On 06/19/2015 05:54 PM, WereSpielChequers wrote:
Earlier this year as a result of the glam organisers event in Paris I
made a proposal at bugzilla for an event organisers useright. This
would have allowed us to circumvent this problem at those editathons
that are targeted at newbies, and it got widely endorsed by GLAM
editors from several languages. Sadly it got marked as resolved
because there was something that looked similar to developers, though
not of course to potential users. If anyone here knows how to bypass
phabricator or how to mark a phabricator request as unresolved and
still much wanted, then the link is
https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T91928 alternatively perhaps we
could persuade the education community to endorse it, it should be
just as useful to them and they seem to have more clout with the WMF
than the GLAM community.

I'm sorry that that task was closed (and that there has been no recent activity on it - excluding today's) but it really is a duplicate and was asking for functionality which ThrottleOverride extension already has (with other features). Phabricator tasks generally should ask for one single feature per task so that it is easy for developers to implement it. This particular task had lots of requests in it so it's not very clear. The extension is currently not deployed on Wikimedia wikis because it lacks some basic functionality like modifying and logging. You could probably file smaller tasks asking for several features which would allow the event organizer group to be implemented for real.

As for skipping CAPTCHA, this functionality is already available through 'skipcaptcha' right (which all autoconfirmed users have). If you want to ask for a new group, you can make a proposal on a local discussions venue like village pump. This user group (event organizer) would be able to grant users 'confirmed' group to other users so that the new users do not have to go through CAPTCHAs while trying to edit. If there is consensus for it, you can file a task on Phabricator to get the new group implemented.

As for whether the capcha is useful in keeping out spammers, remember
there are two capcha steps, one when you open a new account and the
other when you use that to add links. Presumably any spam program
that can pass the first hurdle can pass the second. But for new good
faith human editors each capcha is a possible lost edit/editor.

I also do agree that CAPTCHAs are not very user friendly and is bad for good faith newbie human editors. I have also sometimes had trouble solving CAPTCHAs myself on some occassions. However, spambots which are able to pass in one CAPTCHA test can easily pass the same type of CAPTCHA again so we can't assume that all accounts which are able to solve the captcha at registration are not bots. Currently, a non-trivial amount of time is spent by our wiki administrators and stewards just for fighting these spambots so we can't just turn CAPTCHAs completely.

It would be good to test dropping the capcha requirement for adding new
links, alternatively perhaps we could whitelist certain domains as
likely to be reliable sources and unlikely to be spam.

Whitelisting certain links is also currently technically available. See English Wikipedia's whitelist page for example [1] but this is not really used probably because many users are not aware of this feature.

It is also possible to exempt certain IP addresses or ranges from CAPTCHAs but this is only currently doable through server-side config but I don't remember seeing a request asking an IP to be whitelisted for an editathon. We could probably allow this whitelist list to also be also modified on wiki so that event organizers can ask for it without going through the hassle of asking on Phabricator and getting it deployed in a timely fashion. I've filed this as a task. [2] I would also like to suggest that editathon organizers ask for the IPs to be whitelisted on Phabricator when organizing events.

I think that using these suggestions I mentioned above would help in this issue during editathons but I'm not sure we've lots of alternatives for regular edits. We could probably allow all users with a confirmed email to bypass the captchas. What does others think about this idea?

There is a problem with CAPTCHAs but disabling CAPTCHAs completely is definitely not the solution, imo.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Captcha-addurl-whitelist
2. https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T103122

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