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Information warfare in troll spaceEdit

I'm deleting the following comment in comment space, aka "troll space", which is unusual enough I'll offer some explanation here.

Deleting "opinions" stuff is rare — though I deeply regret that I didn't immediately delete a comment, some years ago, that was just cruelly heckling someone who had expressed a fan's well-wish about a musician, an incident that ultimately led to the posting fan having their feelings badly hurt (we eventually did delete the heckling, I recall, but by then the damage was done). In this case, though, it appears to me that the post is an aggressive mishmash of toxic ravings, and such is a hallmark of modern deliberate information warfare. --Pi zero (talk) 14:18, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

Eh, it is written in all-caps. But it does not seem toxic to me. Unless BDS means something super offensive. --SVTCobra 14:29, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
I looked it up, BDS stands for: boycott-divestment-sanctions which is entirely accurately used in this context. I really have a hard time seeing what is wrong with the comment. Are people going to be emotionally damaged by reading "Bravo to Israel"??? --SVTCobra 14:48, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
@SVTCobra: It's nothing to do with "Bravo to Israel", and although I mentioned a case where the stakes were emotional harm, the stakes are higher here.

In principle I'm open to being convinced, but imo this needs great care; it seems to be to be an important case, in terms of how we are to handle delierate information warfare. Here are more of my thoughts on the case. The first couple of sentences are merely strong opinion; which one might disagree with (perhaps even vehemently), but so what. By the third sentence we're into Obama ebola conspiracy theory and Obama-is-a-devout-Muslim-and-extreme-racist. Fifth sentence (if I've counted right) asserts that Muslims routinely spend their time thinking about monstrous crimes. And this poisonous sludge is mixed in with some other sentences that are "merely" extreme. Standing back and looking at the whole, this appears to me to be deliberate information warfare, seeking to make rational discussion impossible. Further complicating matters, the person actually posting it might, possibly, just be repeating insane sewage from outlets they've been taught to believe. In the case some years ago that I mentioned earlier —which was easier in that it was non-political, yet already difficult enough that we flubbed it— we erred in the direction of "free speech"; this case, though, represents someone —and again, perhaps not the poster, which makes it all the more fraught— deliberately trying to prevent rational discussion, when free flow of rational thought is what we are all about. If we don't treat it as deliberately sowing bullshit (which is what I did in my delete action), what is the alternative? From studies of such things, as I recall, it was found that when the first post in discussion of an article is toxic crap it generally prevents any rational discussion from later developing, which, the more I think about it, the more I feel was almost certainly the deliberate intent here. If we spend all our time trying to "defuse" such things with further comments, it seems that it both would not work and would leave us with no time or energy to do anything else. --Pi zero (talk) 15:24, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

@SVTCobra: Hm, I see to have misread. On very close examination, it appears that in the fifth sentence they did not (at least technically) ascribe those routine monstrous thoughts to Muslims, but rather to extremists/terrorists. That changes things. I'm reconsidering. --Pi zero (talk) 15:36, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
I've reversed the actions taken. It's clear to me that we need to draw a line somewhere, but at least for now I'm not confident that the particular post in question should be on the wrong side of such a line. --Pi zero (talk) 15:42, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
The Obama comments make the person seem laughable. If Obama is such a devout Muslim, it's odd he would kill so many of them. If Obama wanted to cause an Ebola epidemic in the USA, he sure did fail. However, deleting/blocking the comment, would just reinforce some of this person's conspiracy theories. (Little do they know that we were recently accused of pro-Israel bias, lol). --SVTCobra 15:51, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
@SVTCobra: Full agreement here that the Obama stuff, in itself, just makes the poster look silly to normal people; my earlier assessment was based on the combination with the fifth sentence — which on repeated study I eventually figured out does not actually say what I'd thought it said, though I note the attitude it fosters toward Muslims is exactly in line with my initial misreading. --Pi zero (talk) 16:01, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

This is a scam phone number. how it can be showing over here.Edit

This is a scam phone number. how it can be showing over here. you should block this and remove the entire blog name like this —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 06:31, 12 January 2018

To what are you referring? --Pi zero (talk) 12:42, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
After what I just saw happen now, I am guessing something might have been oversighted while we slept. --SVTCobra 22:45, 15 January 2018 (UTC)
I don't like aggressive oversighting; admins are generally very trustworthy sorts (or they wouldn't be admins) and will usually be far more able to act correctly if they can see things — and of course if something has been hidden from them there's no way to determine afterward whether it was an appropriate use of oversighting or not. --Pi zero (talk) 23:03, 15 January 2018 (UTC)
I am only speculating, but the edit I rolled back looked exactly like what the Anon described. If it was a global spammer, they might just have deleted and hidden all edits globally. Just a theory. --SVTCobra 23:14, 15 January 2018 (UTC)

