[WikiEN-l] Admin burnout

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Re: Admin burnout

geni
On 2/11/07, William Pietri <[hidden email]> wrote:
> As to the first, that's why I said "almost", but I gather you mean that
> a rogue with the sysop bit can cause vastly more cleanup work than a
> regular editor. Is that right?
>

I can think of attack lines that would force a rollback the database
or weeks of cleanup.

They do exist.

> As to the second, isn't that a chicken and egg problem? All of those
> things evolved around having to deal with editorial vandalism. If you
> rule out any improvement that requires similar evolution, it seems like
> a generic argument for stasis. If the argument had been applied at the
> beginning, it would have ruled out open editability, period.
>
> If the problem is that the current structure hasn't evolved to deal with
> Y, where Y is a potential harm from an otherwise good X, then isn't the
> solution is to allow a controlled amount of X to allow the structure to
> evolve? Or at least to see if the cost of mediating Y ends up being
> under the benefit of X?
>
> William

You want to try dealing with vandels who you can't effectively block
and can hit every page one wikipedia? Admins are to a large extent our
solution to problem editing. The same solution won't work for problem
admins. You are free to suggest ways of dealing with that but remeber
they need to be >99.98% effective.

--
geni

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Re: Deleting orphaned unfree images

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by William Pietri
> I guess the articles I tend to edit must be unusually low traffic if you
> feel 24 hours is sufficient to conclusively determine consensus on some
> editorial question. Sorry for butting in.

It's enough time to determine if more time is needed. Admins are
selected for their good judgement - try trusting them. The deleting
admin just needs to click on the link to the article in the fair use
rationale (if it doesn't state the article [and it's not just that the
image page has been edited recently], then the image should be deleted
straight away), and see if the removal was controversial. If some
controversy starts after the 24 hours is up, then the image can be
re-uploaded, or undeleted. Neither is much work. I would imagine any
admin would undelete an image under such circumstances if asked.

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Re: Admin burnout (deputy admins)

geni
In reply to this post by Arne 'Timwi' Heizmann
On 2/11/07, Timwi <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I think you got this backwards. If the RfA process is so strict and
> everyone then "trusts" the people who are made admins, surely that makes
> it much easier for those admins to wreak havoc (whether intentional or
> not). Surely *that* makes the whole project more unworkable.
>
> Adminship should not have anything to do with trust at all.

You have no choice:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ALog&type=delete&user=&page=

There is nop humane way to check to see if all those deleations were
correct and within policy.

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Re: Deleting orphaned unfree images

geni
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On 2/11/07, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:
> It's enough time to determine if more time is needed. Admins are
> selected for their good judgement - try trusting them. The deleting
> admin just needs to click on the link to the article in the fair use
> rationale (if it doesn't state the article [and it's not just that the
> image page has been edited recently], then the image should be deleted
> straight away), and see if the removal was controversial. If some
> controversy starts after the 24 hours is up, then the image can be
> re-uploaded, or undeleted. Neither is much work. I would imagine any
> admin would undelete an image under such circumstances if asked.

So some knocks out the image 00.01 sunday with the result that no one
notices before 00.01 monday and image gets deleted when it should not
have been. No 7 days means it is generaly fairly safe to assume that
any contrivery will be mentioned on the page or is all over.

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geni

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Re: Admin burnout (deputy admins)

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by geni
> You have no choice:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ALog&type=delete&user=&page=
>
> There is nop humane way to check to see if all those deleations were
> correct and within policy.

Well, we can do deletion log patrol, just as we do recent changes
patrol at the moment. Spotting the vandalism isn't too hard, it's
cleaning up after it when you have no greater powers than the vandals
which is hard. It's not impossible, and if we would get significant
gain out of giving everyone access to the delete button then it might
be worth it, but we would get very little gain, so it's simply not
worth the hassle.

