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The last paragraph on the article currently says this:
- "If your IP address has been blocked, and you want to create a user name and continue working on Muppet Wiki, please send an e-mail to Danny at Toughpigs@gmail.com."
As you can see, Danny shows up as a redlink. Please can someone fix this. As "Danny" could possibly be the name of a Muppet, at some point, I would think the best fix is to change that to:
- "Danny" ("[[User:Toughpigs|Danny]]").
I couldn't fix this myself as the page was protected.
BTW: I fully support your User Name policy, despite the fact that I got blocked by another one of your policies. David Shepheard 16:44, February 18, 2010 (UTC)
- I figured we'd leave it for now. Having people sign in is a three-month experiment, and we don't know for sure that we'll be able to keep doing it after that. So I think we should just leave this until we know. -- Danny (talk) 15:43, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Note from Sannse
Hi, I'm quite concerned about this policy, I think it may have more disadvantages than advantages. The big risk is that you will be driving away good members. A lot of people try out wikis logged out before making an account, sometimes for quite a while. And some people choose never to make an account, and yet are good contributors. I remember seeing an anon on Wikipedia with literally thousands of good edits, but who obviously had a strong preference for not logging in (he had been invited to many times).
There are some other practical concerns with this. I know the shared IP problem has been mentioned, but perhaps I can expand on that. For some providers like AOL (the biggest in the world remember), the IP doesn't only change per session, it may change during a session. So the chances are that the person receiving the message you have left, will be different from the person who made the first five edits, who will be different from the person being blocked. Each of those people is quite likely to get upset at the unfairness of this and leave never to return. That seems a big cost for the benefit of getting people logged in.
There is no doubt that a lot of vandalism comes from IPs, but you are in the great position of having four active admins and an active community. Maybe you could encourage your community to look at recent changes more often and keep any problems to a minimum. I think some level of vandalism has to be accepted on a wiki for the benefits of an editable site. On Wikipedia, which I'm sure you know has a lot of vandalism, it's regarded as a minor annoyance quickly fixed, and this philosophical attitude to the problem makes it a minor part of the site as a whole.
Of course, it is better if people log in, but I wonder if they can be gently persuaded rather than trying to force them into it? I've written a straightforward guide to why accounts are a good idea at Wikicities:C:Starter:Help:Why create an account. Maybe you could put a friendly message encouraging new IPs to join up and linking to a similar page? I think the tone of the current message is quite harsh and unwelcoming, and a block is very unwelcoming! Maybe a welcoming note, with strong encouragement to join up, and a clear description of the benefits would get you just as many new members - without losing those that will never sign up?
Sorry this is so long, but I believe that open editing for all is a vital part of Wikicities, as it is for other wikis. I hope you will look again at this policy and see if it can be modified to be more friendly and kind. Thanks -- sannse (talk) 11:19, 17 March 2006 (UTC) (Wikicities Community Team)
From my long experience, I would have to say that I agree with Sannse here that a slightly gentler policy would probably suffice.
Here is my thinking. The policy is a good one in that it recognizes that it is desirable for good people to get accounts so that they can really join the community. That is really nice, and of course meeting good fun people is part of the whole point of a wiki. But right now the policy is more of a 'stick' than a 'carrot'. And it may equally well encourage bad people to get accounts and stick around, which isn't really what is intended.
I recommend a slight softening of the policy, with an eye towards putting some happy carrots in front of people. Maybe greet people on their 5th edit with a friendly message inviting them to get an account and telling them that if they get an account they can be eligible to win various community awards? The idea here is that wikis are about openness, friendliness, and trust, and people respond very well to positive incentives rather than negative incentives ('do this or be blocked' is what I mean by a negative incentive).
