Forum:Deciding on a revision deletion policy

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Now that we have access to the revision deletion (AKA 'revdel') tool on Miraheze, we should decide on a policy to govern its use. Revision deletion is a powerful tool for removing problematic revisions without having to delete entire page histories beforehand; however, it's also an easily mis-usable tool that can be improperly used to hide revisions that a person doesn't like.

On Wikipedia, a rigidly enforced policy has been established that prevents admins from using the tool to remove revisions except for obviously problematic ones. The policy can be seen here. It may be a good idea to adopt the same principles here. I am a Wikipedia administrator and have made frequent use of the tool, and I'm pretty sure I'm the only admin around here that's familiar with how the tool works. If you aren't familiar with how the tool works, please read Help:Revision deletion.

On Wikipedia, revision deletion is primarily used to remove grossly insulting, degrading, or offensive material, or anything that is purely disruptive that has no benefit to the project. This includes links to shock sites, racial slurs and smears, grossly inappropriate threats or attacks, browser-crashing HTML or CSS, links to malware-proliferating sites, phishing pages, or content that disparages or threatens a person or entity. It does not include ordinary vandalism, nor does it include "ordinary" civility (e.g. "You are an asshat"). The criteria for this one seems straightforward to implement.

Revision deletion is also used to hide stuff that's worthy of Help:Oversight, which functions the same as revision deletion, except that its use is more restricted and is used to hide content from everyone, even local administrators. Oversight is used to remove non-public personal information, such as phone numbers and addresses, and can be used in response to doxxing attacks. Currently, access to oversight is restricted to stewards, and requests for oversight need to be sent privately, such as by emailing stewards@miraheze.org. However, since it can take some time for a steward to react to such material, revision deletion can be used as an interim measure to at least hide the information from the general public until a steward can get around to properly removing it. On Wikipedia this is frequently done by administrators who don't have access to oversight; usually, when they hide such revisions, they use the "Purely disruptive material" reason in order to avoid drawing attention to the material.

Lastly, revision deletion is used on Wikipedia to hide copyright violations, such as when someone pastes the content of a copyrighted website into an article. Since such material isn't compatible with the CC BY-SA license used, it needs to be hidden. I believe that we at The Sims Wiki are often guilty of using copyrighted text in our articles; technically, we are not allowed to do this. In the context of short quotations that are properly cited, such as object descriptions, this may be OK. We should definitely enforce a copyright policy more rigidly around here, and in those circumstances, revision deletion can be used to hide copyright violation revisions. (This doesn't apply to pages that were created as copyright violations; those can simply be deleted in their entirety instead under G13.

Thoughts? —k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 15:11, 29 August 2019 (UTC)

Discussion[edit source]

I'm pretty familiar with how the tool works and what it is used for. Though I would like to bear in mind that it is quite different from what one would call a "selective deletion". Since I know that on the surface "revision delete" or (deleterevision) sounds like a variation of (delete) that allows for selective deletions.

Unlike the more traditional page deletion system, the revision deletion system cannot be used to move revisions to the "archive table" nor hide them from the page history.

But aside from that, similar to how a lot of places use it, I feel that aside from testing the way it works in the admin sandbox, I feel that it should be reserved only for hiding sensitive or grossly explicit material that should not be seen by non-administrators. ― C.Syde (talk | contribs) 12:02, 2 September 2019 (UTC)

The main purpose of the revision deletion tool is to eliminate the need for the use of selective deletion to remove revisions from the page history. Selective deletion is a clumsy process that involves deleting the entire page and then undeleting everything except for the selected revisions. Selective deletion is discouraged in many places as it ruins the license attribution requirements and is easy to accidentally reverse (unless the deleted revisions were moved to a different title, attempting to perform another selective deletion on the page may inadvertently undelete previously deleted revisions). The point of revision deletion is to quickly and easily remove problematic material without having to delete the entire page, while still preserving the structure of the page history. —k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 12:06, 2 September 2019 (UTC)