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New welcome script

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I've noticed that we seem to now be running a script that automatically "welcomes" people the second they make an edit to Memory Alpha. There are some problems with it that I think we need to discuss. First off, do we even want this? The script is incapable of recognizing legitimate edits vs vandalism, so it sends a "welcome" message literally thanking vandals for their contributions. As a test to prove the point, I vandalized my own user page as an anon. Behold, I was thanked for my contribution. Hell, I was specifically thanked for the vandalism I made to that user page, naming the page I vandalized! As I understood it, we used the welcome templates to welcome people, not thank vandals.

The second problem is that this new system seems to randomly choose and give credit on the welcome to a specific user. While the contribution is logged as User:Wikia, the page is signed as having been done by User:Cleanse! Now, where does some script get off signing pages and claiming that a contribution was made by someone who had no involvement or consent in the action? I doubt Cleanse went out of his way to welcome and thank someone for vandalism.

Do we really need, or even want this script? --OuroborosCobra talk 01:47, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

The script signs the welcome with the username of the last MA admin that made an edit on the site... so it's really not random, per se. Note that I'm not disagreeing, just informing. ;) -- Renegade54 02:10, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
Indeed: description of Wikia Welcome tool.
There have been several of "us" involved in discussing it with Sannse, and no real concerns came of it, otherwise we would have already had this topic on forum. :) (Also, here is the rollout message for those interested.)
It, User:Wikia, does something that wikia wants for their sites and that we were never 100% good at doing: welcoming new users in hopes of getting more contributors. It was given "bot" feature to avoid "flooding" rc, and only has one function: welcoming new users.
Vandalism is and always shall be an inevitability of this site/wikis in general – that's where admins and regular contributors can step in and add the appropriate warning, {{edithint-test}} template, or block, as part of "usual business". --Alan 02:35, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Could we have the bot sign as something like "Memory Alpha Team" rather than claiming it is specific people who did not take any action, like Cleanse? --OuroborosCobra talk 02:41, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikia Welcome tool: "The talk page message is signed by the admin (or Wikia staff member) who's edited the wiki most recently, to help the contributor find someone who's available to talk to them if they need it." Since "Memory Alpha Team" doesn't exist as a user, it wouldn't be a very logical choice for the new user to consult. --Alan 02:45, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't see the logic in signing for someone who didn't do an action. Defeats the point of having a system where we sign our posts at all. Wikia justifying a bad feature doesn't stop making it bad. --OuroborosCobra talk 04:17, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

It has nothing to do with "doing the action", it has to do with directing the new user to the most available administrator for the quickest source of wiki-related assistance. I hardly see that as "a bad feature", and in all honesty. It's not about giving credit, its about actually helping people and making this site a little more user friendly, instead of ignoring people until they do something wrong. --Alan 04:41, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

No, that is not what the signature feature on Wikis is for. The signature feature is to identify who has left a post, and a time stamp of when. Cleanse did not leave that message, he did not say "welcome," a bot did. If I signed my post as "Cid Highwind" it would not be anymore right, were I directing someone to an admin or not. --OuroborosCobra talk 04:45, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

If you were signing your messages using my name, it would be a deliberate disinformation on your part, because you will probably be signing a unique message that I didn't write. If the welcome-bot is doing it, it is trying to be helpful by directing the new user to the "next-best" admin, working under the (currently implicit, I admit) assumption that everyone from the group of admins is fine with his name being used for a standard welcome message we're using all the time, anyway. I really don't see any problem with that.
However, the real problem might be that this action only makes sense under the assumption that the typical new user being welcomed knows how to contact someone who has signed a comment on his talk page. Can we really make that assumption? -- Cid Highwind 22:23, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

I would put forward that using the signature from admins without their explicit permission is a diliberate action of disinformation on the part of Wikia as it implies a message being sent from that admin to that user/anon that the admin did not send, did not write. I also put forward that it is not needed. Our welcome template is already full of helpful links to users, and I don't see even the benefit of this "signature by someone who did not write or give consent" system. --OuroborosCobra talk 22:29, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Not trying to sound offensive... but I currently don't see anyone of the admin group complaining about that. Until that happens, why don't we just get along with it? -- Cid Highwind 22:37, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Lack of complaint does not make an action correct. This bot undermines the very purpose of the signature system, just as much as if I signed under your name, and sets a precedent for future Wikia actions "in the name of admins" who never actually gave their consent. --OuroborosCobra talk 22:44, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

