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As I have access to moderator tools, I have tried today, as I do for several years now, to access the "review" section of the moderator tools to which I have access because of my reputation.

To my surprise I was greeted by this unfriendly message :

Do not approve any tag wiki edits that are cut-and-pastes from other websites and pages
Come back in 3 days to continue reviewing.

My memory kicked up some proposed tag edits that I OK'ed yesterday, which are probably at the root of the problem. These tag propositions looked rather banal, I must say.

My questions are :

  1. What exactly does the message mean?
  2. If copying was the problem, how could I have known that the text was copied from elsewhere? Especially if the contents looked correct.
  3. Unfortunately, very many wiki tags contain text cut-and-pasted from Wikipedia.
    Should they all be deleted and their authors banned?
  4. Why should I continue to render service to the community by reviewing proposed edits by low-rep users, if this can get me banned for reasons over which I have no control and according to forum-rules that were not published ?

[EDIT]

Even after an exchange with @random, I admit that I still don't understand the rules about wiki tags. The rules seem rather capricious and depend on the private viewpoint of the moderator, which is in addition stated nowhere and might not be shared by everybody.

My advise to any reviewer reading this post is to avoid reviewing wiki tags. Why take chances?

  • So the all-time top user on SU finally got some penalties to restrain him back to what some other users like me have to endure... – gparyani Jun 27 '14 at 6:09
  • @damryfbfnetsi: Are you encountering similar difficulties? – harrymc Jun 27 '14 at 7:54
  • No, but I have been banned from reviewing before. Twice. – gparyani Jun 27 '14 at 15:29
  • @damryfbfnetsi: Because of tags? – harrymc Jun 27 '14 at 17:56
  • No; I can only review first posts and late answers at the moment. Apparently, a couple weeks later, they changed it so that audit results appear only after you actually flag a post, not only if you just click the flag button initially. – gparyani Jun 27 '14 at 18:12
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That warning means to not just approve any tag wiki edits that appear.

If you grab one or two sentences from the proposed tag wiki suggestions they come up on Google pointing to other sites, verbatim.

Yes, the other tag wikis should probably be deleted since they add nothing to the site nor do they explain when best to use the tag. Ideally we'd also ban the users suggesting these poor edits.

You should continue to review, but take some caution when doing so. Not all suggested edits should be approved.

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    There are a hell of a lot of tags whose text come straight from Wikipedia. I also consult Wikipedia routinely when I want to improve tag text, so I suppose I am a serial criminal. Also, a very large percentage of answers on SU are almost entirely quotes from other sources. It is really hard to be original when someone already did a much better job than oneself. If I have to do a research-job for every proposition I review - frankly, I give up. Too much work for what is after all just volunteering. – harrymc Jun 25 '14 at 17:38
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    Even if I googled for the text, what guarantee that it will be in the first answer? How many google answers should I consult? – harrymc Jun 25 '14 at 17:42
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    When the search results show at least five matches, or is a dead match on any other site, as in the last few that have been approved, then consider it enough – random Jun 25 '14 at 17:53
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    You don't have to research for tag wiki suggestions. You just have to ask yourself, did this edit make any changes to how to properly/better use the tag, or is it just telling us what the product/tool is? In almost all of the later, they're worthless. – random Jun 25 '14 at 18:00
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    For example, one of the tags in question was microsoft-visio-2010. What else can this tag contain beside the identification of the product? - One uses this tag when the question is about Microsoft Visio version 2010, not so? An empty tag would do just as well because no text is really needed. As the guy tried to say something about Office, I thought it was nice of him to do the effort and approved it. This all is getting to be too complicated, so no more tags for me. – harrymc Jun 25 '14 at 18:51
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    @harrymc The tag wiki content for that tag is literally identical to the excerpt. – Der Hochstapler Jun 25 '14 at 20:19
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    @harrymc so you think it's nice of somebody to steal content from Wikipedia without providing any indication it came from Wikipedia? – Ramhound Jun 26 '14 at 3:08
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    @Ramhound: Stealing is a loaded word, and many SU wiki tags are therefore "stolen". According to the Wikipedia Creative Commons license this is allowed if attributed. If SU added somewhere a blanket acknowledgement that it contains material from Wikipedia, this would "legalize" it, and there would be no need to ban. – harrymc Jun 26 '14 at 6:01
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    @random: On the day in question, I have reviewed 20 questions, reworded 2 to try and save them from closure, plus probably handled around 20 more suggested edits, first posts etc. So who does this ban "punish"? Do you think that an email to me would have been less effective than this heavy-handed "punishment" (and wouldn't have caused bad feelings)? – harrymc Jun 26 '14 at 6:09
  • @harrymc you are taking things personally, what the moderator wanted you to do is to be more careful in the future and gave you a strong reminder about what to check when approving tag wiki/excerpt edits. It isn't about you but your actions. – Braiam Jun 26 '14 at 11:09
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    @Braiam: What random had achieved is not education, but dissuasion. Approving tag edits seems akin to Russian roulette. The rules and directives for wiki tags should be clearly published in some FAQ and a link should be provided when editing/reviewing them. But I'm not touching them any more. – harrymc Jun 26 '14 at 12:32
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    Perhaps three days was a little high. If it was possible to contact you through public chat, allowing others to see as well, it may have been done that way. Email would have been heavy handed. – random Jun 26 '14 at 13:00
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    @random: I would have really preferred an informative email exchange to such a slap in the face which I don't think I merited. I admit I still don't understand the rules about wiki tags, if any exist. – harrymc Jun 26 '14 at 18:08

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