Forum:Nowiki inactive user pages

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This thread was archived on 20 August 2010 by Liquidhelium.

I've been tossing this idea around my head for a while. I think there are some good aspects to it, but it'll probably wind up being nothing short of a catastrophe. In other words, it'll be just like every other idea I ever had, except the one with the dynamite and the pet store.

I've just checked the list of users and I've found that just 6,700 users out of our 21,500 users have logged in during the past 3 months. That's just 31% of our users. Expanding that timeframe to 6 months, only 9,400 users have logged in. That's 43% of users. And this is only logging in. The way I see it, most people have their pages set to automatically log them in. They use the wiki for information, but don't care about editing anything, especially not their userpages. When you consider how many users have actually edited in 3 and 6 months, we get 4,200 (19%) and 6,800 (31%), respectively. That's an enormous amount of user pages for users that are inactive, and will probably never come back.

That wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the thousands of userboxes, images, templates, and other things that need to be dealt with for maintenance purposes, contained on those pages. Maintenance minded editors must constantly deal with the contents of user pages for users that have long sense departed from the wiki. Not to mention that there are probably hundreds or even thousands of templates and images that are only used on one or two images that we can't find, because they don't show up on Special:UnusedFiles and Special:UnusedTemplates. I realise that the space used up by these images isn't an issue, but this annoys me! Maybe I have OCD (probably).

I think a good solution to this is to put nowiki tags around the user and user talk pages of inactive users. I can think of a number of ways to accomplish this, but I'm not exactly tech savy, and don't really know if any of these are feasible. Maybe someone who is can talk some sense into me. As I explain my thoughts, I'm going to do so under the assumption that we will be determining inactivity based on last edit, because that makes the most sense to me. But it could also be in terms of last time logged in, too. It doesn't make that much difference to me.

Method one: Maybe there's some way to accomplish this using MediaWiki. Ideally we'd just need to edit a few of the pages to automatically nowiki user pages for users that haven't edited in the timeframe of our choosing. But I think something this convenient and easy is prohibited by law.

Method two: Put a template on the top and bottom of each userpage. This would be accomplished by bots, who would run every two to three weeks to re-apply the templates to pages that have had them deleted, and apply them to newly created userpages. These templates would be invisible of course, until the time limit was tripped and the nowiki at the top and /nowiki at the bottom was activated. This would also display a template at the top explaining that the page's code had been disabled because of inactivity. The good thing about this plan is that if the user ever does come back, the changes to their userpages will automatically be reverted, since the last login time would no longer be over 6 months or whatever the time limit is decided. The bad part about this plan is that I can't think of a way to quickly view the page with its code re-wikified without manually removing the templates. Looking at the previous version before the templates were added would not work, because the people might have continued editing after the templates were added without removing them, since they were invisible.

Method three: A bot checks user pages every 2-4 weeks. If they have been inactive for the right amount of time, the bot puts the nowiki tags and the explanation template on the page. Because with this method, the change won't undo itself if the user decides to start editing again, we would need to include an undo link in the explanation template. This also means that it is very easy to see the page as an unwikified version, we could just include a link to the previous revision in the explanation template. This is my favorite.

Method four: Sacrifice a goat and hope it curries the gods' favours. This is my second favorite.

If you want to consider this a proposal, go ahead and support/oppose. But really my only objective was to see what other people thought of this idea. I think if it gets a lot of support, it'd be implemented whether it was officially called a proposal or not. So it doesn't really matter. Now please talk some sense into me. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 07:23, July 7, 2010 (UTC)

Discussion

Support-Method 3 Oppose - You bring up a very good point and I like method 3 the best. Per Q. Also-I'm sure we have plenty of users who would step in and do the maintenance. HaloTalk 07:26, July 7, 2010 (UTC)

Method 3 sounds the best. Although I do like method 4... Suppa chuppa Talk 07:35, July 7, 2010 (UTC)

Support 3 and 4 - This way, we can't lose! Full Slayer Helmet! Evil1888 Talk A's L Dragon Platebody! 07:56, July 7, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - What about people on vacation/retired/etc? If they used a template, then it will be nowiki'd and most people won't be able to understand it. Is there some sort of opt-out that would be available? IAYJPIBucket detail.pngrwojy 08:23, July 7, 2010 (UTC)

