Wikibooks:Reading room/Proposals

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Welcome to the Proposals reading room. On this page, Wikibookians are free to talk about suggestions for improving Wikibooks.


Preventing IP users from creating new pages[edit]

While I believe that only logged in users should be able to edit that's a battle I'm not going to attempt to argue here. However this concerns new pages being created by IP users. Are there more cases of bad page creations than good ones when it comes to IP users? Is there a way of stopping IP users from creating new pages especially creating pages which fall outside of an existing book? Would people support such a change or would it be against Foundation rules? I'd also say that as IP addresses contain personal information wouldn't this cause problems with our new EU right to be forgotten? --ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 20:42, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

for reference I count:
  • June 1st - no new good page creations by IP users
  • May 31st - no new good page creations by IP users
  • May 30th - one reasonable page creation by IP user
  • June 1st - 6 new bad page creations by IP users and new accounts (at least 9 today)
  • May 31st - 7 new bad page creations by IP users and new accounts
  • May 30th - 2 new bad page creations by IP users and new accounts

--ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 20:59, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

I support limiting IP users to creating new discussion pages for existing content pages to allow any well meaning person to at least point out problems with existing content. --darklama 21:07, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
At en.wn we allow page creation by IPs. We'd rather deal with lots of garbage than discourage a single newcomer. Anyway, my untested impression is that most bad page creations there are by registered accounts. And imho it'd be a terrible idea to force users to wait four days after creating an account before they could create pages. Didn't Wikipedia play with this sort of thing, find it was unfriendly to newcomers, go to an "articles for creation" queue, and find that that doesn't work at all well either?
If you only allow autoconfirmed users to create pages, that's unfriendly to newcomers. If you allow un-autoconfirmed newcomers to create pages, but don't allow IPs to create pages, that means it's harder to know what IP bad page creations came from.
If one were to prevent IPs from creating pages (in some spaces), could one do it in a way that gives humans (but not bots) a friendly invitation to register an account? --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 00:00, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I meant that IP users should at least be able to point out problems by being able to create discussion pages when considering whether to limit IP users ability to create pages. My impression is restricting IP user activity can have a negative impact on contributions, because fewer people are willing to register an account, if activity at non-wikimedia wiki websites that have restricted editing is any indication. I'm unfamiliar with Wikipedia's practices to know what they have tried and what didn't work for them. The Abuse Filter could probably be used to tag new pages created by IP users to make addressing bad page creations easier for the counter-vandalism team. --darklama 01:05, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Technically it can be done via the site config or via the Abuse Filter. I created an abuse filter a few weeks ago that throttles new page creation by IP editors (it stops them after they've created more than a couple within a short period) to deal with the copy / paste copyright vandal. It would be easy enough to modify it to disallow any page creations. However, I am generally of the view that the whole principles of Wikimedia projects - "anyone can edit" - should mean exactly that. QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 07:36, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I understand people's points. Would it be easy to edit the filter to prevent any external links in new pages created by IPs and unconfirmed accounts? And how difficult would it be to stop such users from creating new books (as opposed to pages within a book or a talk page)?--ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 09:18, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Does anyone can edit mean anyone even if they don't create an account? I mean requiring people to create an account is still allowing anyone to edit because anyone can create an account. It's even safer because it protects their IP address. --ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 20:35, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
I think anyone is usually interpreted to include IPs; one wants to encourage them to register, but one doesn't want to make registration a front-end load on contribution. Myself, I made my first edit to Wikipedia in 2005, a typo in an article I was looking at iirc, and figured if I ever found myself editing it again I'd get an account; and sure enough, about a year later I found myself wanting to make another edit, so I registered. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 22:33, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
I think I was really just thinking aloud. I'm pretty sure I know what is meant by anyone can edit. I might suggest though that encouraging (or forcing) IP editors to use might result in them becoming part of the community and making further constructive edits (more than they would if they remain as IP editors). No way of proving my wild theory though.--ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 22:40, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
… While the others would spend a few extra minutes to register a one-time account they’ll never consider remembering the password of, just for that single particular edit. To no-one’s win. — Ivan Shmakov (dc) 23:03, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
IMO, at present, the problem of bad page creations is not serious. We're a small community, the Recent Changes do not fill up too quickly, and there's a review system in place, which gives us a list of RCs that are easy to patrol. I'd wager the majority of the bad page creations are deleted before they're caught by Google, i.e. there's very little chance those pages will be seen. I'd rather we continue to combat vandalism/spamming than to bar IPs from creating pages, which will only worsen WB's contribution rate. I fully support the WN attitude Pi zero stated: 'We'd rather deal with lots of garbage than discourage a single newcomer.' Kayau (talk · contribs) 00:45, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

Alternative paid contribution disclosure policy[edit]

I’ve already started a discussion on the issue at v:Wikiversity:Colloquium#Alternative paid contribution disclosure policy, and intend to do the same at Russian Wikibooks and Wikiversity just as well.

