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Forums: IndexCommunity discussionsPossible establishment of a userpage policy | Forum new Post

As some of you may be aware, a certain user who was permanently blocked the other day had been a major nuisance with his userpage as well as those of other users, as evident by his final contributions. From a quick overview it appears that this had been influenced by the commonly used "Friends lists" that appear on many userpages here. It also appears that he had used his userpage to post flamebait/attacking images of other user's activity in Chat.

While these kinds of issues don't happen too frequently, there's nothing saying that they won't happen again. With this in mind, I'd like to propose the possible implementation of a userpage policy outlining what you can and can't put on your userpage and (even though I'm sure this is a rule already) something saying that one shouldn't edit another's userpage without good reason.

Obviously we can say that anything that can be seen as offensive or distasteful is forbidden otherwise free reign is allowed but the point of discussion comes at editing other's userpages, particularly with friends lists. I do have my own personal opinions about friends lists on userpages but to allow for some serious discussion I'll vocally withhold my thoughts for now.

What's everybody's thoughts, views and ideas on this? Lost Labyrinth Flag united kingdom england (c)(b) 12:58, March 24, 2013 (UTC)


Well, I suppose we could have a rule in which in that you have to ask the person before you can add their name to your list, and they can remove themselves at any time. And perhaps we could have a rule in which in order to be able to copy and paste certain parts of a users page you have to ask. I'm Deskita Talk to me If you want 22:43, March 24, 2013 (UTC)

We've always held the standard that users should not edit other users pages without a good reason. This rule is widely enforced as it is, so I support "making it official." As for friends lists... I don't like them. Additionally, I think getting rid of them would ultimately prevent/eliminate a lot of drama between users who are/are not on each others' friends list. However... I don't necessarily know if getting rid of the lists is a viable option, since we'd be limiting - for the first time in the wiki's history - the content of a userpage. (Granted, we already control for content, but that is just to keep those pages in line with wiki content rules).

If the community chooses to kill friends lists - and I emphasize that the community at-large should be involved - then I support their elimination. Regardless, I would support an addition to the General Policies outlining acceptable actions for users editing other users userpages. In my mind, this policy would specify that edits to others' userpages can be made only to correct minor issues, fix formatting or revert vandalism. Additionally, users making these changes would have to leave an edit summary describing the action, and (possibly) leave a message on the user's talk page notifying them of the action. I was also thinking, perhaps we could use Abuse Filter to prompt users to confirm userspace edits (except to their own pages), so that they are aware of the rules before their edits are published.

That's all I've got for now. -- LostInRiverview talk ~ blog 22:46, March 24, 2013 (UTC)

To provide my opinion in a strictly Friend list aspect, I oppose regulation of it for the most part: most of the friend list additions are made between users that interact with each other in a positive way (Pidge for one added me first, and I added Star to my list, both users with which I interact (or interacted with) in a significant manner). I'd think that as the situation does tend to go rare, this issue isn't yet worthy enough to have a guideline. However, we may wish to set this to stone: "respect the other users who wish not to have their material (username or otherwise) posted in your userpage". Otherwise, I see no need for a policy. MILK FOR THE UNYUUFEX, FLAT CHEST FOR THE CUTENESS THRONE, SKULLS FOR THE SKULL PROBES (user talk:Mathetesalexandrou) 23:19, March 24, 2013 (UTC)

My opinion would probably go along the lines of Math's. Half of the people on my friendlist added themselves, and I've never experienced vandalism on my page by any one of them. At this time, I don't think there's a plausible reason to nuke the Friend List. For the most part, the people on Friend Lists are people that you have something in common with, or that you both worked together on a certain Fanon or commented on one, or just because you constantly talk on your talk pages, IRC, or Chat (though I only use talk page). We could implement the idea that Deskita suggested, or we could do something else. I, for one, allow people to add themselves to my friendlist, though if I don't appreciate their name there then I get rid of it. Personally, I disagree to eliminating them for the moment. MovinglucarioPGR7 (hablar - escuchar) 23:49, March 24, 2013 (UTC)

I've never really liked the friend lists (and I won't comment on them because I think this discussion is more about the policy), but I think it might be useful to add something to one of the policies policies explaining about not editing other user's user pages, something along the lines of what LostInRiverview stated above. ~ Waikikamukow (Anyone wanna chat?) 05:33, March 25, 2013 (UTC)

I recalled when Dev went around adding his name on many users' friend list, although I'm sure he didn't have bad intention. I think what Timmyy had done was generally an unacceptable behavior, albeit not too often, and we can always give users like this a stern reminder/notice about his behavior, or maybe TSW:ER, without the need of exclusive policies regarding userpages. Users like this wouldn't last for too long anyway.

