I'm following this ptwiki captcha case closely and I think I can bring some
elements for this conversation.

The portuguese community was surprised by the removal of catcha promoted by
the global (technical) community. This situation led then to react and a
long discussion was held not only about captcha but also about community
autonomy. Following Nemo sugestion on bug 41745 the Portuguese community
voted a new proposal to enable the captcha again.

When we look to the stats of ptwiki in May and June it is certain that the
number of reversions has increased a lot, but it is also true that the
number of non-reverted editions raised even more. But some editors claim
that sysop and rollbackers are overloaded and this numbers are showing us
that more "garbage" (revisions that should be reverted) is staying in
ptwiki and not that we are having more good faith editions. I believe that
it is very hard for us to tell which theory is right without performing an
A/B test.

Besides this debate, it is notorious that sysops and rollbackers are
felling overloaded and the growth of gross number of edits that should be
reverted (independent of the number of good editions) is a real concern for
the ptwiki quality. The community felt that it wasn't ready to deal with
this new amount of edits and decided that they should do something in the
short term to avoid demotivation of vandalism fighters, and the solution
they came up with was enabling the captcha again.

But, as Oona said, they know it cannot be a definite measure and the
"AntiVadalism Project" (
was reactivated willing to create mid and long term measure to fight
vandalism enabling the community to deactivate captcha. In this context,
one think  proposed is the use of the captcha associated with AbuseFilter
(as Steven suggested), but for this to happen bug 18110 should be
implemented. Also, they proposed bug 41522 to evaluated which kind of
editions are being kept away by the captcha (trying Marc Pelletier's
theory) and are working on improving bots, filters and asking for new users
to became rollbackers.

So, I think ptwiki community is leading many efforts to create sustainable
growth, and right now the captcha is a contextualized temporary part of the


Henrique Andrade

On Sun, Jul 7, 2013 at 4:21 PM, Samuel Klein <meta...@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sat, Jul 6, 2013 at 8:39 PM, Oona Castro <ocas...@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> >
> > For now, it's worth mentioning the Portuguese Wikipedia community has
> been
> > working on this antivandalism project
> >
> http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikip%C3%A9dia_Discuss%C3%A3o:Projetos/AntiVandalismoin
> > order to build alternative measures to deal with vandalism and
> > inappropriate edits with a very small portion of the community reverting
> > edits - considering the short and mid terms.
> >
> > They are already aware that even the return of emergency CAPTCHA won't
> be a
> > definite measure (lasting no more than one year, as per what was agreed)
> As much as I dislike captchas, this seems like a considered decision
> by the Portuguese Wikipedians.  We should support local wiki
> communities in making choices for themselves -- and help them to run
> short-term experiments, evaluate the results, and correct mistakes.
> Letting communities make and learn form their own mistakes is more
> important than always being 'right' for one definition of rightness:
> we can learn from many independent communities, each with their own
> standards.  Of course we all want to improve editor engagement +
> retention, and overall quality + coverage - the pt:wp community does
> too!  The question is how to trade off between these.
> One requirement for making a controversial configuration change - or
> for continuing it beyond a short initial test period - might be the
> ability of the requesting community to evaluate its effect.
> Sam.
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