Potential socks present on your wikiEdit

Hej. I may be new here, but I've been working at the Simple English Wikipedia for a while. I came across a Wiki user while doing some research for an RFD we have open, who was (at least in the past) an editor here, and whom I've discovered is a Sockmaster (evidence from an SPI on the English Wikipedia), Diego Grez aka Diego Grez-Cañete aka Lester Foster. I don't know if you want to do something with him, whether he's still active here or not, but you never know, do you? Link to the en.wp investigation is here ( if anyone wants to do anything with it. Thank you! DaneGeld (talk) 16:00, 18 January 2018 (UTC)

Interesting. However, Diego Grez-Cañete (t · c · b) has not been active here since 2015. The user did obtain adminship, but those rights were revoked even longer ago. Thanks, --SVTCobra 16:41, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
@DaneGeld: Appreciated. Afaik there's nothing remotely secret, on this project anyway, about those account names belonging to the same person; so to my understanding, here, they aren't sockpuppetry. --Pi zero (talk) 16:58, 18 January 2018 (UTC)

ISBN magic linksEdit

In Category:Pages using ISBN magic links there are several pages which use the magic links feature i.e. something like ISBN 0870621440 but these may soon be deprecated per the RFC on Mediawiki. All that needs to be done is to enclose the word ISBN, and the number immediately after it, inside the {{ISBN}} template e.g. {{ISBN|0870621440}}, which should have no outward effect but ensures that the link to Special:BookSources is maintained when the magic link is deprecated. I have changed the talkpage and userspace instances but need an admin to do the ones on articles. I thought it might help to leave a note here because I can see the {{editprotected}} backlog is quite extensive. Cheers. Green Giant (talk) 17:25, 27 January 2018 (UTC)

@Pi zero: Is this cool to go? I can do some of these while I am distracted. --SVTCobra 02:28, 31 January 2018 (UTC)
Seems okay afaics. --Pi zero (talk) 02:30, 31 January 2018 (UTC)
  Done I think I have gotten through them all. Cheers, --SVTCobra 18:59, 19 February 2018 (UTC)

"Phone Numbers" SpambotsEdit

Hi, I would like to call the administrators that in case of encountering more spambots of this type, these will be reported in SRG through Meta so that the stewards can also globally lock those accounts and prevent them from possibly moving to other wikis in case of being frustrated when being blocked here. Regards and Thanks. —AlvaroMolina ( - ) 02:26, 16 February 2018 (UTC)

@AlvaroMolina:, Yes, we have a growing problem here with phone spams. How do we report them to Meta to help the overall effort? It is already very hard just to keep deleting and blocking on the local level as there are so many. Any help will be appreciated. Cheers, --SVTCobra 02:33, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
In fact, in the 5 minutes since my last comment, I had to delete 5 more. --SVTCobra 02:37, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
Yes, there was a similar problem for several weeks last year (see here). Abuse filters have been implemented and the CheckUser tool has been used but without results that solve this problem definitively. The only thing that can be done is to block as soon as they are discovered and report them in Meta so that they are blocked globally and prevent them from spreading to more wikis. —AlvaroMolina ( - ) 02:40, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
I've updated Wikinews:List of phone number spambots, though there's many accounts to add so I'm still in the process of updating it. —mikemoral (talk) 05:55, 16 February 2018 (UTC)

WN:AAA broken?Edit

I feel that mikemoral's change in this diff broke the page. It adds a bunch of white-space when I view the page, instead of removing it. Also, fonts on some things became tiny. I don't want to just revert, in case it is just my browser and not everybody. Cheers, --SVTCobra 00:20, 19 February 2018 (UTC)

Mediawiki:Common.css, table.mbox-small - Amgine | t 04:51, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
Thanks, Amgine. But that is too technical for me. But the problem seems to be around the box for speedy deletions. It is the one creating the white space and the one appearing in small font. The box is empty now, but when there were 12 items, the whitespace was huge. Cheers, --SVTCobra 05:53, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
I un-smalled it, perhaps that helped? —mikemoral (talk · contribs) 10:59, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
I don't know how I feel about it. With the way the two boxes appear at the top, the page looks more like a disputed article than anything else. Why was the speedy deletion box changed at all? Cheers, --SVTCobra 12:46, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
Probably to simplify this page. Most of the mbox presentations have clear:both; in their styling, which means they will not overlap with any other block-level html - such as other boxen, the table of contents, etc. The navboxen, iirc, do not have this, but someone should examine their core and css to be sure. - Amgine | t 17:15, 19 February 2018 (UTC)

My attempt to reduce whitespace did not seem so successful. I'll gladly revert the speedy deletions box when I'm at a proper computer. —mikemoral (talk · contribs) 01:25, 20 February 2018 (UTC)

The table of content was inside the "speedy" red-dashed box, so I made this change. Hope it is agreeable. Cheers, --SVTCobra 01:25, 25 February 2018 (UTC)