I think I get what OuroborosCobra is trying to say, sure the idea behind it points to someone who can help, but said person might not necessarily he able or willing to help for various reasons. Therefor, you would most likely have someone seeking help and might not get an answer, which could in turn give the wrong impression of Memory Alpha itself. Personally, such a feature is annoying I think, as while it does help in welcoming certain people, it lacks a certain...personal touch to it, like Memory Alpha's message has (which also, as pointed out as several helpful links as a part of it). Not that it matters, but I've seen similar reactions to this new feature elsewhere, as again it doesn't offer the true welcome, or the helpful links (or names) originally intended by said wiki's staff. Also, in point, I can see what OuroborosCobra is saying in that, I'd rather my name not be signed in something unless I myself fully intended it to be there, or signed it myself. --Terran Officer 23:32, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
I understand the desire to welcome new users and direct them to potential sources of help, but I think that benefit is outweighed by the inability to distinguish between legitimate edits and vandals. I can also understand Cobra's point about signatures, although I do think as an admin that its not terribly unreasonable to have ourselves put out there without our specific knowledge, but I do see his point. However, if I had to choose right now I would support turning that feature off, as it is ridiculous for us to be welcoming vandals.--31dot 00:53, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Seeing my name has been mentioned a few times here, I thought I'd weigh in. I find absolutely no problem with the welcome bot and think it is a great idea. Really, getting a welcome message from a bot or a person is not really any different, as they were never "personal" anyway (being a template and all). And this way ensures every new user gets all those nice intro links. :-)
I also highly doubt vandals will read their talk page and then be spurred on to vandalise more because of an auto-welcome. If it's a one-off "test", they've already done it, and if they're intent on a spree it's not going to change anything. Admins can always step in to block the vandal who got a friendly welcome.
Regarding consent: I, Cleanse, hereby authorise User:Wikia bot to use my name to welcome new users. There. :-p– Cleanse 01:17, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Let's be honest... while in the past, there were tons of new features implemented by Wikia that didn't work as expected, and made life harder for us rather than easier, this feature is not one of those. We do have the ability to turn it off, and we do have the ability to completely reword the welcome message so that it doesn't use the name of a recently active admin "as signature", but instead as a link in the text, as for example:
Currently, the administrator Cid Highwind is editing this wiki. Click on his name to access his "talk page", where you can add a message if you have further questions.
This might in fact make more sense than a signature - not because the evil welcome-bot disinforms poor users, but because it is actually a clearer description of what a new contributor can do to get in contact with others. In any case, with this feature we're actually able to do all those changes we'd like, already. -- Cid Highwind 09:31, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

I would support your proposed change there, as it would maintain the reason for having the admin signature without abusing the intended purpose of the signature system. That Wikia allows us to make this change does make it one of the better new features Wikia has added, and I tip my hat to them. --OuroborosCobra talk 09:38, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

I think that's reasonable, too.--31dot 23:32, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Wow, I didn't even know this discussion existed! Anyway, I don't really have time to read the whole discussion right now, so I apologize if I'm bringing up points that have already been brought up. Anyway, do we need this bot? No, not at all. If we want to welcome somebody, we can do it manually. Does it make sense to have this bot? No, not at all. As you can see, the bot has been welcoming any and all anonymous users, regardless of the edit. We should only welcome anons who have made a few, legit edits and show a definite interest in wanting the help with the encyclopedia. The bot is welcoming anons after just one edit (which, as one anon pointed out to me, is pretty silly). Above all, the bot has been welcoming vandals in addition to legitimate editors... and they're welcoming them in our name. That doesn't sit particularly well with me. So, long story short, the bot is pointless and useless. I blocked it for a few minutes yesterday when it was welcoming another vandal in my name, kind of as a joke and kind of out of irritation, until I could disable it. Apparently, doing so broke it. Well, I'm sorry about that to those who for some reason found the bot useful; it was not my intention to break it. Should I have asked? Probably, but I was too irritated and rushed to think about it. I apologize for that and for seemingly breaking the bot, but to be completely honest... good riddance. :) --From Andoria with Love 13:05, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm admittedly still not took keen on this bot, for some of the reasons Shran stated, but would there be a way to change it so that it did not welcome users until they have made a few edits?--31dot 13:16, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Well that's the responsibility you take on for being an admin. (Shran and 31dot) As for welcoming users after a few edits...Wikia wants more eyeballs and that means making the wiki look like a more inviting place. Most anons only edit once - maybe twice...wikia is hoping they'll join and edit more if someone welcomes them. With regards to vandals...so what? You welcome them, they vandalize more, you block them and delete their user/talk pages. Anyway, as alan pointed out this bot will be very useful in the coming months with 100's of new anons and users editing because of the new star trek movie. — Morder 22:18, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

