Thursday, March 08, 2007

 

Wikipedia's latest threat

The latest serious threat to Wikipedia's mission to create a free encyclopedia -- since the userbox war a little more than a year ago -- has raised its head: autograph pages. Word of their existence has even penetrated to WikiEN-l.

So far, the considered response is ... ignore them unless they are disputive. An example would be if the autograph page owner starts spamming everyone to sign her/his page; in that case, the person will be appropriately handled. I guess something was learned from the last encounter with silly fads.

My opinion about autograph pages? If you want to be my friend on Wikipedia, send me an email. It means more to me than demonstrating any amount of ingenuity with a signature.

Geoff

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Wasn't sure if you were joking about the serious threat part -- they seem pretty harmless to me.
 
I was mostly joking; I agree with you, Ben, that autograph pages are in themselves mostly harmless.

However, this is a threat in two ways:

1.These are the actions of new, young volunteers whose chief error at the moment might just be nothing more than that they didn't know better. Treating them like troublemakers will only result at best with creating another disgruntled group of Wikipedians, and at worst that they become troublemakers.

2.Not every act on Wikipedia that fails to contribute to an encyclopedia damages the project. Fighting harmless activity like this only wastes more time, creates more stress for committed Wikipedians, and leads to their premature departure.

As long as it can be safely ignored (for eaxmple, autograph hounds aren't spaming one and all for their autographs), let's continue to do so.

Geoff
 
I'm pretty sure he was joking about the "serious threat" part, or at least being facetious. As one of the major players in the "userbox war" myself, I will admit that, in the grand scheme of things, it all amounted to being extremely minor.
 
I want to be your friend. But I can't be bothered to send an email. On other hand, I have to go through a captcha to leave this message. That should count for something, right?
 
Sage: sure thing.

I'm not happy about implimenting the captcha step, but I'm a lot less happy needing to wipe the same spammed messages to the same posts every day. Sometimes I wish http was not a stateless protocol.

Geoff
 
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