36 votes

The great Wikipedia titty scandal

17 comments

  1. [7]
    Pun
    Link
    Amidst all the awful news and stories we're bombarded with online, it's nice to read something silly and lighthearted like this. I know it was probably a pain to clean up, but judging by the way I...

    Amidst all the awful news and stories we're bombarded with online, it's nice to read something silly and lighthearted like this. I know it was probably a pain to clean up, but judging by the way I was giggling at "suckling of the titties" I'm every bit as juvenile as that rogue moderator.

    One thing surprised me was that it supposedly took them three years to fix everything. I don't know what goes on behind the scenes on Wikipedia, but from what I gather they have a pretty efficient system to deal with these issues. Could they not just have reverted every redirect he made?

    13 votes
    1. [4]
      rkcr
      Link Parent
      I'm guessing it's like software development - it's easy to revert a change immediately after its made, but trying to revert it years later requires careful examination since you might be undoing...

      I'm guessing it's like software development - it's easy to revert a change immediately after its made, but trying to revert it years later requires careful examination since you might be undoing other changes based on the original change. Kind of like the butterfly effect, but for Wikipedia.

      9 votes
      1. [3]
        MonkeyPants
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        They were redirects. It's hard to imagine that redirects are that complex. You typed in ‘a trip down mammary lane’ and you were automatically redirected to 'breasts'. I think they just didn't...

        They were redirects.

        It's hard to imagine that redirects are that complex.

        You typed in ‘a trip down mammary lane’ and you were automatically redirected to 'breasts'.

        I think they just didn't prioritize a "delete all redirects from rouge_titty_slang_lover_power_admin user"

        Edit: I may be oversimplifying things here. There is actually a wikipedia entry for a trip down mammary lane. Presumably that required some sort of disambiguation page. But I dont see any articles on “tittypumper,” “tittypumpers,” “tit pump,” “pump titties,” “pumping boobies” etc...

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          rkcr
          Link Parent
          A common software developer mistake is underestimating how hard someone else's job is. "I could do it in a weekend" syndrome, and all that.

          A common software developer mistake is underestimating how hard someone else's job is. "I could do it in a weekend" syndrome, and all that.

          4 votes
          1. MonkeyPants
            Link Parent
            I deleted some unwanted mission critical data during one weekend many decades ago... which is why I am no longer a developer. Thank God for database rollbacks. Actually, I'm still not clear on why...

            I deleted some unwanted mission critical data during one weekend many decades ago... which is why I am no longer a developer. Thank God for database rollbacks.

            Actually, I'm still not clear on why they bothered cleaning it up in the first place.

            It's not like redirects show up in google.

            You have to type the phrase into Wikipedia first.

            It's like when I ratted my friend out to a teacher for swearing. The teacher insisted I say the swear word. After I finally dared utter the profanity, the teacher simply said "well, now you said that word as well."

            3 votes
    2. [2]
      Diff
      Link Parent
      I imagine they could have, but it would have done harm as well as good. I'd imagine you could have probably nuked every redirect page from him with the word "titty" in it and that'd give them a...

      I imagine they could have, but it would have done harm as well as good. I'd imagine you could have probably nuked every redirect page from him with the word "titty" in it and that'd give them a solid head start on things, and maybe that's what they ended up doing. But even with all the "safe enough" automatic rules you can lay down, there's going to be stuff you're not going to find til you trawl through his entire contribution history for bad redirects.

      4 votes
      1. primordial-soup
        Link Parent
        I think you are right. From what I can tell, he also contributed some good redirects, so nuking them all would have taken out both good and bad ones. I'm not sure where to find the ratio of good...

        I think you are right. From what I can tell, he also contributed some good redirects, so nuking them all would have taken out both good and bad ones. I'm not sure where to find the ratio of good to bad though.

        Some relevant links:

        6 votes
  2. xnaas
    Link
    I apologize that this comment doesn't contribute much, but what an incredibly quotable article. I think my favorites would be (emphasis mine): and: and: Neelix was certainly dedicated to his...

    I apologize that this comment doesn't contribute much, but what an incredibly quotable article.

    I think my favorites would be (emphasis mine):

    In his defense, however, Neelix testified that his account had not been hacked, nor had he used a bot to create such a vast number of redirects. Rather, he simply stated that he was a fast typer. “Considering that there seems to be so much opposition,” he responded, “I will not object to the redirects being deleted and I will not attempt to create more redirects in this vein, but I do think them valid.”

    and:

    Without a fitting explanation, administrators didn’t know what to do. If Neelix truly believed he was doing the right thing, perhaps this was simply a lapse in judgement that could be corrected. On the flip side, if this man was an inherently flawed titty mastermind, they had no other choice than to revoke him of his administrative power.

    and:

    The Trial of 80,000 Titties was over. Still, it would take administrators nearly three years to undo the damage Neelix had wrought. Recalling “such timeless classics as ‘booby surgeons,’ ‘titty waist hip measurement,’ ‘milks boobies’ and ‘titty physics,’” one Wikipedian concluded, “thank God he apparently never heard the term ‘jugs’ or ‘rack’ or other similar slang or this would have been many times worse.”

    Neelix was certainly dedicated to his craft...

    Additionally...I can't help but imagine the actual Neelix as the culprit and it just makes this all the funnier.