As for friends list, I think friends list is personal. What a user exposes in their userpage depends on their own liking, and placing their own friends list is their own decision. I'm not sure if prohibiting them to show their friends list would avoid the drama (some users might have a small note saying any users can add themselves to the list), but we can't really limit what they want to write on their page. We do consider what not to include in userpage, like unacceptable languages, personal messages, or things in general, but I don't think friends list is a crime.

For editing other user's userpage, Abuse Filter might be good to prevent them to give them a notice before letting them publish their edits, or maybe requiring a permission or edit summary. Nikel Talk Vote! 14:01, March 25, 2013 (UTC)

I think that the Friend Lists are quite a major part in Userpages. They are growing quite hugely, especially in new users. Which is where the problem lies; I think that if we did have a policy then new users would have to read it, on first hand so they won't go causing trouble. But back to the matter at hand; Friend Lists are a good way to show who other Users think of as friends, and at the end of the day it is the users decision if they add it or not. And it is at their own risk if it is vandalised, and you can simply remove the username within a couple of minutes. HanaGoth96 (talk) 14:19, March 25, 2013 (UTC)

To be perfectly honest, I share LiR's thoughts on the friends lists because they can cause a lot of drama. However, prohibiting them completely would be almost impossible to enforce. While this doesn't solve every drama-related issue, I think that emphasising that other's userpages shouldn't be edited unless it's for maintenance purposes or to cleanup vandalism. I'd also support using Abusefilter to regulate this...if I can get it to work specifically on userpages that aren't the user's own rather than the whole User: namespace in general... Lost Labyrinth Flag united kingdom england (c)(b) 17:32, March 25, 2013 (UTC)

I agree with the proposition. Hurshbr (talk) 19:32, March 25, 2013 (UTC)Hurshbr P.S: Did I just sound pompous?

If we choose to keep friends lists (I need hardly interject my opinion again), then I would support and encourage a "hands-off" policy, i.e. you cannot add yourself to another user's list, as this could help mitigate some drama. But the general tone of the comments seem to suggest that users with friends lists would like to allow, rather than disallow, other users to add their names. Perhaps a policy write-up could include language which says something to the effect of: "Users may make other forms of edits (aside from vandalism cleanup and general minor fixes) only in sections designated by the userpage owner, or with the userpage owner's permission." Though again, I state that in the case where we keep friends lists, I support making them "Hands-off" rather than open. -- LostInRiverview talk ~ blog 20:43, March 25, 2013 (UTC)

I too would prefer the "Hands-off" system, otherwise this proposal is essentially pointless. Lost Labyrinth Flag united kingdom england (c)(b) 21:15, March 25, 2013 (UTC)

To be honest, I don't really like friends lists. Even though many here use them, they're not practical and they could cause drama like the others said. I'm not too sure if I want to see them disappear, but I don't like them either. Perhaps the best decision is to eliminate them completely?

As for people editing someone else's userpage... I don't really mind that, as long as the edit isn't anything that would change the content significantly. If we choose to keep friends list, I suggest that only the user can add friends on their list, and that should be agreed between the 2 users before anything's done, seeing that incidents happened before... Cavia (wheek speak) 21:52, March 25, 2013 (UTC)

My opinion is based solely on the example of friends lists on userpages. Though I am unsure if this has been previously mentioned, I suggest that we regulate the friends lists - however in a slightly different fashion. I am indifferent on friends lists, as I can see advantages and disadvantages. Though, I see no reason why all userpage friends lists should be regulated. I believe that forbidding administrators and/or bureaucrats from having friends lists would be just for two reasons.