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Re: Deleting orphaned unfree images

William Pietri
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
Thomas Dalton wrote:

>> I guess the articles I tend to edit must be unusually low traffic if you
>> feel 24 hours is sufficient to conclusively determine consensus on some
>> editorial question. Sorry for butting in.
>>    
>
> It's enough time to determine if more time is needed. Admins are
> selected for their good judgement - try trusting them. The deleting
> admin just needs to click on the link to the article in the fair use
> rationale (if it doesn't state the article [and it's not just that the
> image page has been edited recently], then the image should be deleted
> straight away), and see if the removal was controversial. If some
> controversy starts after the 24 hours is up, then the image can be
> re-uploaded, or undeleted. Neither is much work. I would imagine any
> admin would undelete an image under such circumstances if asked.
>  

I don't think either one is much work for the admin, but I think it's
the kind of thing that can take the wind out of an editor's sails,
especially a relative newbie, for whom this will be a fair bit of work.
What's the harm you're seeing it waiting a week?

Oh, and generally I do trust admins to use good judgment. But especially
given that they're overworked, it seems like we should pick defaults
that are reasonable, and require as little use of that good judgment as
possible.

Thanks,

William

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Re: Admin burnout (deputy admins)

William Pietri
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:

>> Adminship should not have anything to do with trust at all.
>>    
>
> You have no choice:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ALog&type=delete&user=&page=
>
> There is nop humane way to check to see if all those deleations were
> correct and within policy.
>  

I thought the theory was that editors check that work, yes? We trust
editors to check each other, and I had assumed that the same mechanism
was the main check on administrative error and malfeasance.


William

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Re: Deleting orphaned unfree images

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by geni
> So some knocks out the image 00.01 sunday with the result that no one
> notices before 00.01 monday and image gets deleted when it should not
> have been. No 7 days means it is generaly fairly safe to assume that
> any contrivery will be mentioned on the page or is all over.

And for those 7 days we are breaking the law. Copyright violation is
illegal, and having an unlicensed image on Wikipedia without it being
acceptable under fair use (and if it isn't used on any pages, then it
isn't acceptable under fair use) is copyright violation.

IANAL, but I think we can justify 24 hours of violation while we work
out what we should do, I don't think we can justify 7 days. Not when
it is so easy to undo a deletion.

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Re: Deleting orphaned unfree images

William Pietri
Thomas Dalton wrote:

>> So some knocks out the image 00.01 sunday with the result that no one
>> notices before 00.01 monday and image gets deleted when it should not
>> have been. No 7 days means it is generaly fairly safe to assume that
>> any contrivery will be mentioned on the page or is all over.
>>    
>
> And for those 7 days we are breaking the law. Copyright violation is
> illegal, and having an unlicensed image on Wikipedia without it being
> acceptable under fair use (and if it isn't used on any pages, then it
> isn't acceptable under fair use) is copyright violation.
>
> IANAL, but I think we can justify 24 hours of violation while we work
> out what we should do, I don't think we can justify 7 days. Not when
> it is so easy to undo a deletion.
>  

If it comes down to a legal question, perhaps you could ask for a legal
opinion? I can think of a couple of reasonable justifications, and I'm
sure others can think of many more. But I've never found amateur
lawyering to be particularly productive.

William

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Re: Admin burnout (deputy admins)

geni
In reply to this post by William Pietri
On 2/11/07, William Pietri <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I thought the theory was that editors check that work, yes? We trust
> editors to check each other, and I had assumed that the same mechanism
> was the main check on administrative error and malfeasance.


Nah. Unless you are rather unluckly or do something stupid you would
be unlikely to be caught slipping in a few non legit deletions along
with the legit ones.

--
geni

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Re: Deleting orphaned unfree images

geni
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On 2/11/07, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > So some knocks out the image 00.01 sunday with the result that no one
> > notices before 00.01 monday and image gets deleted when it should not
> > have been. No 7 days means it is generaly fairly safe to assume that
> > any contrivery will be mentioned on the page or is all over.
>
> And for those 7 days we are breaking the law.

who is we? see DMCA safe harbour.

