAA, WT:WPSPAM, WP:COIN... and none of them are particularly suited to quickly handling blatant promotion that is not spam or vandalism. As well, because there is no clear place for reporting it, editors often seemingly just pick one at random. Gigs (talk) 02:46, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

  1. Create a new administrators noticeboard for blatant promotion (Administrator Intervention against Promotion)
  2. If their edits appear to be blatantly promotional, a single purpose account, only nonconstructive edits, then block them quickly using the new noticeboard
  3. Complex cases of promotion would still be referred to WP:COIN for discussion
Discussion - Consensus was oppose


I am a little confused here. Is this noticeboard for promotional usernames, or for promotional behavior? They are two very different things. In both cases we give the user every chance to reform themselves. However in the case of a promotional username the user cannot help but promote their company every time they edit, this is why they are generally soft blocked and encouraged to create a new username. Promotional behavior on the other hand has a chance to be remedied without the need for blocking, yet will lead to a hard block if not remedied.

I think it best that WP:UAA handle promotional usernames as it seems to be doing a fine job so far, and I suspect an even better job once we clarify policy in this matter. I am not particularly familiar with our conflict of interest and promotion noticeboards so I really don't know if we need a new one for promotional behavior or not. Chillum 02:53, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

This noticeboard would be for editing that is obviously promotional, when the username either isn't promotion, or isn't blatantly promotional enough for UAA to take care of it. WP:COIN is more often a step in the conflict resolution process, and is more suited to complex cases that require discussion. This would be to WP:COIN as Speedy Deletion (or maybe Prod) is to AfD. Gigs (talk) 02:59, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

I see. If the existing noticeboards are better suited to more complex cases then I see some merit in a noticeboard for simpler cases. Chillum 03:01, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

  • I don't see any need for a new noticeboard. As I've said before, persistent spammers can be reported at WP:AIV if they are causing a problem. Beeblebrox (talk) 03:22, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
    • They can be handled at AIV, but they don't fit there any more than they fit at UAA. If you want to expand the scope of AIV, then I think you should propose that. Gigs (talk) 11:57, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Sorry, but I believe you are mistaken to say this would be expanding the scope of AIV. If you try to report a sock or something like that there, you invariably are told "this noticeboard is for persistent vandals and spammers." A pattern of adding promotional material is already viewed on the same level as vandalism there, as it should be. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:26, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Then WP:Vandalism needs to be updated to include blatant promotion. Right now it does not. The only thing that comes close is an offhand message in "Link vandalism" to adding misleading promotional links, and "Spam" which is narrowly defined as adding external links, not creating promotional articles. Dealing with this as vandalism also requires multiple warnings and sufficiently recent activity, both of which are inappropriate requirements for dealing with blatant promotion. It's trying to stuff a round peg into a square hole to dump this all into AIV. Gigs (talk) 20:15, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I didn't say that promotion and vandalism are the same thing, but that they are treated the same way. Go to AIV, at the top of the page it says quite clearly: "This page is intended to get administrator attention for obvious and persistent vandals and spammers only" so spamming is already clearly within the scope of AIV. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:51, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • We aren't talking about spam here, we are talking about obvious promotion. Adding your website's link to 100 article is spam. Registering a username for your employer and creating an article about your employer is obvious promotion. Gigs (talk) 21:24, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm afraid I don't see the distinction. I feel like we're splitting hairs about the definitions of "spam" and "promotion" which I think most users, and Wikipedia:Spam see as the same thing. An advertisement masquerading as an article is just as much spam as link spam, and is already handled the same way by AIV. Again, right at the top of the page, the page on spam says: "There are two types of wikispam. These are advertisements masquerading as articles and external link spamming." Beeblebrox (talk) 22:14, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
What if User:SamsPlumbingCo starts editing the (already posted) Sam's Plumbing Co. article? Not with external links or anything like that, but removing negative sections? Or even editing it all? I don't think that would be acted on at AIV. TNXMan 22:24, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

(unindent)OK, so lets say I give you all that. Promotion is spam, and spam is vandalism, and vandalism can be dealt with through AIV. There are still some remaining problems.

  1. There is not good documentation to that effect.
  2. AIV requires recentness, progressive warnings, and continued behavior, none of which are particularly appropriate requirements for blatant promotion issues (IMHO).
  3. Not everyone over at AIV may be on board with the idea of dealing with blatant promotion that is often ending up on UAA right now.

To largely address #1... Twinkle could have a checkbox on its ARV->AIV page with an autotemplate for promotion. We might formulate some guidance for WP:U as well, though we should be careful not to over-instruct like it used to do before my recent edits. To address #2, I think some stuff needs to be reworded around AIV to avoid confusion. Anyway I'm really not really opposed to sending all this to AIV, I just think we need to work out the details so it's all clear and obvious to reporters. Gigs (talk) 22:28, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

A new noticeboard is not needed, because everything is covered by ANI, AIV, and UAA. Griffinofwales (talk) 03:38, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

  • Not needed. Usually tagging the userpage as spam is good enough to get a block, anything else goes to AIV. Persistent spamming (multiple pages, users) should be posted at WT:WPSPAM as well for the record. MER-C 09:09, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose – I think we can create less busywork and buro by clarifying what the current relevant noticeboards (in this specific case, UAA and AIV) do. MuZemike 01:28, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose We got this covered already with WP:UAA, WT:WPSPAM, WP:COIN, and WP:AIV. If a user's behaviour doesn't fall within those noticeboards than standard dispute resolution should be used to address the issue. ThemFromSpace 17:04, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

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