Honestly, if the undo link is being placed on your talk...I don't see how that's a big deal. Especially considering you could just go to AR/UH and ask for help there. HaloTalk 08:31, July 7, 2010 (UTC)
Good point, I hadn't considered that. One solution I could think of is a template, maybe something like {{Protect|Code and stuff}}. When the bot puts nowiki tags on the page, it also puts a /nowiki in front of and a nowiki behind the protect template. The template itself wouldn't do anything at all, it would just be a breaking point for the bot. Also halo, he's saying what if someone puts a template explaining that they're going to be away for a year or something, and then they leave. After 6 months the template would be nowikid and they wouldn't know about it. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 08:33, July 7, 2010 (UTC)
Dammit psychonub, I was gonna say that, even with the same page-checking system. Jerk /me goes off and sits in the corner. NGKAFUBucket detail.pngrwojy 08:38, July 7, 2010 (UTC)

Support 3 - I support 3 and maybe we could get the bot also to put them into the :Category:Retired users as well, also what pyscho said.Hunter cape (t).png Sentra246Blue hallowe'en mask.png 10:51, July 7, 2010 (UTC)

It should probably be "Inactive users" instead of retired. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 00:06, July 8, 2010 (UTC)
I just said that because it is already a categoryHunter cape (t).png Sentra246Blue hallowe'en mask.png 00:52, July 8, 2010 (UTC)
Changed to Oppose - per Q. Hunter cape (t).png Sentra246Blue hallowe'en mask.png 08:10, August 14, 2010 (UTC)

Support Method 3 (4 too) - This sounds like the best way. --FarxodorTalk 22:38, July 7, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - The first two work, although I bet Quar could find some way to make the third work. I have no clue how it would, though. Also, why is this needed? Your proposal hasn't convinced me. How are these old userpages hurting us? ajr 23:41, July 7, 2010 (UTC)

They hurt us maintenance wise by basically being a ton of pages that have to be dealt with if template or image names change, or if they're deleted. For instance I wanted to replace files like [[:File:Attack.gif]] with File:Attack-icon.png, but Attack.gif is used on too many pages to replace the links. These old pages are also keeping lots of images and templates off the appropriate unused lists, because if they're used on even a single user page, they don't show up there. Basically its just an unnecessary hassle for maintenance editors because the majority of these users will never return. But I can certainly understand how this could also be considered a waste of time in and of itself. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 00:05, July 8, 2010 (UTC)
So, there are these things called bots. They have an amazing ability to do things fast, especially maintenance stuff. There's thing thing called AWB... For the Attack.gif example, AWB could sort that in ~2 minutes, with no work on the human's part. I would also like to add that this only decreases the workload, and does not remove the grunt work of maintenance. If we actually used bots, or AWB more often, then we could preserve people's userpages without a problem. ajr 00:26, July 8, 2010 (UTC)
To clarify, I wasn't referring to my bot... wojwoj was reading through the lines again here, and so I thought I'd better clarify. ajr 19:05, July 7, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - I also like what Ajr said. That wouldn't leave confused people and things would still be updated. HaloTalk 00:42, July 8, 2010 (UTC)

Support - get it done however you can!

Runecrafting MythbustermaTalk   HSCabbage.png<= BRASSICA PRIME

00:50, July 8, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - It's not that much of a hassle to do the maintenance with AWB, as Ajr said. It might even be more work to nowiki all of the pages. I just don't think it's necessary. ʞooɔ 00:52, July 8, 2010 (UTC)

Support Method 3/Comment - Abandoned userpages like this are a huge pain when moving or deleting images and templates. just look at the history. So many edits to fix the same thing- image redlinks. Psycho finally did the sane thing and nowiki'd the table because it was riddled with redlinks. Users who are inactive don't care weather their userpages are preserved or not, and regardless, returning the page to it's previous state is just a click of the undo button away. Sure, It's a pain for them to find the images/templates again, but it's a lot more likely that they will never edit again, and therefore never be faced with that problem. Psycho has the numbers, the vast majority of our registered users do not actively contribute. This would have a relatively small negative impact, but a significant positive one in terms of simplicity, as well as labor and time savings. Don't give me the bot/AWB lecture; I've already read what you said above. It's still unnecessary and a waste of time. </2¢>. --Aburnett(Talk) 01:10, July 8, 2010 (UTC)

