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  • I have a question regarding user rights. Are editors allowed to delete constructive remarks on their talk page in order to make themselves look good or does that violate the site's rules?

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    • Short answer: Yes, they are allowed to delete anything from "their" user pages.

      Long Answer : See Help:Terms of use

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    • I think it's a per-wiki basis. I was on some wikis where I replaced my talkpage with a template I usually replace it with and the admins reverted it because it was a policy on that wiki.

      So yeah, read the wiki's policy.

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    • KockaAdmiralac wrote:
      I think it's a per-wiki basis. I was on some wikis where I replaced my talkpage with a template I usually replace it with and the admins reverted it because it was a policy on that wiki.

      So yeah, read the wiki's policy.

      I think you misunderstood the question. The TOU allows users  to remove anything they want from their talk pages. Wiki admins (or anyone really) are also allowed to restore it, if it doesn't violate the TOU or even block the user from editing the page if they keep removing it, and the admins want it kept for any ludicrous reason.

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    • Dessamator wrote:

      I think you misunderstood the question.

      Maybe. Although I think the OP didn't clarify what did they mean by "site rules"

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    • It doesn't really matter. The TOU supersede ALL "local wiki" rules.

      The user is free to do it, although they may risk getting banned from a particular wiki (if it has such rules).

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    • Dessamator wrote:
      The TOU allows users to remove anything they want from their talk pages.

      Is this something you've specifically asked Staff because I don't see anything in the TOU that specifically claims they have that right? At most I'd say this is a matter of interpretation that only Staff could answer, if applicable under the TOU.

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    • DEmersonJMFM wrote:
      Dessamator wrote:
      The TOU allows users to remove anything they want from their talk pages.
      Is this something you've specifically asked Staff because I don't see anything in the TOU that specifically claims they have that right? At most I'd say this is a matter of interpretation that only Staff could answer, if applicable under the TOU.

      It is not open to interpretation. I'll give you a simple example, if you add a rule that users can upload porn then staff will likely remove all that type of content and  possibly ban the user and all admins of the wiki if they continue doing that.

      Of course staff can (and does on occasion )  ignore the TOU and allow or ignore something that breaks the TOU. To give an example, some wikis (e.g. runescape) currently have customizations that clearly break the TOU, and I'm 100% sure staff has been visited the wiki after it was added.

      Feel free to contact them directly, if you want an "official answer".

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    • The purpose of user talk pages have nothing to do with the TOU, other than the obvious "don't harass users/upload porn/use it for illegal purposes". Each wiki has their own policies regarding the use of a user talkpage, so you need to check the wiki's policies regarding user talkpage use (if no policy exists on the wiki, ask a local sysop, as they will possibly have an unwritten rule on talkpage use).

      However, despite wiki's having their own policy on their use, a large number of wiki's that use talkpages over walls don't allow users to remove messages from there, unless it's a message just being used for unreasonable harassment of the user, as talkpages are public communications areas for users of the wiki to leave messages about editing practices or solving disputes. Unlike message walls, user talkpages generally do not belong to the user but are community property. Therefore, most wiki's will revert any edits whereby you remove talkpage posts (other than the generally accepted practice of archiving its contents to a subpage, but making sure a link to the archives exists).

      I have no idea why Dessamator is directing people to Wikia Staff and the contact form for this. They would simply say that it's up to local wiki's to determine what you can use the talkpage for.

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    • SuperSajuuk wrote:

      I have no idea why Dessamator is directing people to Wikia Staff and the contact form for this. They would simply say that it's up to local wiki's to determine what you can use the talkpage for.

      Like noted previously, people are confusing rules[1] with guidelines[2] . What wiki admins "create" (and sometimes enforce) are guidelines, and none are binding either to other editors or to wikia staff. This is an absolute Wikia rule.

      One can do lots of things on one's talk pages anywhere without breaching  any Wikia Rules. In fact, a guideline may be there one day and removed the next. This can happen through a change of leadership of a wiki or simply due to an admins' whims because they aren't required or forced to write any of their guidelines anywhere but are still allowed to ban over anything (except when it comes to a discussion about change of admin / bureaucrat rights).