I believe that the paid contributions disclosure policy effected by the Foundation is broad enough to potentially affect anyone who happens to collaborate on Wikibooks as part of their class assignments, for the text of the policy seems to make no exception for, say, getting a course credit when compensation is mentioned. (As part of these obligations, you must disclose your employer, client, and affiliation with respect to any contribution for which you receive, or expect to receive, compensation.)

To stress it out, – it’s my understanding of the policy that anyone using Wikibooks as part of one’s class assignment, must, from now on, disclose his or her affiliation (as in: school) in at least one of the following ways: a statement on [one’s] user page, a statement on the talk page accompanying any paid contributions, or a statement in the edit summary accompanying any paid contributions.

And while I agree that it may be expected for the instructor to inform the community of the forthcoming class assignments to be performed on Wikibooks, I feel it grossly inappropriate for the students’ (accidental) failure to report their affiliation to be deemed breach of the Terms of Use.

Fortunately, it’s explicitly allowed for any individual Wikimedia wiki to adopt its own, alternative policy, to be used in place of the global one, by means of the community consensus. One such policy has recently been implemented at the Wikimedia Commons, and reads: The Wikimedia Commons community does not require any disclosure of paid contributions from its contributor.

I hereby propose that a similarly relaxed, or perhaps identical, alternative paid contributions policy is adopted for the English Wikibooks just as well.

FTR, Commons seem to be the only project to adopt an alternative paid contribution disclosure policy so far.

Ivan Shmakov (dc) 18:34, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

As I indicated in my vote a while ago, all paid-for editing should be completely banned. Why does anyone support it? Is it an American thing? The whole concept is completely against the spirit of Wikimedia. Paid contributions and donations from commercial organizations should never be permitted. I really don't understand the above post. Why would a student be making paid-for edits? The vast majority of universities are not profit-making organizations. Please re-word the above proposal (or comments) in terms that ordinary, especially non-American, readers can understand.--ЗAНИA Flag of the Isle of Mann.svgtalk 22:33, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
This isn't about paid-for editing. I see the change to the terms of use as a wedge for persons of dubious faith to use to drive others out of wikimedia. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 22:49, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
@Xania: Students (probably) don't get money for editing but they do get credit. So they receive some compensation for creating content here (or at Wikipedia or elsewhere). —Justin (koavf)TCM 03:05, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
That’s the point. But otherwise, if some corporation decides to, say, publish a manual for their product here on Wikibooks, do we really have a problem with that? — Ivan Shmakov (dc) 06:44, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't believe we need any agreement regarding clarification/interpretation on the new changes unless there is some point that must be made to address an issue on our project. I think I understand the point being made and I would agree that without clearly stating it any contribution (work) for compensation could be described as a paid contribution (it needn't only to involve money), there are plenty of examples of paid work (writing work) on the WEB that does not linearly translate into what we generally accept as a monetary transaction, from reviews being done because the reviewer gets a free copy of the product to the academia that must produce work for credit or even tenure all can indeed be described as an economic relation, a transaction.
In any case I don't think that our project is one that is impacted by problematic paid-for editing (we normally ban most form of contributions that are clearly marked as only having economic interests and we avoid most contemporaneous turf wars in our existing policies and those that escape that fall into a POV issues that can easily be fixed by the next editor). Here free content is king, whatever the origin and by design we only accept useful content so I can't envision us getting into problems like those that must exist in other more generalist and contemporaneous Wikimedia projects (Wikipedia, Wikinews or Commons).
So far in my view this is no a problem that needs fixing in this project. --Panic (discusscontribs) 03:47, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Could you please clarify what you do not consider a problem that needs fixing in this project: is it receiving compensation (which I agree is not a problem), or is it that disclosure is now mandatory for all the edits that one receives, or expect to receive, compensation for (which I believe is a problem)? — Ivan Shmakov (dc) 06:44, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I doubt that you will have any people needing to comply to the disclosure requirement and then even less chances to verify any breach of that same requirement in this project. So I don't see it as a problem at all unless people start to take the meaning of paid-for editing beyond what is intended (it is clear what Wikimedia is objecting too, there is no need to take it further). They just need a way to pull out some abusive people that have an economic interest liked to their participation and so have an incentive to spend some coinage in legal actions, this serves only to avoid legal procedures when they get banned.
Even if I don't see it as a problem on this project we may have some from a reverse side, in global bans that eject editors that are indeed contributing valid and acceptable content here but being abusive of their freedoms elsewhere. --Panic (discusscontribs) 07:25, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
We may argue about the intent, but the wording of the policy is pretty clear: a student who participates in Wikibooks with the intent of getting a course credit (compensation) and failing to make it clear as required (disclosure) is in breach of the ToU, and may thus be subject to legal action from WMF.
Do I understand it correctly that you suggest we should just keep our eyes closed on any such breach, until and unless there’re other issues with one’s contributions?
Otherwise, I agree that the current disclosure policy is essentially unenforceable. But that’s one more reason to supersede it with a relaxed local policy, – just as the Commons community did.
Ivan Shmakov (dc) 07:42, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I am also concerned with the danger that this over-generally-worded provision in the ToU would be used maliciously as a weapon against individuals, including long-standing memebers of the project. Granted, afaik Wikibooks has not so far been the target of as much of this sort of nonsense as, say, Wikinews — Wikinews is the target of dirty politics routinely (for example, a while ago over at meta somebody tried to amend the project-closure policy specifically to make it easier to close Wikinews projects) — but that could change, and I believe it would be wise for us to close this loophole to make ourselves less vulnerable. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 10:54, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