--Jimbo Wales 12:13, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
- Well, I can't speak for Danny Horn, our founder and creator of the user name policy. However, as one of the four admins, as mentioned by Sannse, and as one who tacitly approved the policy, here's my thoughts. First, though I was a bit startled, it's good to see others outside of the Muppet Wiki community discussing this, and it makes sense, in as much as it may set a precedent for future patterns on other wikis. The policy has only been around for about a full month, and like a lot of the other things on Muppet Wiki, it's a learning process, trial and error, so outside comments are indeed helpful. The policy was announced on the main board, Current events, and basically was either openly accepted or met with no comment at all, so it was adopted. We'd had major rashes of vandalism, and of people constantly adding one opinionated or incorrect sentence, and adding it back in at every opportunity, or spam, or whatnot. I don't necessarily agree with Sannse that vandalsim *needs* to be accepted for the benefit of an editable site. Wikipedia is so large and covers so many fields that by now, yes, it must be accepted at some level; but with all due respect for all that Wikipedia does, and it is a valuable resource, this also leads to pages being targeted and often going for months and the vandal is never blocked or otherwise dealt with simply because the system is too large, and more and more anonymous questionable misinformation slips into the cracks (and yes, anybody can fix it, but the more that creeps in, the harder it is to catch). This isn't a knock on Wikipedia, and is a byproduct of being so vast and covering current news happenings, world figures, science and history, as well as niche entertainment areas and so forth. Muppet Wiki's focus is so centralized, however, that we kind of like to do our best to ensure that the pages are as best as humanly possible under circumstances, and reduce vandalsim or anonymous rumor mongering.
- Sannse raises some legitimate concerns, but the changing IP aspect is not one that has gone unnoticed. See Special:IPblocklist. We check the contribution history of all anonymous IPs, the frequency and general patterns. In almost all cases where a block has occurred (I might go so far as to say every), we've check for those patterns. It's generally someone who keeps changing actors names to Star Wars character names, or keeps wanting to say that they hate a character or puppeteer, and so forth.
- For the rest, the policy exists not to oppose anonymity necessarily, but the things which accompany it, lack of trust and communication. Not one of the blocked anonymous users to date has ever answered a question addressed to them about their edits, and not just a "please log in", but specific questions as to why they're doing certain things or where their information comes from. We've tried to source as much as possible, and even when the source is someone's personal list supplied as the result of a fan letter or whatever, just knowing there *is* a source and not something they guessed opr assumed helps. Otherwise, it becomes counteractive, and basically, others wonder if the information is at all valid, and it puts every other edit by that person in question as well (especially when rash changes are made to info which *has* been sourced).
- There are inevitably some drawbacks, yes. There have been approximately 16 anonymous users banned with the reason listed as the User Name policy (though do note that the ban can be removed with a simple e-mail request; that may be frustrating for some, but it does exist as an option if they really want to try again). Of those 16, at least 5 or more are really cases of vandalism or general violations of "good faith" editing. Of the rest, there are at least three that I spot which admittedly made only general grammar or otherwise useful edits, despite being utterly nonresponsive, so perhaps extending the trial edit period (10 edits occurs to me) may help. But so far, with those exceptions, which are indeed significant and need to be considered, frankly, I don't feel we've "lost" any potential benefits from those blocks. As Sansse and Mr. Wales can probably relate to, even with four admins, this is a lot of work, and I personally have become stressed out about some of these aspects, to the point of banging my head against objects. Even with certain registered users, a lot of babysitting or arbitrating is required. We all have jobs or school or other responsibilities outside of our joint hobby, and thus far the username policy has helped cut down on babysitting a bit. Far more encouragingly, I can name at least 6 users or more, valuable people, whether they visited briefly or stuck around, who registered as a direct, provable result of username policy prompting. Also, keep in mind that the policy is not necessarily a hard and fast rule. With some individuals, where you can tell what they're trying to do but the learning curve takes a little longer, we've given it a little time, say a couple of days or so, and we try our best to look at each instance on a case by case basis.
- Mr. Wales mentioned a positive encouragement, and that is a *very* valid point. But as of now, unless you count having a page you labored over to become a truly great article or a category you and others have worked hard on being nominated for Today on Muppet Wiki, we have no community awards, no "carrot" as of yet. Devising one might not be a bad idea at all, though (maybe a special Muppet themed character logo or something comes to mind).