With respect, that is most definitely not a responsibility you take on being an admin. Shran became an admin years ago, years before this bot came along. He in no way agreed to this years ago when he became an admin. Neiother did any of the others that became admins before this bot existed. I can see that argument being implied for future admins, but ONLY future admins. --OuroborosCobra talk 22:28, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Update Edit

Update on Shran's surly actions. Basically what he did actually caused a bug to creep out. The auto-welcome still occurs and is put in a queue but the queue marks it as successful before it's written to the database...so...it's been ticketed and will be fixed whenever they get around to it... — Morder 20:53, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

It's unfortunate the damned thing didn't just have an "off" switch...oh wait...well, it's a good thing MA isn't experiencing an influx of new users because there is no upcoming production on the cusp of premiering...oh wait... Thanks Shran... --Alan 21:01, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Even smarter would have been to simply change the message. Or investigate. Or ask. *sigh* -- sulfur 21:15, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, that'd be why I created this thread, so it could be discussed and something agreed upon. Bad Shran :-P
That said, it seems we definitely do not have unanimous support from all of the administrators about their names being used, in fact we have some pretty vocal opposition. Earlier on we had a suggested modification that would take admin signatures out of the bot. How about we implement that? --OuroborosCobra talk 21:21, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Just because someone doesnt understand something doesnt make it bad or wrong. Clearly, in this most recent "incident", a certain lack of understanding still remains. --Alan 21:24, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
The only lack of understanding I see is on technical function. The actual question of using the bot the way it currently is, signing for administrators, multiple admins have said they don't want. Who the hell is Wikia to start signing for people who do not want to be? --OuroborosCobra talk 21:30, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Sulfur agreed to have his name on the signature based on his edit. Though the intended purpose is for the new users to be able to contact the most recent (and presumably active) admin if they have questions. — Morder 21:32, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

31dot and Shran did not agree to have their names used. One of them even went as far as unilateral protest action. --OuroborosCobra talk 21:35, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

I think you misunderstand me. Sulfur agreed to have all the welcomes signed with his name. (so that others wouldn't have their name used) — Morder 21:37, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Which is a bad solution, as if Sulfur leaves or is on vacation or something, it leaves new users with no one to contact. As stated in the above conversation, Cid Highwind put forward a proposed change to the bot that would serve the same process of giving new users admins to contact without mis-using the signature system. --OuroborosCobra talk 21:39, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Well I agree that's why I stated the intended purpose... All we have to do to satisfy this signature issue is alter the text The current active admin is $3 please leave a message on his talk page if you have any questions or something similar and then at the bottom put -Memory Alpha Team However, even if it was just sulfur on the sig that has never stopped others from responding to questions via other's talk pages. But this conversation belongs above. This particular thread is just an update about shran's breaking of the bot which defeats the entire purpose of having a community (as stated by other users) and its hopeful repair by wikia. — Morder 21:44, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, I think the incident is related to the underlying issue of the bot's function. It was inadvertent, and its over with, so let's keep discussing this issue. I think, if we're going to have this, the changes that were just made to it are an improvement.--31dot 21:48, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Guess i'm wrong about the "alter the text" as it leaves a full signature. :) — Morder 21:50, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Cool - Looks like the bot has been fixed. — Morder 22:34, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Nifty. Looks good. --OuroborosCobra talk 22:36, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
(Edit conflict)RE: Cobra -- I wouldn't call it a unilateral protest... more like unilateral stupidity. I didn't think blocking the bot for a few minutes as a joke would break it. But, hey, at least some good came out of it: we found that it had a bug. Now it can be fixed so this doesn't happen again. As for the bot's usefulness... okay, so Wikia wants to welcome new users immediately. Why do they gotta use our names, though? We didn't really welcome them, yet the welcome message is signed by us. Something isn't right about that. But, whatever. I'm not gonna make a big thing out of this. If ya'll wanna keep the bot active, it's fine with me. It can even keep my signature. I'm not gonna worry about it.
RE: Alan - you're welcome. :) --From Andoria with Love 22:44, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
It isn't using your signature anymore, and don't drop your position just because your fooling around broke something. --OuroborosCobra talk 22:52, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, I'm really not worried about it anymore. I, personally, still don't see the purpose in it, and I still don't like that it welcomes vandals, but if the community wants it, then fine. I'm not changing my position, I'm ceding to the wishes of the community, as it were. If they decide it should be deactivated, great! If they decide it should remain active, oh well. I'm not gonna worry about it. --From Andoria with Love 23:26, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
As I pointed out above: the purpose of it is to actually help people and make this site a little more user friendly, instead of ignoring people until they do something wrong/annoying (which is generally how we welcomed people before; the new way is less discriminate and easier to clean up after). --Alan 23:39, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Revisit Edit