      Message walls and threads are somewhat unique because they allow a user to easily hide any thread. Removal of that capability either through CSS or JS is a breach of the TOU. 

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    • 452

      Dessamator wrote: I think you misunderstood the question.

      I agree with KockaAdmiralac's interpretation of the question, and their answer. (As well as SuperSajuuk's answer.)

      • 75.128.47.18 asked if editors were allowed to delete things from their user talk pages.
      • 75.128.47.18 did not ask what the TOU said about it.

      You have interpreted 75.128.47.18's question as being about the TOU, when their question makes no mention of the TOU, nor any indication that their question is about the TOU.

      As 75.128.47.18 did not specify any particular wiki, it is impossible to be more specific, so the only relevant answer is: Whether an editor is allowed to delete things from their user talk page depends of the rules of that particular wiki.

      Dessamator wrote: What wiki admins "create" (and sometimes enforce) are guidelines

      [citation needed]

      That may be your definition, but that doesn't make it fact. If you would like to assert that this is fact, then the onus is on you to link to where Wikia Staff have specified that wiki admins are not permitted to create "rules" and are only permitted to create "guidelines".

      Luckily, I've had many discussions with Wikia Staff in the past about what fundamental rights users and admins have, and they commonly use the word "rules" to refer to "things admins can create and enforce"

      In support ticket #99265 about this very topic, "Do User Pages/Talk Pages and Message Walls belong to the user?", "semanticdrifter" said "Some communities have strict rules about what can and cannot go one those pages, while others take a much more laissez-faire approach and consider them to be the "property" of the user.", which tells me:

      • A. Individual wikis are allowed to make "rules".
      • B. What users can do with their user talk pages is up to each individual wiki.
        • Obviously, admins cannot allow something that is already restricted by the TOU, but that is not what this question was ever about.

      In support ticket #196515, "Sannse Carter Cushway" said "[...] is not something we remove rights for, nor is being strict with a wikia's rules." and "I see that [redacted] did not keep to your rules and, as I said, I accept your right to ban him."

      In support ticket #6054, I asked "are admins allowed to make rules? [...]", to which "Brandon Rhea" replied: "[...] admins can set their own rules"

      In support ticket #88367, in response to a question regarding user pages and the TOU, "semanticdrifter" said "However, such a policy could be a local decision and if the community wants to institute such a rule for that particular wiki, they are free to do so."

      In support ticket #7058, in response to a question about individual wikis doing things differently, "Tim Quievryn" said: "We have said a number of times that "We strongly encourage wikis to create their own specific guidelines and rules that fit their community and topic.""

      In fact, http://community.wikia.com/wiki/Help:Community_guidelines still says: "We strongly encourage communities to create their own specific guidelines and rules that fit their community and topic"

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    • 452 wrote:

      As 75.128.47.18 did not specify any particular wiki, it is impossible to be more specific, so the only relevant answer is: Whether an editor is allowed to delete things from their user talk page depends of the rules of that particular wiki.

      Here the issue is rights vs rules, a user has a technical right to remove things from a page related to their profile. A user page is just like any other talk page, despite the fact that some people and "wikis" may feel posessive of it.

      Otherwise, the message walls which are often used as "discussion pages" would not have this as a feature. While admins may ban or  punish the user for doing so it doesn't change the fact that they can do it.

      In fact, http://community.wikia.com/wiki/Help:Community_guidelines still says: "We strongly encourage communities to create their own specific guidelines and rules that fit their community and topic"

      It is funny that you link to a page entitled "community guidelines" and claim that these are rules. Either the title of the page is wrong, or it is inconsistent, or these aren't "rules".

      Anyway, I'll agree with you that it is my own personal definition. I'll leave the "true" definition to lawyers or wikia staff.

      In any case, I'll requote the question above and re-answer it:

      Are editors allowed to delete constructive remarks on their talk page

      @Opening Poster: Yes, but such editors may risk getting banned by admins or bureaucrats for not following the specific guidelines of a very specific wiki and Wikia staff is not likely to do anything about it.

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    • SuperSajuuk wrote: user talkpages generally do not belong to the user but are community property.