> Copyright violation is
> illegal, and having an unlicensed image on Wikipedia without it being
> acceptable under fair use (and if it isn't used on any pages, then it
> isn't acceptable under fair use) is copyright violation.
>
> IANAL,

Neither am I but we have people who know rather a lot about copyright
involved in our deletion policies. I think it is safe to say if there
was a problem they would have told us.

>but I think we can justify 24 hours of violation while we work
> out what we should do, I don't think we can justify 7 days. Not when
> it is so easy to undo a deletion.

The foundation doesn't have to do anything until it gets a DMCA takedown notice.

--
geni

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Re: Admin burnout

Rich Holton
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:

> On 2/11/07, William Pietri <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> As to the first, that's why I said "almost", but I gather you mean that
>> a rogue with the sysop bit can cause vastly more cleanup work than a
>> regular editor. Is that right?
>>
>
> I can think of attack lines that would force a rollback the database
> or weeks of cleanup.
>
> They do exist.
>
>> As to the second, isn't that a chicken and egg problem? All of those
>> things evolved around having to deal with editorial vandalism. If you
>> rule out any improvement that requires similar evolution, it seems like
>> a generic argument for stasis. If the argument had been applied at the
>> beginning, it would have ruled out open editability, period.
>>
>> If the problem is that the current structure hasn't evolved to deal with
>> Y, where Y is a potential harm from an otherwise good X, then isn't the
>> solution is to allow a controlled amount of X to allow the structure to
>> evolve? Or at least to see if the cost of mediating Y ends up being
>> under the benefit of X?
>>
>> William
>
> You want to try dealing with vandels who you can't effectively block
> and can hit every page one wikipedia? Admins are to a large extent our
> solution to problem editing. The same solution won't work for problem
> admins. You are free to suggest ways of dealing with that but remeber
> they need to be >99.98% effective.
>

If there are things that admins can do NOW that could cause us to have
to roll-back two weeks, then there is an immediate problem NOW, not
connected to any change in our selection procedure for admins. No
selection procedure will be 99.98% effective, and the damage of
attempting to achieve that is just too great.

Sleepers are certainly possible through the current RfA process. You
don't think someone determined enough to want to damage Wikipedia in the
way you're describing couldn't jump through the RfA hoops?

So, shall we remove the admin bit from anyone who admits to knowing how
to cause such damage? Or shall we immediately take steps to make it so
such damage is impossible?

-Rich

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Re: Deleting orphaned unfree images

Bryan Derksen
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
Thomas Dalton wrote:
> I'm not sure why we give people so long - they can upload the image
> again if they find a use for it. I would suggest reducing it to 24
> hours (enough to account for images being removed from articles
> without consensus, any longer is unnecessary), but I'm not really
> involved in the image side of things, so I'll leave it to someone
> else.

Images might be orphans due to vanadalism on some other article, and
there's no way to check that directly from the image page itself. If
orphaned fair use images were more rapidly deleted then vandalism on the
low-traffic pages that use them becomes a lot more destructive.

And it's not necessarily that easy to reupload an image. The original
uploader might be long gone from Wikipedia, or he might not have
retained a local copy of it, etc.

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Re: Admin burnout

geni
In reply to this post by Rich Holton
On 2/11/07, Rich Holton <[hidden email]> wrote:
> If there are things that admins can do NOW that could cause us to have
> to roll-back two weeks, then there is an immediate problem NOW,

Since most of the attacks use fundimental admin powers that have more
legit uses there isn't much to be done.

Rollback wouldn't be two weeks but to the last copy saved before the
attack began.

> not
> connected to any change in our selection procedure for admins. No
> selection procedure will be 99.98% effective, and the damage of
> attempting to achieve that is just too great.
>

Current system appears to be pretty close. depending on how you define
it iw has a rate of 100 or 99.91%.

