Wikitravel:Come trattare le modifiche involontarie
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This document deals with how we, as Wikitravellers, deal with unwanted edits.
[Modifica sezione] What is an unwanted edit?
Unwanted edits are contributions made to Wikitravel that don't jibe with our politiche e linee guida and manuale di stile. Such edits don't help us get towards our obiettivi of making a free, complete, up-to-date and reliable world-wide travel guide. Some examples of unwanted edits are listed below, along with our strategy with dealing with them.
One may ask why unwanted edits are, in fact, unwanted. Sure, they may not get us towards our goals, but why not just leave them on Wikitravel anyways? The answer is that unwanted contributions clutter the guides, making it harder for travellers to find the information they're looking for. In addition, they make it harder for contributors to find where to share their knowledge, or may give them the wrong idea about our project and what kind of knowledge we want.
One thing to note is that we talk about unwanted edits, and not unwanted editors. Wikitravel is open to anyone who has knowledge to share, wants to help us reach our goals, and is willing to work with other contributors to get there (see: Wikitravel:Condizioni di uso for more information). The lifeblood of any Wiki Web site is the ability of any reader to add, edit, and delete information on the Web site. For Wikitravel in particular, we absolutely depend on a large pool of casual readers to share their knowledge about places around the world.
[Modifica sezione] Executive summary
For the impatient, here's the basic idea: the basis of Wikitravel's editorial integrity is that a large community of editors with their head on straight can revert and correct unwanted edits made through ignorance or malice by individuals. In other words, if someone makes an unwanted edit, someone else reverts it. In case it's needed, that someone else informs the first someone what was wrong, and maybe tries to help them do it better next time.
It's a community solution to the problem of unwanted edits. It's based on the idea that there are more people interested in fixing and correcting unwanted edits than there are people making them. So far, it's worked. It works for a lot of wikis. It's a pretty darn good system.
[Modifica sezione] Simple cases
These are some simple cases of unwanted edits.
[Modifica sezione] Graffiti
Graffiti is when a user puts graffiti-like off-topic messages into Wikitravel pages. Examples: "BOB IS GAY", "asdfasdfasdfasdf", "Does this really work?" Most graffiti is simply a test that the Wiki principles we espouse are actually in use. The editor is in effect asking, "Can anyone write anything on any page?" The answer, of course, is yes, indeed, they can. Another common bit of graffiti is selecting the entire contents of a page, deleting it, and saving the now blank page. This, also, works.
Graffiti can be a first step to becoming a real contributor. For this reason, it's best to treat graffiti as experimentation, and simply ripristinare the edited page to its previous ungraffitied version. A messaggio to the person who made the graffiti edit, letting them know that it was noticed, and that they're welcome to make more valuable contributions to the guide. It can also help to point them to the Graffiti wall, where they can practice their Wiki markup skills without scribbling on regular pages.
[Modifica sezione] Vandalism
Vandalism is when a user deliberately replaces page content in a way that damages or destroys an article. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between vandalism and graffiti. However, vandals will tend to ignore pleas to stop their activities. Persistent vandalism activity should be posted on Wikitravel:Vandalismi in corso so everyone can help repair the damage. Vandals tend to stop only when they realise their changes are removed faster than they can post them.
[Modifica sezione] WikiSpam
WikiSpam is where a user deliberately posts lots of irrelevant links on wiki pages. Their reason for doing this is to improve their website's page ranking in a Google search. They may not even care if their edits are reverted, as once their links are posted they sit in the page history, where the Googlebot and other search engines can find them. Disallowing seach engines from history pages defeats the WikiSpammer's intentions, as does submitting the spam to http://spammers.chongqed.org/.
[Modifica sezione] Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes -- spelling errors, typos, punctuation gaffes, factual errors, bad article names or page formatting that doesn't conform to the manuale di stile. The easiest way to deal with mistakes is to correct them. If a contributor continues to make mistakes, it can be helpful to send them a messaggio letting them know what they're doing wrong, and perhaps pointing them to the page on the manual of style that describes the correct way to do what they're doing.
It's important to be friendly when telling people about mistakes. Almost all mistakes happen due to ignorance and not stupidity or outright malice. Let them know that their input is valuable, but that it makes it easier for other editors if they do it right the first time.
[Modifica sezione] Challenges to policy
Sometimes contributors who make mistakes just won't agree that what they're doing is wrong, no matter what the policy says. Such a refusal is a challenge to policy. A challenge to policy is an opportunity for our community to review the policy in question. Is our policy really the right way to serve travellers and make a good travel guide? If so, is it stated well, or does the explanation need to be clarified to make the policy more explicit? Do we explain why the policy is the way it is -- even if it's just an arbitrary decision one way or another?
Challenges to policy help improve our community. They give us incentive to make our policies clearer, fairer, and more effective towards reaching our goals. In addition, having policies based on input from lots of people makes our policies fairer and lets all contributors feel "ownership" towards the project.