      Nothing stored in wikia servers is "community property". Restoring a page to preserve it as some sort of archive or "history" is neither recommended nor supported by wikia. Their terms clearly note [1]:

      The Site is not and shall not function as an archive. We have no liability to you or any other person for loss, damage, or destruction to your content. You are solely responsible at your sole cost and expense for creating backup copies and replacing any content you post or store on the Service or provide to us.
      Furthermore they note [2].:

      You understand and agree that others may, but are not obligated to, edit, delete or remove (without notice) any content from the Service, for any reason or no reason.

      Which again proves my point. It doesn't particularly matter if someone is admin or bureaucrat. Also note that most staff aren't lawyers, so they may give their interpretation of the TOU, and Wikia Lawyers aren't obligated to give any legal advice to random users.

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    • I think the user who sent the message also has a local right to the integrity of their contribution. The user could simply & conversely restore their message via their own contributions page - though this could cause further disruption.

      A question to whoever's here: would VSTF intervene if a user removed multiple messages across wikis related to a local edit sanction on the basis of vandalism?

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    • >A question to whoever's here: would VSTF intervene if a user removed multiple messages across wikis related to a local edit sanction on the basis of vandalism?

      I doubt it. Talk pages can be edited by anyone, and can contain false or altered  or irrelevant information. In fact, one of the features (or flaws) of  "talk " and "user" pages is that they can be created way before the user ever exists (registers). One may create a new account and inherit "constructive remarks" or "local edit sanctions".

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    • Speedit wrote:

      A question to whoever's here: would VSTF intervene if a user removed multiple messages across wikis related to a local edit sanction on the basis of vandalism?

      This is a rather nuanced question. Forgive me for not giving a nuanced answer, but the (basic) bottom line is that VSTF only intervene when the following are true:

      • There is vandalism or spam
      • There are no admins actively editing as seen on the Recent Changes OR the vandalism is particularly severe

      Exporting this to your nuanced case, it is unlikely that we would intervene, as if they have a local edit sanction, it is fair to say that there are local admins around to deal with this situation too.

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    • Thank you for the answer. This specific situation is the most likeliest to come to the attention of people from other wikis & in reports, which is why I asked.

      I feel like people removing things from their wall or talk page isn't in tune with transparency - which is an important tenet of running a stable wiki. The ToU does oblige removing messages that aren't in line with its stipulations on user conduct, conversely.

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    • 452

      Dessamator wrote:

      Otherwise, the message walls which are often used as "discussion pages" would not have this as a feature.

      Wikia Staff have said that the presence of the "remove" feature is the same as the ability to blank a page: just because you "technically can" does not imply it is necessarily okay to do so.

      The "remove" option is standard for all users and needs to remain. This is akin to the ability any user has to blank another user's talk page, so if it happens, the proper action is to revert and enforce/ban as per your wiki's policy.
      ~ Wikia Support ticket #54764, 2012-10-09


      Additionally, when the moderator right was introduced, what regular users could do changed to: "Regular users are not able to revert actions performed by moderators or admins (remove, restore, close, reopen), even on their own Message Walls.", which shows that although the "remove" option exists, it does not mean everyone is inherently "allowed" to remove their own messages, and that it is up to the moderators and admins whether to permit a removal.


      Dessamator wrote:

      It is funny that you link to a page entitled "community guidelines" and claim that these are rules.

      I have never claimed that the list on Help:Community guidelines are rules.

      It is a guideline that communities are encouraged to make their own rules.


      Dessamator wrote:

      SuperSajuuk wrote: user talkpages generally do not belong to the user but are community property.

      Nothing stored in wikia servers is "community property".

      I think the idea that "user talkpages do not belong to the user" is the more important aspect of this comment, as it is more relevant to the question at hand.


      Dessamator wrote:

      The Site is not and shall not function as an archive. [etc]

      This paragraph does not restrict the ability for individual wikis to enforce a "Do not remove comments from your user talk page" rule.

      I even double-checked with Wikia Staff:

      Wikia Staff wrote:

      452 wrote:

      "Does the section of the TOU stating "The Site is not and shall not function as an archive." mean that individual wikis are not allowed to enforce a "Do not remove comments from your user talk page" rule?"

      No.

      452 wrote:

      "Are users allowed to demand the right to remove comments by saying "I'm allowed to remove comments from my talk page, because the Site is not and shall not function as an archive."?"
      No.