    10 votes
  3. [4]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [2]
      moocow1452
      Link Parent
      Allowing the behavior to continue condones it, and Wikipedia is now the place where this happens for a news cycle, other community members who contribute a lot might be offput, and poop flingers...

      But functionally speaking it doesn't seem to have done any harm to Wikipedia or to have victimized anyone, and now they're down a user that contributed a lot of quality work.

      Allowing the behavior to continue condones it, and Wikipedia is now the place where this happens for a news cycle, other community members who contribute a lot might be offput, and poop flingers can point to this guy and say "well if this behavior is justified, then what else can we get away with?"

      7 votes
      1. [2]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. Greg
          Link Parent
          I feel like the dude could have got a lot further by just explaining himself. It sounds like he was the one who chose to step down, rather than him being forced out per se, and it also sounds like...

          I feel like the dude could have got a lot further by just explaining himself. It sounds like he was the one who chose to step down, rather than him being forced out per se, and it also sounds like he had at least some opportunity to say "Yeah, that was super weird of me, I was blowing off steam/have trouble understanding social context/come from an unusual cultural background/etc".

          The fact he went with "Considering that there seems to be so much opposition, I will not object to the redirects being deleted and I will not attempt to create more redirects in this vein, but I do think them valid." is a hair's breadth away from doubling down, and that would concern me if I were a fellow admin. He doesn't sound like a bad person, but he does sound (from the small snippet this story gives) like a potential liability.

          4 votes
    2. Luna
      Link Parent
      I looked at the admin discussion page and it seems it actually does do some harm:

      But functionally speaking it doesn't seem to have done any harm to Wikipedia

      I looked at the admin discussion page and it seems it actually does do some harm:

      Side question: is the justification "to help out with user searches" even theoretically valid? It seems to me that the better Wikipedia's search engine gets, the less time we ought to be spending anticipating wacky user searches and clogging the Wikipedia namespace with preemptive redirects. —Steve Summit (talk) 00:00, 6 November 2015 (UTC)

      It's difficult to explain here without finding examples, but quite often yes. If we can create a redirect for a common but unusual search term to a target article, then the redirect aids in searches, since the automated search engine might not deal well with that. That doesn't seem to be the case for any that Neelix has created, at least none that I've found. In fact, many that he created actually hinder the search engine, for example see what comes up in search results for "boobs": [126] - many of the redirects we're talking about here come up, and they obscure potentially useful search results. Ivanvector 🍁 (talk) 01:51, 6 November 2015 (UTC)

      3 votes
  4. WendigoTulpa
    Link
    Instead of deleting them, they should have made a page for the scandal itself and redirect all of his redirects to it.

    Instead of deleting them, they should have made a page for the scandal itself and redirect all of his redirects to it.

    6 votes
  5. [3]
    joplin
    Link
    It's kind of sad that he took it so far. There's a usability issue here that he could have legitimately addressed. Some users don't know, or don't think of the proper terms when looking up stuff...

    It's kind of sad that he took it so far. There's a usability issue here that he could have legitimately addressed. Some users don't know, or don't think of the proper terms when looking up stuff like this. (Particularly children trying to understand what other people are talking about.) Having "tits" or "boobs" automatically replaced with "breasts" when doing a search isn't a terrible idea on its face.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      Thra11
      Link Parent
      If you put either of those into Wikipedia, you get disambiguation pages which include both the 'slang for breasts' meanings and the other possible meanings.

      Having "tits" or "boobs" automatically replaced with "breasts" when doing a search isn't a terrible idea on its face.

      If you put either of those into Wikipedia, you get disambiguation pages which include both the 'slang for breasts' meanings and the other possible meanings.

      2 votes
      1. joplin
        Link Parent
        So it does! I think that's a smart idea. For example "boob job" redirects to "breast augmentation", which is the kind of thing I was getting at. I don't know whether they kept some of what the...

        So it does! I think that's a smart idea. For example "boob job" redirects to "breast augmentation", which is the kind of thing I was getting at. I don't know whether they kept some of what the moderator in question added, or if these were done previously, or since, but I think it's reasonable.

        2 votes
  6. MonkeyPants
    Link
    The Wikipedia admin board might give a few on here some nasty flashbacks to their days as moderators on Reddit. And in response

    The Wikipedia admin board might give a few on here some nasty flashbacks to their days as moderators on Reddit.

    I've realized from my time in real life that topics related to "naughty bits" get people in an abnormally strange, highly reactive state of mind. Same goes for "bad words." God help the people who combine them together, for a hammer of censorship awaits thee.

    And in response

    This is nothing about censorship; the censorship guideline says we don't include information just because it's offensive to some. That's very different from "it's offensive to some and completely lacks any encyclopedic purpose whatsoever".

    ...I agree with you... society doesn't talk about "Atrophy of the titties", and if you can type "atrophy" you should be able to type something other than "titties".

    2 votes
  7. Good_Apollo
    Link
    I mean it’s weird, it’s unprofessional, but they’re ultimately just useless redirects so I don’t see the literal harm. It’s not like he’s a paid employee, just a very dedicated volunteer with a...

    I mean it’s weird, it’s unprofessional, but they’re ultimately just useless redirects so I don’t see the literal harm. It’s not like he’s a paid employee, just a very dedicated volunteer with a sense of humor.

    I’m sure his contributions outweigh the embarrassment of these silly redirects.

    1 vote