If you tell a contributor about a mistake, and they challenge the policy that defines that mistake, point out the page that explains that policy, and suggest that they explain on the pagina delle discussioni why they disagree with the policy. If the policy hasn't been fully stated or elaborated, feel free to update the policy page to state it more clearly, or give the reasons why it's policy. If there's no page for the policy at all, but just "general ideas", suggest that the contributor bring up the issue on the Bar dei viaggiatori.
One thing to avoid is to tell people, "That's just the way it is." Contributors need to feel that they're part of the community and have a say in the decision-making process. It's up to the contributor to decide whether they can live with the policy or not; they're always welcome to work on another project, but it's not up to you to tell them.
[Modifica sezione] Copyright violations
Copyright violations are contributions of text or images that the contributor didn't create themselves, and didn't get the original author's permission to license under our copyleft policy. This kind of contribution is occasionally made by overzealous editors who think it's more important to have lots of information in Wikitravel, forgetting our goal that the information has to be free, too.
Searching on Google for some key phrases in text is a quick way to find if the text has been copied from somewhere else. Another clue is that text copied from Wikipedia (which uses the GNU Free Documentation License, which is incompatible with our license) often has [[lots]] of [[Wiki links]] [[everywhere]] to [[subjects]] not usually found in a [[travel guide]].
If a text edit is a copyright violation, simply revert the edit, and add a note on the Talk: page explaining where the text came from and why it was removed. It can sometimes be helpful to send a message to the user who posted the text, pointing out our copyleft. As usual, a gentle approach, without recrimination, is the best way to make sure that a contributor continues to help with our guide.
If an image is a copyright violation, remove the image from any pages that are using it, and list the image on the Pagine da cancellare page. Again, a polite note to the uploader explaining our copyleft can be helpful. (A Google image search is a quick way to find if an image has been copied from another Web site.)
[Modifica sezione] Harder cases
These are some harder cases to deal with.
[Modifica sezione] Excess baggage
One specific type of mistake, probably worth pointing out here, is when contributors bring excess baggage to Wikitravel. Everyone in the world has opinions, ideas, beliefs and causes, and it'd be kind of weird if anyone contributing to Wikitravel held our goals and not their own. But when a contributor doesn't respect our goals at all, and merely wants to use our Website as a soapbox to broadcast their opinion, well... we have a problem.
Our official content policy is to use the traveler's point of view for articles. This means that we don't espouse any particular ideas about culture, religion, nations, politics, or other non-travel topics. We also don't espouse any particular philosophies of travel, but try instead to provide information for as wide a range of travelers as possible. In addition, we don't endorse or advertise any particular travel businesses, services, or venues, but try to give them fair and honest reviews.
The easiest way to deal with edits that espouse a particular point of view is to correct the edit. Remove advocacy, and if the issue could have any importance to travelers in particular, explain the issue in an objective way. Generalize advertisements for businesses or services into suggestions for the activity or destination, and perhaps a review of the business or service. If necessary, add a note to the Talk: page for the article as to why you changed the content, and if you want send a message to the person who made the edit.
[Modifica sezione] Trolling
The basis for a lot of humor in the English-speaking world is tweaking the tail of authority figures, zealots, and the self-righteous. The Internet example of this is trolling -- a practice of disrupting an online community for amusement. People who troll -- themselves often called "trolls" -- enjoy seeing someone get all red in the face over an issue they themselves don't actually care about in the least. The more people that get in the argument, the more successful the troll.
(Note that sometimes the term "troll" is generalized to mean what this document calls "excess baggage", and even to mean what this document calls "challenges to policy". Because the word is emotionally charged, it's probably not a good idea to mix those (at least sincere) concepts with deliberate disruption.)
There are any number of trolling techniques, but most involve starting an argument through feigned ignorance or advocacy, then fanning the flames with outrageous assertions or personal attacks.
The best way to protect yourself and Wikitravel against trolling is to keep an open mind and not take yourself or the site too seriously. Keethe ban for 3 days would be unsupportable. However, the administrator has to put the ban on the nominations page, also, and if the vote doesn't pass, the ban is removed. Bans made without a vote and without an understanding of the gravity of this action are considered abuse by the administrator. In other words, a user ban is a really, really big deal.
[Modifica sezione] Scripts
A slightly less dramatic reason to employ a user ban is for unauthorized or erroneous scripts. As mentioned above, our editorial integrity depends on the community of editors checking and correcting each other's mistakes. But it can be hard, if not impossible, to correct the mistakes of a buggy or malicious automated editing script.
We have a politica script that outlines how to write scripts that edit Wikitravel pages in a safe and sane way. There are a couple of ways of stopping a well-behaved script without employing a user ban; see the script policy page for details.
However, if a script is badly-behaved -- due to programming error or malicious intent -- an administrator can and should put a user ban on the IP address and/or user account the script is using. Again, the administrator should note the ban on the user ban nominations page, and the same procedure applies as for other bans.
These are some external links that explain the ideas and philosophy behind this process.
- MeatBall:SoftSecurity -- the quintessential description of dealing with unwanted edits