Question is, is it worth it to nowiki all of them? How long would it take? ʞooɔ 01:52, July 8, 2010 (UTC)
Hahaha well played, good sir. I believe that I would in the end take less time to nowiki all the pages once with a bot than have a bot come back 3/4/5 times to repeatedly change image links. --Aburnett(Talk) 01:59, July 8, 2010 (UTC)
Heh, thanks. You have a point—Let's say we give the user the benefit of the doubt and have a six month inactivity frame for nowiki-fication. That's 12,100 userpages that would need to be nowiki-fied (Yes, I just like saying that.) I will, one last time, return to the AWB lecture: Most images are used on multiple pages, and chances are they're also used on a page whose creator has logged in in the past six months. It's not that much extra work if it's already loaded up and has to be changed elsewhere. So, your call. I'm pretty much neutral on the idea. ʞooɔ 02:34, July 8, 2010 (UTC)

Support 3 & 4 - The template we use could include an unclosed nowiki bracket, so there would be no reason to add another one at the bottom. I will go look for a goat. Magic-icon.pngStelercusIlluminated Book of Balance.png 16:37, July 8, 2010 (UTC)

Support - It's an easy fix if they return. Perhaps in the template placed on their page, we could include instructions on how to remove the <nowiki> tag (so the new ones or inexperienced can do so without requesting help).

Bonziiznob Talk

17:23, July 8, 2010 (UTC)

Since the bot's edit would be the last edit, users could just click an "undo" button on the explanation template then click "save", and have their userpage exactly as it was before the filthy goat-bot got its grimy hooves/apertures all over it. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 18:23, July 8, 2010 (UTC)

Support only 4 - Bcuz I hate goats. Oppose - Per ajr, there are things called bots. bad_fetustalk 17:23, July 8, 2010 (UTC)

That's perfectly fine, a bot could take care of most of these maintenance issues, but how would you respond to Aburnett's comments regarding the limitation of bots? kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 18:23, July 8, 2010 (UTC)
This idea only reduces the workload, not removes it. It is no more difficult for a bot to do 5 pages than 500; the task is already programmed in, and it'll do it. ajr 18:25, July 8, 2010 (UTC)
And why is reducing the work load bad? Would you really run the bot if there were just 5 uses? I really think if we nowiki inactive user pages, the necessity for a bot will become rare. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 18:29, July 8, 2010 (UTC)
Either way, it will still be faster for a bot to do it. Also, this would allow old userpages to stay the way they are, even if the user is inactive. Additionally, I can't even see a way for any of your proposals to work :/ ajr 18:31, July 8, 2010 (UTC)
I agree that a bot could quickly take care of each of these tasks, but I think bot running once to take care of 90% of the tasks that a bot or editor would have to do later, tasks that are a waste of time because the user will not return, is a very good idea. And method 3 could easily work, a bot can very easily check the contributions, and since the date is in a standard format, it could easily determine exactly how long it has been since the last edit, and then it can go to all user and talk pages and nowiki them. We have bots that already do way more complex things. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 18:42, July 8, 2010 (UTC)
Well, if you think that this truly would get things done faster/easier, then I won't stop you. ajr 18:49, July 8, 2010 (UTC)
That's all well and good, but this is Chess's colon indent thingy! *all eyes on chess now* kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 18:52, July 8, 2010 (UTC)

Support Method 4 - As long as you sacrifice it to Saradomin, I'm sure something good will happen. Like perhaps you realizing this is a impractical idea. Wink --LiquidTalk 02:18, July 14, 2010 (UTC)

How exactly is it impractical? And even if it is, why should you care? You probably will never be affected by it. Try to evalute the idea on its benefits, not its execution, so long as that execution isn't harmful to the wiki, which it is not. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 02:22, July 14, 2010 (UTC)
Impractical was poor word choice. What I meant is that you yourself said that the templates' and images' space isn't an issue, and you want to fix it because it annoys you. That's not the best reason in my opinion. --LiquidTalk 02:26, July 14, 2010 (UTC)
Oh. Well that's just one aspect of this plan's benefits. By far the biggest one is to reduce the workload for maintenance, both for bots and for editors. For bots it not an issue of work load but of the time it takes to run them. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 02:56, July 14, 2010 (UTC)