> Sleepers are certainly possible through the current RfA process. You
> don't think someone determined enough to want to damage Wikipedia in the
> way you're describing couldn't jump through the RfA hoops?
>

I would be impressed if someone managed it.

> So, shall we remove the admin bit from anyone who admits to knowing how
> to cause such damage?

No we need people who know what can be done so they can spot and stop
it. Of course by then then it would likely be too late but it is
better than nothing

>Or shall we immediately take steps to make it so
> such damage is impossible?

For various reasons that would be rather tricky and the devs have
other priorities.

--
geni

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Re: Admin burnout

Bryan Derksen
In reply to this post by Rich Holton
Rich Holton wrote:
> If there are things that admins can do NOW that could cause us to have
> to roll-back two weeks, then there is an immediate problem NOW, not
> connected to any change in our selection procedure for admins. No
> selection procedure will be 99.98% effective, and the damage of
> attempting to achieve that is just too great.

Geni said "weeks of cleanup OR a rollback of the database", not both. I
don't see what possible vandalism could require a rollback to a point
before the vandalism actually started happening. The vandalism would
have to be pretty stealthy to be ongoing for two weeks.

> So, shall we remove the admin bit from anyone who admits to knowing how
> to cause such damage? Or shall we immediately take steps to make it so
> such damage is impossible?

Bit of a false dilemma there. Considering these methods of admin
vandalism have been available for quite some time and I don't know of
any actually being used, how about leaving things as they are?

I can think of an approach right off the top of my head to cause major
havoc using my admin powers that I wouldn't be able to undo with any
conventional tools. I've been an admin since mid 2002 and was at one
point the most prolific human editor (before AWB came along, grumble
mumble :) so hopefully I've got enough trust built up to avoid being
de-admined for admitting this.

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Re: Deleting orphaned unfree images

Stephen Bain
In reply to this post by Bryan Derksen
On 2/11/07, Bryan Derksen <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Images might be orphans due to vanadalism on some other article, and
> there's no way to check that directly from the image page itself. If
> orphaned fair use images were more rapidly deleted then vandalism on the
> low-traffic pages that use them becomes a lot more destructive.

As Thomas said above, for images claimed as fair use, one simply needs
to check the fair use rationale on the image description page to see
which articles the image is claimed to be fair use in. If there is no
such rationale, then the image is speedy deleteable anyway.

> And it's not necessarily that easy to reupload an image. The original
> uploader might be long gone from Wikipedia, or he might not have
> retained a local copy of it, etc.

Completely unnecessary: image undeletion has been available since June
last year. It's as trivial to undelete an image mistakenly deleted as
it is to undelete an article mistakenly deleted.

On a tangential note, I proposed last month that all the "waiting
periods" in the image criteria be removed, since they were only added
in the first place because image undeletion didn't exist at the time.
The only good argument I heard against the proposal was that bots like
OrphanBot need some waiting period in which to do their business. I
don't see why images can't simply be put into a pool for bots like
OrphanBot to work on, then put into another pool to be deleted
immediately - with no further delays - once the bots are done.

--
Stephen Bain
[hidden email]

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Re: Deleting orphaned unfree images

Bryan Derksen
Stephen Bain wrote:
> On a tangential note, I proposed last month that all the "waiting
> periods" in the image criteria be removed, since they were only added
> in the first place because image undeletion didn't exist at the time.
> The only good argument I heard against the proposal was that bots like
> OrphanBot need some waiting period in which to do their business. I
> don't see why images can't simply be put into a pool for bots like
> OrphanBot to work on, then put into another pool to be deleted
> immediately - with no further delays - once the bots are done.

Waiting periods gives more opportunity for human review. I usually turn
this issue around and ask why we _shouldn't_ have a waiting period. The
length of a queue doesn't alter the throughput; the same amount of
deletion can be done with a queue or without one, and with the same
amount of work.