  1. Admins are supposed to be available for all users to contact for help. However, imagine a scenario where a new user goes to an administrator's page for help. Seeing a 'friends list' could make them feel excluded and as if this administrator is exclusive; though this is not (and should not be) the case.
  2. The pages of administrators are likely to receive more traffic - and from this more traffic from trolls. A friends list is an easy list of more people that the troll can harass from whatever page they have originally come from. And from each userpage with friends list, the troll can access more and more userpages and vandalize more and more. A lot of vandalism, with an example being the recently blocked user mentioned in the original proposal, is towards administrators. If we did not have secondary links to the userpages of others, it would take the troll longer to find others to harass. They would likely get tired and bored.

--Bleeh(talk) (blog) 00:39, March 27, 2013 (UTC)

The issue I see here is that we try to emphasise that administrators are still users so it does seem a bit unfair to say "if you want to be an admin, you need to remove your friends list". I do agree with the two points you've made, though they can almost apply to any user being seeked for help. Unfortunately the only way to do this fairly is to eliminate friends lists outright but as I've already stated, it would be hell to enforce on a wide scale. Lost Labyrinth Flag united kingdom england (c)(b) 17:28, March 27, 2013 (UTC)

I feel that I have to give my opinion on this, especially because I have a friends list myself, one I created a long time ago. From my experience, I can conclude that many people add themselves to the friends list, especially new users who want to feel included in the community and feel excluded when they see friends list they are not part of, as stated above. The problem with this is that I find awkward and rude to remove them afterwards, even if I have not really interacted with them, it makes me feel exclusive indeed, as referred by Bleeh, so I don't do anything usually. I wouldn't really be bothered to remove my list. Due to this, I would be in favor of removing friends lists from admin userpages, but no so much in the case of regular users and rollbacks. However, it is more of a personal matter, but vandalism should be considered too. I believe it's right to think friends list can cause some drama, just like they have recently, though, it's not the only thing that can, and to prevent normal users from making one seems unfair to me. As for admin's cases, the best would be to remove them probably. Thank you for reading, --RoseGuiThanks rose (talk here) 09:27, March 27, 2013 (UTC)

Comment - I realise this thread is all over the place at the moment but as an aside, I've successfully written a filter that can be used to regulate userpage edits. The current setup allows for editing one's own userpage seamlessly but triggers a warning if you try to edit that of another user. The current filter allows bots and sysops to edit userpages if need be (for say, maintenance). Disallowing edits to other userpages under these conditions could probably be effective in combating almost all types of userpage vandalism. If anyone wants to test this out, login with your Wikia account (I'm using an extension which authorises with Wikia's API to import accounts, used it for a personal wiki fork) and try editing a load of userpages. I'm interested in what everyone thinks before I consider importing it here. Lost Labyrinth Flag united kingdom england (c)(b) 15:55, March 28, 2013 (UTC)

FWIW, I think that's the best for now, rather than restricting the friends list. I guess. Nikel Talk Vote! 15:04, March 29, 2013 (UTC)

I think ultimately the best solution to all these issues is to:

  1. Implement Lost Labyrinth's abuse filter modification, so that users are notified when they try to edit another user page.
  2. Add a rule stipulating that User page edits (except for your own) are allowed in order to clean up vandalism, fix minor spelling, grammar or formatting errors, or upon request of the page owner.
  3. Stipulate that friends lists are allowed, but that only the page owner can add people to the list.

I do still support friends list elimination altogether because I see this as resulting in drama no matter which way we go. If we stick with the status quo, users will still add themselves to lists of people who don't consider them friends, and there's a lot of drama potential in that. If we go with what I've suggested, you have the possibility of users becoming offended if a friends list owner doesn't add them to their list, which may be further exacerbated if the user then asks the owner on their talk page to be added to the list. Getting rid of friends lists seems to me to be the best solution, but I know I'm not going to win this argument so it's the last time I'm going to bring it up. -- LostInRiverview talk ~ blog 15:46, March 29, 2013 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. I too personally would rather friends lists were eliminated but then all the other issues would come into play. For now I'd say this is the best solution. Lost Labyrinth Flag united kingdom england (c)(b) 16:00, March 29, 2013 (UTC)
Sorry for being late to the discussion, but I think that we should just get rid of friends lists in general to avoid this sort of thing happening again. As well as that I think we should implement that abuse filter as well. Editing userpages for grammar I'm not sure about, some users might take it the wrong way. Reverting vandalism is fine. p.s. lrn2indent ђ talk 00:56, April 1, 2013 (UTC)

Keeping versus removing listsEdit

It has been a week since the last comment. Based on the comments thus far, there is no overwhelming consensus either for keeping or eliminating Friends Lists, though the general undertone seems to be towards keeping the lists, if for no other reason than because removal would be logistically difficult. Even if lists are kept, it seems as if there is a disagreement on whether or not users should be able to sign others' lists.

