ACTRIAL a success! Or was it?

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ACTRIAL a success! Or was it?

Post by CrowsNest » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:01 pm

So the trial to restrict new article creation to autoconfirmed users (registered for 4 days & made 10 edits) has finished. This was notable as a rare example of the WMF collecting & analysing data to inform decisions made by their volunteer partners.

How much notice the volunteers are taking of the findings though, is open to question, since they don't seem to have spotted this curious paragraph......
A key question that our study does not answer is: how are we losing promising contributors? At what point in their time on the site do promising contributors decide to leave, and why do they do so? Prior to ACTRIAL, we saw a lot of articles created by newly registered accounts. Not all of those articles got deleted. Who were the creators of those? Did these creators show up to Wikipedia during ACTRIAL but left when they were unable to create the article? Maybe these new contributors were creating articles that otherwise would not be created, e.g. articles in areas that are underrepresented on Wikipedia.
I confess I don't know exactly what this means, but I suspect the Wikipedians don't either. On a first look, it suggests the trial did have a negative effect, although which data set it refers to isn't clear since all the other conclusions seem to say there was no such negative effect.

There's another seemingly major concern. The basic effect of the restriction was confirmed as shunting the workload of dealing with new articles from New Pages Patrol (checking already published articles) to Articles for Creation (approving/rejecting a draft). It has been claimed this is a zero sum game, reviewers just shift from one to the other coalface, but that's not the whole story.

More concerning than the ever presence of a backlog wherever they process it, the researchers seem to believe that the AfC route exposes new users to less collaboration, which has implications for the potential to get them addicted. Also the rate of acceptance of drafts is shockingly low (1.2%), even though these might be perfectly acceptable articles which just need a bit of basic work.

They seem to think this is because publishing a bad article immediately pushes other people to fix what can be saved, often due to the immediate threat of impending deletion, either by themselves or through coaching/haranguing the new user, whereas a crap but promising draft created via AfC is just ignored since it is under no immediate threat, and by the time you find it the creator might have given up, before finally being rejected, leaving the creator feeling alone, confused and frustrated.

This is sadly all speculation, since everyone involved seems to admit they know very little about how AfC works, down to even how to collate meaningful stats to aid that understanding (some dispute the validity of the 1.2% figure).

Something else perhaps of great significance, since the effect of getting this assumption wrong may not be clear for years to come, is that while the trial lasted for six months, they've only tested the hypotheses on the data collected from the first two months. This is apparently OK though, because the rest of the data is there if anyone wants to check it.

Overall, while this was research, which is a good thing, it was research done for people who arguably aren't all that malleable to it, and done by people who perhaps aren't all that good at it.

Much like Putin's election victory, there was never really any doubt this wouldn't become a permanent feature, since it fits the Wikipedia community's long and established pattern of accepting, via baby steps so as not to alarm the moderates, changes to the basic and fundamental aspects of Wikipedia which simply introduce ever more barriers between new users and the 'real' Wikipedians.

Next stop will of course be to raise the bar, probably to extended confirmed (500 edits/30 days). Some are saying this will never happen, but there was a time when most editors believed this would never happen (or indeed that extended confirmed would never be a thing).

Slowly but surely, they're raising that drawbridge. The justification that this is because the people inside the castle know what they're doing, are responsible, ethical, moral, neutral and indeed capable of creating high quality encyclopedic content, has of course always been utter nonsense.

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Re: ACTRIAL a success! Or was it?

Post by CrowsNest » Fri May 11, 2018 11:49 pm

The Wikipediots have now agreed to make this a permanent feature, this ACTRIAL is now ACREQ. Unsurprisingly, it is only now that they are realising the AfC process, which now has to handle the backlog, is understaffed and little understood. The first dumbass proposal to fall out of that mess, a way of dealing with hopeless drafts that keep being resubmitted, includes the suggestion to create a new process, Drafts for Deletion.

These people are fucking morons. It's like they literally have no clue that all they are doing is trying to fix a bureaucratic clusterfuck, by adding ever more layers of bureaucracy. The world has been telling them for years, one of the reasons they are dying, is their massive bureaucracy. They never listen, they are incapable of learning.

I stopped truly understanding all the myriad levels of user access and page protection a while back, and I'm beginning to feel the same mental fog around this whole draft space and article acceptance process now too. And I consider myself a Wikipedia expert.

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Re: ACTRIAL a success! Or was it?