- Anyway, I'll leave it to Danny and others to add to this discussion. I need to get off to work myself and deal with real life problems, but that's my perspective on this. --Andrew, Aleal 14:24, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
- Ha -- I was just working on a long explanation of the policy, and Andrew posted while I was writing it! I'm going to post mine anyway -- it may be repetitive, but now you've got responses from both of us.
- Hi, guys. It's nice to see you again, Sannse, and nice to meet you, Jimbo! I'm happy to talk about this policy, because I actually think it's one of the best things about our wiki. Once we'd tried it out for a while, I was going to talk to Sannse again about it, because I think it could be a model for other wikis. We've been using it for a month, and so far it's been very successful.
- You don't get the full idea of it from looking at the policy, so here's how the whole thing works. Like you said, we have four admins and an active community, so we check recent changes all the time. New users always get welcome messages, so it's easy to look at the list and spot the red "Talk" links. So every new anonymous user gets this message as soon as they post their first edit:
- That's not written down as a policy, because we don't need to -- it's just something that we do, every time. That message is a template -- [[Template:Welcome]] -- and there's at least four non-admins here who regularly post welcome messages for new people. It's become a nice community value, that we say hi to people as soon as they come in.
- If the person doesn't sign in and they post more edits, then they get the User Name box:
- Now, here's the thing. This is a crucial moment in the relationship between this user and the group. I've done a lot of group work professionally, and I know some things about how groups function. When you're a new person entering an established group, there's a moment where you have to surrender a little bit of your personal freedom in order to fit into the group. That's true in any social situation -- a party, a classroom, an office, a fan club, anything. There's always rules that you have to follow, or you won't be welcomed into the group.
- Now, every group has its own rules, based on what kind of group it is. We're a collaborative project, a group of people working together on a common goal. The way that we bring new people in is to make sure that they have a stable identity, so that we can communicate with them.
- So the point of the User Name policy is that it creates a relationship between the new user and the group. A member of the group is saying, hi, here's my name, here's the FAQ, let me know if I can help -- and what we're asking for is for the user to say hi back to us. If this is somebody who we're going to be working with, that doesn't seem like a lot to ask.
- So that's the crucial moment. We say hi to the new user, and the user hasn't said hi back. After five edits, we say, okay, here's a clear boundary. We expect you to communicate with us. If the user makes another edit, then essentially, they're ignoring us, and demonstrating that they really don't care about the group.
- If somebody gets blocked, then this is the reason that's given: "Muppet Wiki User Name policy -- Write to Toughpigs@gmail.com to get the block removed." That's my e-mail address. If the user decides that they want to create a username, then they can write to me, I'll remove the block, and we're all good. If there's been a mistake -- if somebody is blocked who doesn't deserve to be, because of shifting IP addresses -- then they can write to me and we can figure it out.
- We've been using this policy for a month now, and I have to say, it's been amazingly successful. Before we started using the policy, the admins were getting kind of burned out, checking all the anonymous posts, reverting things, cleaning up after a handful of irresponsible anonymous users. It felt like the most active contributors were spending their time babysitting the anonymous users instead of actually being productive on the wiki.
- Using the policy, we've built a really amazing group of users. The wiki was founded three months ago, and we have almost 50 active contributors and over 7,000 pages. I'd say that pretty much speaks for itself as evidence that our policies help to build a strong community.
- I don't think the policy chases off good users at all, and I'll give you two examples. Two days ago, User:126.96.36.199 started posting on the wiki for the first time. We posted a welcome message on his talk page. He didn't sign in, so after seven edits, we posted the User Name box. His response was to create a user name -- User:Celestial77 -- and keep on adding to the wiki. Yesterday, the exact same thing happened -- User:188.8.131.52 got the User Name warning, signed in as User:Wile e2005, and kept contributing.
- We've had at least five new users sign in and start contributing since Monday. We have very little vandalism, and our contributors are productive and happy. If this is what an unfriendly wiki looks like, then I'm pretty comfortable having an "unfriendly" wiki.
- I think some internet users make a fetish out of anonymity. Being anonymous is very helpful in a lot of ways, especially when you need privacy. I don't think it works in a social situation, like collaborating on a project.