Support 3 and 4 Changed to Oppose, see below - As long as you don't touch mine while I'm on vacation or something (that goes for both my userpage and my goat). I'm a regular user and I approve this message.  TLUL Talk - Contribs 12:10, July 15, 2010 (UTC) 

Comment - I can understand why this would be useful, as we do have a large number of stagnant user pages that have required maintenance upkeep. But at the same time there are userpages that aren't necessarily for personal use only. People may write essays, maintain calculators, guides, etc. that other people may find useful but do not necessarily belong in other namespaces. So will there be a way to have userpages opted out of "page deactivation" so that it can continue to be used even after the user becomes inactive? And if so, should there be some criterion before a user can do this?

I'm also concerned with the possible effect this would have on SEO, since many internal links pointing to primary content pages could be lost and whats left of the user pages will contain lots of non-useable content. --Quarenon  Talk 20:09, July 15, 2010 (UTC)

I'm not really sure what SEO is, and as far as opting out, I don't think any criterion would need to be met. If even one person wants to use it then I don't see a problem with it being left alone permanently. Maybe something like {{preservepage}} at the top that would do nothing, but be picked up by the bot so it would leave it untouched. Honestly there can't be more than a few dozen pages that actually have content useful to other people on it. And if it is useful to other people perhaps it should be moved into the mainspace anyways. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 20:21, July 15, 2010 (UTC)
SEO would be search engine optimization, and he is right. Removing links to our pages will decrease our appearing near the top of the list of search results, especially with something of this scale. ajr 21:23, July 15, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - I don't really see the point in this, to be honest. Aren't talk pages kind of in the same boat? But we're not going to nowiki them. ʞooɔ 20:25, July 15, 2010 (UTC)

I think a good solution to this is to put nowiki tags around the user and user talk pages of inactive users.
— Me, from the opening post
>_> kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 20:42, July 15, 2010 (UTC)
I am so incredibly brilliant. ʞooɔ 21:04, July 15, 2010 (UTC)

Support 2 and 3 - Billy is not a suitable sacrifice. Coelacanth0794 20:45, July 15, 2010 (UTC)

Changed to Oppose - Per Quarenon's point about SEO. The tradeoff for easier maintenance isn't worth it. I'm a regular user and I approve this message.  TLUL Talk - Contribs 21:25, July 17, 2010 (UTC) 

I think the Wiki is already such a definitive and widely known resource for all things RuneScape that losing the links, and the resulting SEO loss that we might incur, won't make any difference in our traffic. The amount of links in userpages is probably paled in comparison to the amount of links in the mainspace. The only thing I could think of that would be largely affected are links to skill pages, from people with high score tables, and from I know about SEO, doesn't that mean our rank when people search "attack" will be lower? And if so, that doesn't seem like any kind of loss. kitty.pngPsycho Robot talkSilver bar.png 18:24, July 24, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - It might be possible if the bot posts a template on the inactive user's page and sends a e-mail to the user; it would then wait of month before nowikiing/no-wikiing/nowikying/no-wikiying/canyouhelpmespellnowikiing the page.  —The preceding unsigned comment was added by The Gedge (talk).

Possible but rather complicated to implement, plus not all users have the "Receive emails from other users" option enabled in their preferences. --Quarenon  Talk 16:35, July 31, 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - Per Quarenon/Halo. Although you did help us with Pointy! Lol --Coolnesse 12:42, July 31, 2010 (UTC)

Support #4 - As long as I'm not used as the sacrifice. Farming cape (t).png Lil cloud 9 Talk 06:49, August 1, 2010 (UTC)

Support 3&4 - Prefer four but I guess three could do =P. Lagggy Josh 08:03, August 10, 2010 (UTC)

{{Close|Discussion has died down, no consensus.}} ajr 15:11, August 15, 2010 (UTC)

Closed - There is no rough consensus for any of one of the changes. Thus, this will be closed as no consensus. --LiquidTalk 19:57, August 20, 2010 (UTC)