Seeing as the course of the policy which could be ultimately enacted seems to depend on deciding the Friends List issue, I suggest that we solve it first. Namely, do you support or oppose the removal of Friends Lists, and why? Please comment below, and we'll see where consensus lies. -- LostInRiverview talk ~ blog 04:41, April 8, 2013 (UTC)

I'd personally support eliminating friends lists altogether as it would eliminate a whole lot of drama. However the real question when discussing this is: Would it even be practical to enforce a wide scale elimination/prohibition of something like this? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It would be great if we could do this but gaining co-operation will probably be a different story altogether, I don't know that but the positives and negatives are wide open at the moment, this will be interesting... Lost Labyrinth Flag united kingdom england (c)(b) 21:41, April 8, 2013 (UTC)

If the wiki community decided that Friends Lists are not allowed, it would enter into formal policy and those with the lists would be required to remove them. If they chose to ignore the policy, it would be punishable. As far as I can see, there is no real enforcement issue here. The only major issue is whether the community would actually support their removal, because without entering it into formal policy there would be no grounds to enforce it. -- LostInRiverview talk ~ blog 21:55, April 8, 2013 (UTC)
I get what you're saying but my point was stated below by Nikel in saying that there's "not really an efficient or easy way to enforce this". Lost Labyrinth Flag united kingdom england (c)(b) 18:41, April 9, 2013 (UTC)

I'd choose to oppose eliminating friends list. There's not really an efficient or easy way to enforce this, especially that not everyone will recognize this policy in the first place either. We're not becoming police around the wiki; checking each user's page, finding out someone still has the list and punishing him/her seems so wrong. The user who caused this discussion to start was a troll anyway, and it's okay if he enlisted us as his friends, because we clearly are not his friends, and we know it, mostly. I say what's needed for better consideration is whether the user allows other users to add their own name in his/her friend list, because that way I found it more annoying than having a friend list. Nikel Talk Vote! 12:49, April 9, 2013 (UTC)

Some regulars start removing their friends list, so I guess this is taking its effect eventually. Nikel Talk Vote! 15:34, April 9, 2013 (UTC)

Summing things up Edit

Because there has been no development in this for a couple of weeks, I'm going to draw what appears to be a rough consensus from what we already have.

  • Implementing the new addition to Special:AbuseFilter to moderate edits to other userpages.
  • Edits to the userpages of others are only allowed for maintenance or reverting vandalism - the AbuseFilter would throw a warning beforehand alerting any user touching somebody else's userspace.
  • Friends lists can stay provided they're only touched by the userpage owner (in order to minimise drama).

Besides the obvious stuff that coincides with the general policies of the wiki, what I've drafted seems to be the breakeven point for dissecting the raised issues at hand. If anybody has any comments then please don't hesitate to make them within the next few days otherwise we could probably implement this policy on a formal scale. Lost Labyrinth Flag united kingdom england (c)(b) 12:47, April 21, 2013 (UTC)

I think the summation you've made is pretty good. Here's a very quick write-up that we can use on the Policy page, when/if this is adopted:

Userpage policies
  1. Edits to the userpages of other users are only allowed for maintenance purposes, or to revert vandalism. It shall be at the discretion of the userpage owner and the administrators to determine whether an edit made to a userpage is in good faith.
  2. Users can add or keep "Friends Lists" on their userpages. Only the page owner may edit the list.
  3. Administrators may edit userpages for the purposes of maintenance, vandalism cleanup, enforcement of policy, or posting of special awards received. Awards posted to a user's userpage should be accompanied by a notification on their talk page, and awards posted may be removed by the page owner.

Thoughts? -- LostInRiverview talk ~ blog 12:59, April 21, 2013 (UTC)

Sounds pretty good. Lost Labyrinth Flag united kingdom england (c)(b) 21:13, April 23, 2013 (UTC)

Closed - Because this has dried up, I've implemented, based on community consensus, the new policy and the new filter. Lost Labyrinth Flag united kingdom england (c)(b) 21:29, May 8, 2013 (UTC)

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