Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An email mole

The other day, I got an email from User:Wikigender:
Dear User of Wikipedia,

You have created or modified an article related to gender. We would like to inform you that the OECD Development Centre (www.oecd.org/dev) has recently introduced a new wiki-based Internet platform exclusively focused on gender equality, called Wikigender (www.wikigender.org).

If you are interested in joining this initiative and sharing your knowledge with other experts of gender equality, please contact us at [email removed].

Please be advised that you will need a password to enter the site prior to its official launch on March 8 (International Women's Day), which we are happy to provide upon request.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely, The OECD Wikigender Team
Perhaps I'm being naive, but I don't think I've run across any similar use of Special:Emailuser previously. Register an account without any/much editing, confirm an email, and wait silently for anyone to edit a relevant article... once they do, send them your email pitch. So long as there's no significant on-wiki activity or complaint, you can probably continue this behavior indefinitely. For lack of a better term, I guess I'll call it an "email mole."

I appreciate that this is at least significantly better targeted and tailored than everyday spam, but I can't help being a bit uncomfortable with what seems a possible misuse of account priviledges and resources. They won't have direct access to my email address unless I reply, but they can continue to make use of Special:Emailuser unless their access to it is revoked.

One more example of how marketers and politicians are gradually moving into narrowcasting, I suppose.

What do others think? Is this an acceptable thing to do? What happens if this sort of thing occurs on a large scale? Or has it, already, and I just haven't run into it, yet?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Metapedian, 2008-02-06

A recently created "Wikia is not Wikipedia" template intended for use atop articles relating to Wikia is up for deletion. The template was created in response to possible reader and media confusion regarding the relationship between Wikia and Wikimedia. Use of the template, including related administrative actions, has been controversial.

Extensive and widespread discussion continues regarding the use of images in Wikipedia's Muhammad article which depict the prophet himself. Numerous readers are upset by the inclusion of the images, citing religious taboos. The debate itself is not new, but is getting renewed attention. The article's talk page and wikiEN-l in particular are active forums. The article has recently been covered by the New York Times.

Following the deletion of Wikipedia's "Adult-child sex" article, numerous copies have appeared in userspace. A miscellany for deletion discussion regarding the subpage recreations is ongoing.

Membership of the recently founded Working group on ethnic and cultural edit wars has been announced.

Crazycomputers announced on wikiEN-l the creation of a tool to help search for active rangeblocks. At least one other similar tool exists, as is mentioned in the linked thread, but some users apparently have had trouble using it.

East718 and Betacommand worked together to add a large number of revisions to en.wikipedia's Main Page, which would prevent it from being deleted after the recent implementation of measures to prevent regular deletion of pages with several thousand edits. The action became controversial, including blocking and calls for other sanctions, with some editors preferring more discussion or a better technical solution. Tim Starling quickly altered some settings which will render it more difficult to delete any Wikimedia wiki's front page. Discussion is split between wikitech-l and wikiEN-l.

Current adminship candidacies: Remember the dot (2nd), Barneca (2nd), Master of Puppets (2nd), Aitis, TheDJ.