Post by Kumioko » Sat May 12, 2018 12:18 am

Actrial was only good for one thing. Frustrating would be editors into not wanting to contribute. It is but one more way of the WMF and the community showing it is hostile to anyone who isn't already a member of the club.

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Re: ACTRIAL a success! Or was it?

Post by sashi » Sat May 12, 2018 6:42 pm

More articles were created in April 2018 (991) than in any month since July 2014 (1032). Anyone who was holding April info-futures can retire to the sofa that used to be in the garage!

This page of new-articles-per-day statistics was mentioned over at the bureau à genre. ("Lies, Damned Lies, & Statistics" )

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Re: ACTRIAL a success! Or was it?

Post by ericbarbour » Sat May 12, 2018 8:27 pm

CrowsNest wrote:These people are fucking morons. It's like they literally have no clue that all they are doing is trying to fix a bureaucratic clusterfuck, by adding ever more layers of bureaucracy. The world has been telling them for years, one of the reasons they are dying, is their massive bureaucracy. They never listen, they are incapable of learning.

Always. The scheme of having cultic, intolerant Jimbosuckers run everything didn't work so well (most were pushed out or quit since 2010), and so we have an ever-growing and deeply incompetent bureaucracy instead. Run partly by absolute dictators, a few of whom are totally anonymous. And now that the WMF is a successful fundraiser the crazy is gonna be permanent. Repeatedly people on WR and WO predicted that eventually it would be the Encyclopedia That No One Can Edit. That day gets a little closer every time they invent another poorly-devised "policy". Oops sorry.

I have wondered if this is similar to what happened every time the US or British or French governments etc. meddled in the politics of a poorer country. Various nations in the Levant, Persia and the Arabian peninsula owe their existences to the British and Americans meddling (usually badly) after the Ottoman Empire collapsed. T.E. Lawrence=kick the Ottomans out=Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which was a mess prior to 1932. Then vast oceans of oil were discovered in the kingdom's east in 1938, and suddenly poof, there was the "Arabian American Oil Co.", making nice with and shoveling money at the newly-installed Saud royalty. British Petroleum owes its existence to Whitehall fiddling with the weak sultanates that existed in the Saudi areas, Kuwait, Iraq and the Emirates, and especially in Iran (it was originally called the "Anglo-Persian Oil Company"). Shah of Iran=CIA=cheap oil for Americans and least until 1979 oops sorry. And the "United Arab Emirates" were originally called the "Pirate Coast", ha ha ha.

Straight from fucking Wikipedia:
Arabia_1914.png (142.95 KiB) Viewed 876 times

Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua etc=cheap bananas for Americans. Panama=canal, a boon for American political and military interests just before WWI. Vietnam (twice, first the French and then the Americans, the communists won anyway). Ask a Venezuelan what wonderful things America did for their country. Or a Cuban. Not that the socialists who usually take over such countries are any better.

Israel was set up after WWII with the connivance and open support of the US government, partly because crackpot American evangelicals were/are convinced that the return of Israel will hasten the Rapture and they will all rise into heaven to sit next to the throne of the Almighty, and their enemies will roast in hellfire. (It's always the enemies who do the roasting.) At the same time the US was fiddling with surrounding Arab and Iranian regimes to insure a reliable and copious supply of petroleum. Bad ideas but they did it all anyway. To this day Israel is the #1 recipient of foreign aid from the United States.

Don't even ask about the ugly mess that resulted from the Belgians in the Congo basin. Or South Africa, with the Dutch and Germans and British (squabbling over) slaughtering the natives in an attempt to set up a "stable government" in a place that was fought over by tribal groups for thousands of years. Then oops diamonds! Did you know there's still a long stretch of the Namibian coast where trespassers may be shot on sight, because it's controlled by the DeBeers cartel with the full cooperation of the relatively-new Namib government? Worthless desert otherwise.

It's a routine: Install puppet, puppet installs family and friends, secret police and death squads kill opponents and journalists, rot sets in. Rinse and repeat. Sometimes it works and sometimes it fails. And when they collapse, the puppets are sometimes replaced by even worse people (Iran, Libya, the Baathist regimes in Syria and Iraq, blah blah blah). They're doing it all again right now in West Africa. "White Man's Burden" lol. Oops sorry.

How is this much different from the internal "operations" of the WMF and English Wikipedia? And the other language Wikipedias, which also suffer from "imperialist" meddling and dirty tricks?

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