This needs to be revisited. While we agreed to make changes to the bot, and even tried to implement them, the changes have not been effective. The bot is still leaving signatures. --OuroborosCobra talk 11:35, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

And it's leaving a disclaimer. And it's something that the admins have now agreed upon. We did try to word it in such a way that it did not leave a sig and only mentioned the most recent admin to edit the wiki, but at the moment, that's not possible with the bot.
As it stands, not a single admin seems to have issue with the Wikia bot's methods. Only a few non-admins. -- sulfur 12:45, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Where is this admin agreement? It certainly did not happen on this page. 31dot still has not, for example. What was agreed was to replace the signature with a notice, which has not happened. --OuroborosCobra talk 00:15, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

The disclaimer satisfies my concerns about the signature issue. As long as people know that, it's OK with me.--31dot 00:25, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Every other active admin has agreed to it either on here, on IRC, or a combination thereof. -- sulfur 03:30, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

It would be nice if those confirmations could be done here, as IRC is not the place to take that type of discussion when it is actively being done here as a policy discussion. We have no way of knowing what is going on in IRC, who said what, etc. It's kind of like a while back when a merge discussion was agreed upon by consensus on a talk page, and then Shran came along and said IRC had reversed it. Doesn't work that way, the public discussion is going on here. That said, I'm willing to accept a sort of "implied consent" for those admins who have not come out and said "no" to the current arrangement, since as a public discussion this has been here for them all to see. With 31dot giving his consent, that means no admin is actively opposing on this page, which was not the case before. I want to reiterate, IRC should not be an acceptable method to settle these policy discussions without even saying what has gone on, and the other stuff I said about it. --OuroborosCobra talk 03:45, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Seriously. What difference does it make to you where they agreed to it? If they chose to say 'OK' on IRC that's their choice. There doesn't need to be a public mentioning of it for anyone else because it doesn't affect anyone else. None of this entire issue affects anybody except admins - which neither of us are. — Morder 03:59, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

They agreed to it on IRC without even saying here that they had agreed to it on IRC. It most definitely makes a difference, if they are going to hold secret conversations that they not only do not disclose the results of until pressed, but don't even disclose that it happened. It does effect us, as an agreed upon solution on this page was ignored and not implemented. That they use an agreement they didn't even bother telling anyone about to justify it is not alright, and goes completely against the community nature of what a wiki is supposed to be. Admins are not special, they are not above the rest of us, they merely have been granted a few extra tools by us, the users. They do not own or run this site any more than anyone else. --OuroborosCobra talk 04:30, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

I think you are trying to make an issue out of nothing, here. As you yourself said, in your last comment, not actively being against it on this discussion page can at least be considered "implied consent" - and the same goes for previously being against it, and then not commenting further after some change to the wording.
I don't even want to comment on the implied "cabal accusations" of your last comment, because they simply don't apply in this case. -- Cid Highwind 08:09, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Until I made this "revisit" subthread, we did not even have consent from all admins who were active on this discussion. Implied consent wasn't even an issue, since an active admin still had oppositional position to having his signature used. That was not settled on this page until I created this subthread. Period. Implied consent doesn't come into it, 31dot came here and said "no." I am not making an accusation of a "cabal," merely pointing out that IRC was misused for a policy decision that was being discussed here, and no one even bothered to say here that a decision elsewhere had been made. That means anyone not logged into IRC at the time of the conversation has no knowledge what so ever that a new decision has been made. This isn't the first time it has happened. I'm not accusing this of being highly regular behavior, but irregular or not it is still unacceptable every single time it happens. How can you tell me that community spirit is served by holding an offsite conversation and not even announcing that a new decision has been made? --OuroborosCobra talk 08:24, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

