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Explore ways to avoid cross-wiki spam from welcome bots
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Description

We had some feedback (from CLs, IRL, on Phab, on MW.org) concerning Cross-wiki Notifications from people who had notifications of welcome messages from wikis where they have never been (distributed by welcome bots). When Cross-wiki Notifications will be enable by default on wikis, we may have a wiki which will sent a lot of messages on all talk pages locally and generate a lot of spam.

  • Can we filter that?
  • Should walk to communities about welcome spam? 'Welcome' Notification and GettingStarted may replace these bots? Do we have some communities which have special welcome needs that we can address?
  • Add these bots to Echo user blacklist?

@Legoktm explains that people will receive a notification only if they visit the wiki (conscious actions) or if they load a resource from that wiki on an other wiki (unconscious action).

For the record, some people are receiving Cross-wiki notifications from some wikis, sometimes marked as unread since years. That's normal behavior which has been documented.

Event Timeline

Restricted Application added a subscriber: Aklapper. · View Herald TranscriptMar 14 2016, 6:17 PM
Elitre added a subscriber: Elitre.Mar 15 2016, 7:45 AM

You probably want to revisit the cross-wiki behavior then.
Several wikis welcome users on their talk page automatically when they first visit the wiki, after the first edit, or just when they create the account.
The Welcome template is used at too many wikis to consider communities should change their behavior in using it, regardless of whether it's actually useful or not.
Also, it has nothing to do with the Welcome notification, as the latter isn't designed to provide stable, quick directions the users can always find in their talk pages.

Quiddity added a subscriber: Quiddity.

French Wikipedia has the following welcome system: any user who create an account on fr receive a message from a bot. That bot picks a name on a list of volunteers and deliver a message starting with "Hello, I'm [username] [...] please contact me if you have any questions" (Example).

There is no real study concerning the impact of that message on users. As a volunteer on that project, I receive 1 to 5 messages per month from people who need help. I feel that is useful.
I don't think 'Welcome' Notification (not human contact) and GettingStarted Extension (not deployed on fr.wp) can replace that message.

You probably want to revisit the cross-wiki behavior then.
Several wikis welcome users on their talk page automatically when they first visit the wiki, after the first edit, or just when they create the account.
The Welcome template is used at too many wikis to consider communities should change their behavior in using it, regardless of whether it's actually useful or not.

I agree.

Also, it has nothing to do with the Welcome notification, as the latter isn't designed to provide stable, quick directions the users can always find in their talk pages.

We may consider to have these messages as distributed as core messages. We can imagine to create the talk page when the account is created. The user don't receive any notification except the 'Welcome' one.

Idea of a new feature, to automatically create user talk page has been raised on T117958: Deploy NewUserActions on br.wikipedia.

Quiddity triaged this task as Lowest priority.Mar 29 2016, 12:01 AM

Marking as lowest priority, as this should not be as much of a problem once the initial backlog is discovered by editors who hadn't realized they had unread foreign notifications (following cross-wiki's beta/final release) (and we can't solve the problem for that existing backlog).

It's also very hard to determine which messages an editor would want to see - e.g. I'd definitely want to learn what items are contained in the welcome messages sent by any wikis if they are in a language I can read - if only to compare and contrast the experience with my home wiki.

I think the occasional bot-spam is worth it, to avoid adding complexity to the Echo extension (re: the above nuances). If a non-technical (non-Echo) solution is wanted, then let's remove that extension's tag and continue discussing/exploring.

Teles added a subscriber: Teles.Feb 27 2019, 11:02 AM

It's also very hard to determine which messages an editor would want to see - e.g. I'd definitely want to learn what items are contained in the welcome messages sent by any wikis if they are in a language I can read - if only to compare and contrast the experience with my home wiki.

Perhaps the bot message should be created with an expression on its body that would prevent it from triggering notifications. Just an idea... sorry if that’s not possible. Just like when we use {{ping}} and it detects the need to notify. An expression could be added to say it shouldn’t.

Restricted Application added a project: Growth-Team. · View Herald TranscriptFeb 27 2019, 11:02 AM