The Heretic Knowledge Vault:Policy

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This page describes the block and protection policies used by the Heretical Monks of the Heretic Knowledge Vault. Please read and comment on the talk page.

(Last update: Graybeard 22:30, 5 November 2007 (CST))


Basic philosophy

The basic philosophy for access and blocks is very simple:
Thou shalt not screw around with the wiki, with, or with Caffeine Angel Studios. Consistent with that prime commandment, go do good stuff, and have fun.
Unlike the better-known, "encyclopedic" wikis like Wikipedia, WikiHow, Wikitravel, etc., this one is provided as an oh-by-the-way add-on to a small (very small) startup outfit, the "Caffeine Angel Studios" that we've all come to know and love. Anything in the wiki that makes it harder for Poe and Impy to conduct business at Caffeine Angel simply will not be tolerated. That means spam -- particularly spambots that put garbage into the wiki automatically -- as well as vandalism. It does not mean you can't have fun with what you contribute! Off-the-wall humor, irreverence toward Errant Story and its characters, and the odd bit of speculation are all fair game; in fact there's a whole separate page for Forummer Speculation that could certainly use more action than it's seeing. Just do not spam, and do not vandalize, and do not make it hard for Poe and Impy to succeed.

Username creation policy

Creation of new usernames is now open on a limited, controlled basis. If you want to get a new username on the wiki, first join the Forum if you haven't done so already, and then join the "Heretical Monks" group there. (See the Forum's FAQ page if you need help in doing this.) Soon an admin will contact you for some information such as your proposed handle, e-mail address to send your new password to, etc., after which your username will be activated.

Once you've joined the brotherhood/sisterhood of Heretic Monks, you're free to make edits here to your heart's content, as long as you follow the other policies on this page; help us out, and have fun doing it (the "have fun" part is the most important, that's what we're here for). But do not spam, vandalize, troll, phish, or intentionally cause trouble. If you do, the new username will be blocked for anywhere from 20 minutes to forever, and you won't get another one.

Block policy

The block policy is equally simple: if a user produces spam or vandalism, he/she/it will be blocked, permanently, no exceptions. If the evidence suggests that the user is a spambot that loads the spam automatically, there will also be no warning; those of the Heretical Monks who have sysop access will simply block the user. Depending on the circumstances, if the spam/vandalism results from definitely "human" activity, the user may be warned before the block is applied; vandalism is, at least in some cases, in the eye of the beholder, and every now and then a vandal goes on to become a useful contributor, on being made aware that the vandalism isn't appreciated. However, there is no obligation on the part of the Heretical Monks or anyone else to offer a warning before blocking.

This all sounds a lot harsher than it really is. The overwhelming majority -- probably over 99% -- of all blocks done to date have been on spambots, and the number of humans blocked for spamming or vandalism in the last year can be counted on your non-mutated fingers. People are not blocked just because their spelling or grammar is bad; good-faith attempts to add content are not reasons for a block, even if the added content doesn't meet the standards of a fifth-grade English class. However, neither should you expect such writing to remain unaltered. The monks patrol the wiki religiously and will correct spelling and grammar errors where feasible and if they're in the mood and/or time permits. Don't rely on it though. Tolerance is a virtue when it comes to populating a wiki, and it will be practiced where feasible. It simply is not feasible to tolerate vandalism and spam. Amen!

Protection policy

"Protection" is wiki-ese for a particular step that can be taken by sysops ("Brothers and Sisters" among the Heretical Monks) to minimize damage to individual wiki articles that appear to be targeted for persistent vandalism or spam. When a page is protected, only users with the sysop privilege can edit it. (Everyone can read protected pages, of course.) Protection of a page can and does come and go; a page protected because of vandalism can be unprotected once the vandal is dealt with.

Conflict Resolution

Under normal conditions, the most likely reason to protect a page is to avoid "edit wars" where one contributor insists on making a change that a different editor insists on objecting to, and therefore rolls back. The two then go back and forth undoing each other's edits and reinstating their own, until someone intervenes and protects the page to stop the retaliatory edits. Fortunately, that's something that we really haven't seen in The Heretic Knowledge Vault, although it's a known bane of many other wikis. If it ever does occur, the resulting protection will be short-lived and will be lifted as soon as the warring parties reach some kind of accommodation.

Vandal and Spam prevention

Unfortunately, as this was written (June 16, 2007), conditions were not "normal" on the wiki, because of an incredibly massive spambot attack that resulted in many vandalized pages at the same time. Accordingly, at that time, all content pages were protected from edits by non-sysops, with only a very few exceptions (e.g. That Typos Thread, which is left editable because it helps Poe and Impy). This is a temporary measure. A security fix has been put in place that, with some luck, will beat the spam-scum; when it has been shown to be adequate, the blanket protection will be lifted. This has already started on a hit-or-miss basis and will expand to all content pages in a few days.

As of November 2007, the defenses seem to be holding, so these protections have been lifted. However, de-spamming is such a painful process once the wiki is spam-infested that protection may be reinstated at any time if the defenses become porous. If you find yourself unable to make an edit owing to recently-reinstated spam prevention, please be patient; unless there's a gaping security hole, the next round of protection shouldn't take nearly as long.


One other thing: we generally don't protect user pages or talk pages. Talk pages, in particular, are the place where disagreements over content can get worked out, and it's obviously desirable to keep them open so that the working-out process can go on. You're among friends here, and friends talk to each other, which is what the talk pages are for. Use talk pages enthusiastically and often, as long as you don't use them to spam.

Questions or comments

This policy is a work in progress. To comment, please use the accompanying talk page.

See also

  • Working Protocols -- beginnings of a "manual of style," and pointers to some useful tools
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