- People need to have stable identities in a group like this, because having a stable identity makes communication possible. Communication builds trust, which builds a community spirit, and that's essential to productive collaboration.
- Having unstable identities makes communication difficult, which leads to mistrust and misunderstandings, and eventually flaming and edit wars.
- Personally, I think the User Name policy could be a model for other wikis to use. I invite you to think of this as an experiment in how to run a wiki. Spend some time here, and see how it works. Check out the recent changes list, and watch the flow. Watch how people communicate with each other, and what a new user's experience is like. I think if you do that for a little while, you'll change your mind about the User Name policy. -- Danny Toughpigs 14:41, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, very very excellent analysis. It seems you have absolutely got the wiki spirit. :) I have hardly ever seen such a wonderful analysis of what makes a healthy community.
This is a successful and happy community with a very happy mission. There really is no reason to put up with vandalism that's for sure. I guess the only recommendation I would make then, is that perhaps the policy could be enforced a little more gently than blocking?
Like, you mentioned that some of the people who bumped into this seemed to be making perfectly nice grammar edits. Maybe the idea could be that the admin who is looking at a particular 6-edit case could be trusted to make a judgment as to whether to just go ahead and block (like if the person seems in ANY WAY to be trouble) or to reach out with another friendly hug.
The basic idea here I have no problem with: if you don't sign in, you don't have the same civil rights in the community as a registered user. That is true at Wikipedia and it is true under your policy. And obviously experimentation is good. I just wonder if blocking on the 6th edit is such a good idea, if the person seems to be doing good work and causing no harm. Dunno really.
I won't stand in your way, but I do encourage ongoing experimentation with being as soft about it as you can. Sometimes people won't log in because they didn't really pay attention to the 5 edit rule, or they assume that login will take a long time and require them to give an email address, etc. Seems a shame to lose those good people, that's all.--Jimbo Wales 15:06, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
- Yeah, that's a good thought. We can definitely look at making it a little more gentle. Andrew did a little analysis in his response, looking at the people who have been blocked so far, and seeing what kind of edits they were making. I think now that we've been using the policy for a month, we can look at that, and figure out how to extend the policy, and keep those few people who seem to be productive.
- I hope now that you're here, you take the opportunity to look around! I think we have a cool little wiki going here, and it's nice to know you're checking it out. -- Danny Toughpigs 15:15, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
- You certainly do have a cool wiki, and it's good to see it developing nicely :) I think your analysis was useful, and I agree it's good to try things out. I can't say I am totally convinced, I like the idea of anons being able edit freely, but it will be interesting to see how this works out. Jimbo's idea of softening it sounds good to me too. And perhaps you could point new people to the help page I linked to above, if you think it's useful. You could add it here and adapt it to fit Muppets better of course. Good to talk to you again as well Danny -- sannse (talk) 15:29, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
This policy rocks!
- This is great. Feeling like contributing? Get 5 free. After that, we want to know who you are. Fabulous. Wonderful. Fantastic. Applause. Cheers from the Balcony! I wish more wikis had the same idea.
- PS No, the irony of leaving an unsigned comment is not lost on me :)
- 4 August 20:55 UTC MrDolomite@Wikipedia et al
- LOL, forgot about the one-wiki-signon-everywhere. — MrDolomite | Talk 21:15, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
- Hi there! I'm glad to hear you like the idea -- I'm hoping it'll spread. I'm trying to talk to other wikis about it... -- Danny (talk) 02:00, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
Why not just disable editing from unregistered users? Then they're forced to log in. Serov 15:07, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
Using the policy on other wikis
EH1 has asked me to use this policy at Neverwinter. I don't think I should just make it appear without a concensus so there is a discussion at w:c:nwn:Forum:Neverwinter User Name policy. Any thoughts? Actually, if you do have any thoughts, you'd be better off going to w:c:nwn:Forum:Neverwinter User Name policy. Note to the Muppet Wiki community, sorry for stealing any users that might just follow that link. --lE☺N2323 21:34, 14 December 2006 (UTC)