Posts Tagged ‘black hat’

Templates are not mandatory but blanking is still vandalism…

February 11th, 2009

Over on the wiki today, we had a contributor blank a number of articles related to the Rescue Rangers fandom and then set up redirects to the Rangerphiles wikis with an explanation of “Since templates are not mandatory, and the Ranger Wiki carries a lot more information about CDRR fans, I changed this article into a Ranger Wiki redirect.” Needless to say, these edits were immediately rolled back and the contributor was banned.

Templates on Fan History are NOT mandatory. We use them because we’ve found that they increase the number of contributions that we get. People feel more comfortable editing articles when they have an established framework to contribute to. The templates also help give an idea as to how we organize, what is and isn’t allowed, where emphasis on the wiki is placed. Sometimes, people who know wikis really well come in and remove our template format. So long as they keep the information, that’s fine. The article about Elwin Blaine Coldiron is a great example of that.

But you cannot just blank an article and say that information is available elsewhere. It doesn’t work like that. Blanking is vandalism. And while YAY! GO YOU! AND YOUR FANDOM’S EFFORTS TO DOCUMENT ITS OWN HISTORY!, that doesn’t mean you can vandalize a wiki, violate its rules in order to promote your own project. And you most certainly can’t use a redirect to try to get our traffic. A redirect should be for wiki articles on our site only. Otherwise, that redirect implies a relationship between our project that doesn’t exist. If you want that, you let us know.

We have relationships with other sites and other wikis where shared documentation goes on. (Police Wiki is our biggest and most important relationship.) We don’t redirect. We MIRROR content and we have article boxes on top of those articles that say the content is mirrored. We have different audiences, different purposes, different rules… and those mirrored articles are based on a relationship where both wikis are willing to play by the same set of rules for those articles.

What was done, blanking and redirecting to an off site wiki, amounts to a form of black hat wiki promoting. We normally would probably ban for two weeks. This particular user was banned permanently. He’s edited before. He should know better. And if you want to promote your wiki (or any site for that matter) on Fan History, there are a lot of ways to do that. You can put in a see also section for interwiki links. You can add links in the external links section. You can put an article box on the top, saying that this series of articles is being jointly worked on on Fan History and your wiki. You can cite your own wiki all over the article.

Templates aren’t mandatory. Promoting your wiki is fine. Citing first hand sources is awesome. But blanking is still vandalism and redirecting is still black hat promoting. Also, it annoys us.

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