      Dessamator wrote:

      You understand and agree that others may, but are not obligated to, edit, delete or remove (without notice) any content from the Service, for any reason or no reason.

      This paragraph does not restrict the ability for individual wikis to enforce a "Do not remove comments from your user talk page" rule.

      I even double-checked with Wikia Staff:

      Wikia Staff wrote:

      452 wrote:

      "Does the section of the TOU stating "You understand and agree that others may, but are not obligated to, edit, delete or remove (without notice) any content from the Service, for any reason or no reason." mean that individual wikis are not allowed to enforce a "Do not remove comments from your user talk page" rule?"

      No.

      452 wrote:

      "Are users allowed to demand the right to remove comments by saying "You agreed that others - such as myself - may remove content for any reason, therefore I'm allowed."?"
      No.

      Dessamator wrote:

      Also note that most staff aren't lawyers, so they may give their interpretation of the TOU, and Wikia Lawyers aren't obligated to give any legal advice to random users.
      I'm not really sure what this has to do with the topic at hand.

      I've asked Wikia a lot of questions over the years regarding the TOU, and they've never refused to answer a question about the intent of the TOU with the excuse "we can't give you legal advice".

      There are some questions which they've refused to answer hypothetical questions about, and the reason for that is that the TOU is deliberately broadly written so that they can apply it however they like.

      But they have only ever played the "we can't give you legal advice" card in response to my questions regarding licensing/copyright, and rightfully so as those are legal issues which are out of their control. The TOU is written by Wikia, for Wikia to use to tell you what you can and can't do on Wikia.


      (edit: I have completely reworded this final section.)

      Dessamator wrote:

      While admins may ban or punish the user for doing so it doesn't change the fact that they can do it.

      I did not say it did, but that does not answer the question that 75.128.47.18 asked.

      • 75.128.47.18 did not ask if they can do it.
      • 75.128.47.18 did not ask if Santa would put them on the naughty list.
      • 75.128.47.18 did not ask if the TOU forbids it.
      • 75.128.47.18 did not ask if it would make them go blind.
      • 75.128.47.18 did not ask if was against the 10 commandments.
      • 75.128.47.18 did not ask if it was moral or ethical to do so.
      • 75.128.47.18 did not ask if they would be grounded for it.
      • 75.128.47.18 did not ask if it was against the law.
      • 75.128.47.18 did not ask if they would get detention for it.
      • 75.128.47.18 did not ask if they had the technical capability to blank a page.


      • 75.128.47.18 asked whether they are allowed.
      • 75.128.47.18 asked if removing a comment would violate the site's rules.
      • 75.128.47.18 posted this question on the "Community Management board" not the "Getting Technical board".


      Whether or not someone is allowed depends on each wiki.

      Whether or not it violates a wiki's rules depends on the rules of each wiki.

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    • Wikia Staff have said that the presence of the "remove" feature is the same as the ability to blank a page: just because you "technically can" does not imply it is necessarily okay to do so.

      That applies to anything in a wiki, and again is in agreement with the terms of use (TOU). To put it in simpler terms as long as the TOU is respected:

      1. Person A can do action A
      2. Person B can undo action A
      3. Special Person C can prevent & revert actions by Person A & B
      4. Special Person D can prevent & revert actions by Person A & B & C

      This is the pattern in any wiki and happens quite frequently. Local guidelines cannot in any way to prevent actions of those persons (A, B, C, and D). Unless wikia staff intervenes.

      The later quotes all fall in line with that. While one can use made up guidelines and call them rules and use that as "justification" when forcing their point of view it doesn't necessarily prove anything either. One well researched concept that applies here is Argumentum_ad_populum.

      There is a difference between a technical right, and a social right. Most people in this thread seem to be concerned with the social one. There is also a technical Mediawiki limit (and many other limits) to how much content can be in a wiki page (talk page) which renders those strange made up rules irrelevant.

      So the first answer to the OP remains accurate. It seems that debating on whether "social rights" trump technical rights is something best left to philosophers and maybe lawyers.

      Future readers and the OP have all the information needed to make up their mind so I'll refrain from responding any further.

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