… One another thing to note is that, say, in Russia, for a fair share (if not straight majority) of higher education students, the tuition is funded by the state, – based on one’s own academic performance. Thus, it’s not as simple as “I participate on Wikibooks so to get a course credit”, – it actually has a “and so that the state will provide funding for the next year of my education” part all along. And that gets quite close to the “money or services” – as clarified in the FAQ.

Now, there’s one more side to the problem. I have to admit that with the free licenses being embraced by the corporations, – and with something like every other enterprise out there having a wiki for the staff and clients to share the recipes on how to use the respective goods and services, – my idea was, why duplicate the effort? Is it all that reasonable to describe how to do something using product X when we can actually have free instructions on all the similar products (X, Y, Z, and beyond) collected at one single place, which is Wikibooks? (And the money currently spent on the maintenance of the company’s own wiki may be donated to the Foundation, – or some other worthy cause, anyway.)

Fortunately, despite of some confusion over the amendment, it does not prohibit “paid-for” contributions. Neither even does inconvenience the contributors in this case, either, for I’d rather expect for the employees of a company interested in contributing their documentation to Wikibooks (and collaborating over it there), to identify themselves irrespective of the policy, – if only as a matter of showing “authority” (of a kind) over their contributions on the particular subject.

What bother me, however, (and in addition to the issue with students above) – are the freelancers.

Suppose, for instance, that I’m contacted over IRC to write a book on air showers, and publish it here on Wikibooks, and be paid in Bitcoin for that. Now, I duly note on my user page that I was compensated by jsmith (~jsmith@2001:db8::da:42; J. Smith) for my contributions to the Air showers for dummies book. The question is: how the Wikibooks community is going to use that information? Will the book be instantly deleted because of that, or will I be blocked, or something?

Generally, could someone please spell out the specific circumstances when the value of one’s contributions is to be decided based, in whole or in part, on the (claimed) employer, client, and affiliation of the contributor? Suppose that, say Special:Diff/2468642 is found to be “paid” for. Does that make it any better or worse, and if so, why? Are there any other specific edits here at Wikibooks for which the affiliation would matter somehow?

Thanks in advance.

Ivan Shmakov (dc) 21:22, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Category:Wikibooks media[edit]

The French Wikibooks is requiring Image:Importing Image.jpg, and I was wondering why it hadn't been moved on Commons.

For information I did recently such a bot migration with MW:Manual:Pywikibot/imagecopy.py for the French Wikibooks and Wikiversity so there wouldn't be any technical difficulty. JackPotte (discusscontribs) 21:07, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

Idem for Image:Stages_of_how_a_photocopier_works.png, their licenses allow to avoid a duplication. JackPotte (discusscontribs) 20:34, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

We have about 5,000 images that are suitable for import to Commons; and no willing volunteers to do it! QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 12:51, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
So I will begin in the next days, after my bot flag on Commons. JackPotte (discusscontribs) 20:06, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

Echo and watchlist[edit]

Special:Notifications & Special:Watchlist substantially overlap in functionality, except the former also contains extra (some non-public) events and doesn't provide with passive usage options (means to turn off web-nagging or email-nagging and to just keep visiting the page whenever I'm free), while the latter doesn't provide with options of active web-nagging notifications (but already provides email interface). Partly, in my personal view, the Echo/Notifications project was driven by low usability of watchlist; [1] comes to mind. It's also perhaps worth noting that Echo users aren't exposed to Special:Notifications unless thy have JavaScript disabled — in which case it's their only means of reading the notifications.

I'd like to get this done:

  1. Merge these two pages into one.
  2. To remedy large inflow of information, introduce multiple levels of importance of the web-nagging notifications (red for mentions, orange for thanks, blue for new watchlist items, etc and configurable in your settings).

Thoughts on both, please? --Gryllida 02:19, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Nice idea, although you're more likely to generate interest discussing this on Meta or MediaWiki where these issues are generally pushed around... QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 07:25, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Merging the two into one could make both more complex and thus less useful. I rather like both the way they are, as I perceive them as serving different purposes — notifications for a small number of personal items, watchlist for a bigger picture of mostly-less-personal items.
Which said, I still don't understand what Echo is; I've tried to find information about it, but half the time, pages say it's the same as notifications, while the other half, they talk about it as something different but evidently assume everyone already knows what. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 10:13, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Echo and Notifications are indeed the same thing (see mw:Echo (Notifications) QuiteUnusual (discusscontribs) 11:29, 9 September 2014 (UTC)