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Re: Deleting orphaned unfree images

Stan Shebs-2
In reply to this post by William Pietri
William Pietri wrote:
> The 7 days here or 5 for proposed article deletion seems like a
> reasonable balance between friendliness and tidiness, but I'd be a
> little frustrated to find that something I was working on was gone
> because I'd taken the weekend off.
>  
In fact I have a real-life example, where I was on vacation for a couple
weeks, during which some vandal blanked half of a stamp-related article,
which included the only refs to some fair-use scans I had made. Nobody
but me watching the article apparently, so the vandalism went
unreverted; then somebody came along and marked the now-unused images as
orphans, them somebody else deleted, all before I got back. Apparently
nobody thought it odd that a longtime WP admin would be uploading unused
fair-use images! Fortunately I had local copies - stamp scanning and
post-scan cleanup is sufficiently laborious that without the backups, I
probably wouldn't have troubled to redo the work.

Stan


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Re: Deleting orphaned unfree images

Stephen Bain
In reply to this post by Bryan Derksen
On 2/11/07, Bryan Derksen <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Stephen Bain wrote:
> > On a tangential note, I proposed last month that all the "waiting
> > periods" in the image criteria be removed, since they were only added
> > in the first place because image undeletion didn't exist at the time.
> > The only good argument I heard against the proposal was that bots like
> > OrphanBot need some waiting period in which to do their business. I
> > don't see why images can't simply be put into a pool for bots like
> > OrphanBot to work on, then put into another pool to be deleted
> > immediately - with no further delays - once the bots are done.
>
> Waiting periods gives more opportunity for human review. I usually turn
> this issue around and ask why we _shouldn't_ have a waiting period. The
> length of a queue doesn't alter the throughput; the same amount of
> deletion can be done with a queue or without one, and with the same
> amount of work.

Work is not increased in all cases; for example when a non-admin tags
an image as being eligible for deletion, an admin must later review
the image and delete it or not. This would still be necessary whether
or not there was a fixed waiting period. But work is increased where
an admin must tag an image, then wait a week to come back and delete
it. We empower admins to decide whether things meet the criteria

The waiting periods were indeed introduced for images to allow for
human review. But none were introduced for articles, templates,
portals etc. The reason was that those pages could be reviewed after
they were deleted, whereas images couldn't. But since June, images can
also be undeleted. There is no other factor that makes images special.
Either waiting periods should be introduced for all types speedy
deletion, or they should be removed for images.

--
Stephen Bain
[hidden email]

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Re: Admin burnout

Matthew Britton-2
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:
> You want to try dealing with vandels who you can't effectively block
> and can hit every page one wikipedia?

When I left, the delay between me hitting the "save" button to post my
de-adminship request on Meta and the sysop bit being removed was about
150 seconds. That included time spent indicating to the steward handling
the request, via IRC, that I really did want to be de-adminned.

So I fail to see where this inability to block comes in. That's a lot
quicker than the response time for the average AIV request, for example.
The stewards know what to do; in an emergency, they would be able to act
just as fast, if not faster.

Bryan Derksen wrote:
 > I can think of an approach right off the top of my head to cause major
 > havoc using my admin powers that I wouldn't be able to undo with any
 > conventional tools.

If the servers were being exceptionally responsive, you might just
manage 40 edits/actions before you were stopped, assuming someone using
IRC noticed your first action (which, if they are intended to have the
effect you suggest, is pretty likely). No matter what those actions are,
they can be reversed, usually quickly. Simply making as many blocks or
deletions as possible would have no lasting effect. Changing the various
MediaWiki pages could do all sorts of things, but such changes can be
reverted like any others (at most, someone would need to disable
JavaScript and select a custom skin in order to do so). About the worst
you could do is try to do history merges on pages with long edit
histories (which are still reversible, just tedious to do), but the
amount of time they take you'd be lucky if you finished *one* in three
minutes. Also, attempting this on a page with a very long history will
likely just return a database timeout error (as does attempting to clear
a very large watchlist, for example), inconveniencing nobody but yourself.

-Gurch

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