Proposal:Support the fight against cross wiki vandalism

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Vandalism is a serious but manageable problem for all Wikimedia projects. The Foundation can help support the external tools users need to combat malicious edits to our wikis, or help integrate critical infrastructure into MediaWiki.


The Foundation could help the Toolserver dedicate hardware specifically to tools used for countervandalism/anti-spam efforts. The Foundation could also dedicate developer manpower towards integrating the functions of some external tools into MediaWiki or extensions to the software, and improving pre-existing MediaWiki functionality.


  • Vandalism and other malicious edits pose a serious and growing threat to the credibility of Wikimedia projects. Particularly in smaller wikis where less manpower and fewer technical resources are available, vandalism and spam have the potential to so hurt a wiki's credibility that it simply never gets off the ground. It we want to broaden our reach and ensure increasing quality in our projects, we should take seriously the idea that the Foundation has a role in supporting users working on such issues.

Key Questions

  • Can we get the Countervandalism network recognized as a project worthy of support like OpenStreetMap?
    • This involves understanding the history and relationship between WMF/WM-DE and OSM.
  • Can we formalize the anti-spam group, or integrate it into CVN?
  • Can we encourage authors of project-specific tools to make them project-agnostic? Many large wikis have a rich variety of tools, however they are unavailable for other projects. Critically, this includes i18n.
  • Can we encourage authors of these tools to distribute access so their departure doesn't suddenly cripple the groups who used the tools?
  • Just how much impact does vandalism have? There have been many studies, but most have some methodological flaws. A concerted research effort should be undertaken (and past research compiled into a meta-analysis).
  • How can we gain more manpower? This will likely be drawn from existing contributor base, but can we find a way to make this an entry path too?

Potential Costs

  • Time and effort for outreach to tool authors/maintainers
  • Cost of dedicated hardware, setup and maintenance
  • Time and effort for compiling past research and/or conducting new research


Community Discussion

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