This isn't really a policy decision. Period. Never has been. Exclamation mark. -- Cid Highwind 08:28, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Like hell it hasn't. From the start, this has been a discussion of the policy of bots signing for users who did not make talk page edits. Like it or not, a decision was made here about what to do about this, and then that decision was ignored in favor of an offsite discussion not everyone here had access to, and most importantly was never announced, despite differing from the decision here. Cid, I'm not asking for much. A simple heads up on this page that a different decision had been made offsite, and that the last admin directly opposing what went into that decision, would have sufficed. I don't think that is the least bit unreasonable. --OuroborosCobra talk 08:32, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Agreed: this is a case of making something out of nothing. Every admin here is perfectly capable of speaking for themselves, have had ample opportunity to do so, and yet those that chose to ignore the frivolousness of this discussion are the ones being lawyered for without as much consent as the they got for the Wikia signing for them that they alone could have spoke up about long before this discussion was originally started. The fact that they haven't, until their name got dragged through this discussion, speaks loudly about how little of importance this really is. --Alan 10:53, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Again, 31dot had spoken up, had active opposition as his last statement on the page, and no level of agreement or consent. That means you guys left a policy discussion on MA with a decision, and then for all appearances sake, chose to ignore it. It would be the same as if you had, after the consensus being to lock the site for 52 hours, left it completely open and unlocked based on an IRC discussion without so much as a note that you had discussed it elsewhere and come to a different discussion left on Forum:Removing spoiler restrictions. Again, it is not asking for much for you to have simply left a note here after your IRC discussion saying that you had made a change, that you now had consent from someone who had said flat out "no." --OuroborosCobra talk 16:36, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

New Issues Edit

I'd just like to be brought up to speed on what's been going on with the autowelcome thing, that Shran has now blocked due to problems, which I'd just like to be made aware of, if possible. Feel free to move this to its own page, but I felt others might want to see the previous discussions on this issue.--31dot 10:39, November 15, 2009 (UTC)

There's something over at MediaWiki talk:Welcome-user, but generally, I don't see a good (or "new") reason for blocking User:Wikia, either. -- Cid Highwind 12:48, November 15, 2009 (UTC)
Now that I know how to properly disable it, I don't see a good reason for blocking the Wikia-bot, either. :-P But let's face facts: it's useless. It welcomes every IP and new username that edits, but only about 1% of those (if that) actually edit again. It also welcomes those who vandalize. If we see someone going around making several edits, we can welcome them; we don't need some bot doing it for us, and we certainly don't need a bot going around welcoming every single IP that makes one edit and never returns. --From Andoria with Love 21:35, November 15, 2009 (UTC)
I can see what Shran is trying to say, the feature is somewhat useful, but not in the sense that it automatically welcomes the tiniest of edits, or vandalism. Certainly, it's useful to consider that the community doesn't want that, and even further still for the database to be filled with pages for IPs/Anons that may never return anytime soon, if at all. --Terran Officer 21:44, November 15, 2009 (UTC)
And yet, the community has little problem with it overall. Sure it welcomes vandals and fools, but a number of our users do exactly the same thing, without ever really realizing it. It's not that difficult to convert a vandal's talk page into one informing them of problems, or simply blocking them and removing the talk page entirely. Also -- if we clean up the talk pages semi-regularly, what is the issue? Wait... that was something we did beforehand anyhow! This bot just makes things easier via the shotgun approach by removing one task that we had to do. The other tasks it "creates", we dealt with anyhow, so it makes no difference. -- sulfur 21:56, November 15, 2009 (UTC)
I might get yelled at for that (or worse) - but let me just say that there hasn't been an urgent need to delete user talk pages ever since we left our own server years ago. And probably not even back then - pages that can be undeleted take up disk space even while not accessible to the general public. In short: If Wikia doesn't have a problem with creating tons of pages, then why should we? It's their server that has to handle the load, after all... :)
Other than that, I don't see any big problems from welcoming more people than necessary. The bot-edits don't show up anywhere. Someone who doesn't return for a second edit will not see the welcome. Some bored idiot trying to vandalize a page will not change his behaviour based on getting an automated welcome... -- Cid Highwind 23:51, November 15, 2009 (UTC)
Well, if you guys aren't worried about it, then I won't worry about it. I just thought as admins we should still tidy up and maintain the site a bit rather than just letting all these unnecessary IP talk pages lie about. Since no one else has an issue with it, though, I'll drop the matter altogether. I'll also stop deleting the talk pages and instead just let them build and clog up the user talk namespace list. Very few people (if anyone) actually look at that list, anyway. If nobody knows or cares that they exist, why worry about deleting them? Why should we clean them up when nobody's going to notice they exist? And even if they are noticed, so what? They're not bothering anything, who cares that they're completely useless and redundant? Glad to know maintenance is no longer a priority, now I don't have to waste my time. Makes our jobs a whole lot easier, I'll tell you that. :-P --From Andoria with Love 00:33, November 16, 2009 (UTC)
  • (The next day) Well, I certainly was in a bit of a snit there, wasn't I? :-P --From Andoria with Love 07:47, November 17, 2009 (UTC)
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