Talk:User icons

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The page should highlight somewhere that this is a highly controversial proposal. For instance, discussed it many times in the last few years and it was always rejected. I'm sure other wikis had the same discussions with identical result. --Nemo 16:48, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

Lots of things are controversial on one wiki and less controversial on others, so I wouldn't assume it's universally controversial. While I agree with you that it's important to note if some communities have discussed features in the past, Wikimedia features engineering is working quite a bit that could be considered controversial in some way, so it's not like this document is dramatically more or less controversial than say, the idea of using avatars in Flow. To be totally honest, whether something is controversial among Wikipedians has little to do with whether it's a potentially beneficial addition from a user experience design perspective. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 19:54, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Actually this may be considered worse than avatars because it can give false ideas on the social structure of the wikis. Anyway, I'm just assuming that when considering something you'll incorporate past experiences and discussions in your considerations; otherwise you'll waste the precious resource which our wikis' history is, only to repeat the same patterns over and over. --Nemo 22:16, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
I agree in distinguishing bot edits with an icon, or even unregistered users. But absolutely not sysops or experienced users. It could give the idea "that user is more important than the other one". --Superchilum (talk) 13:34, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Alternative to "experienced editor" icon[edit]

As an example, the whole "experienced editor" icon proposal doesn't have any concrete use-case, but it's easy to find better ideas by looking at our wikis' history.
A valid use-case is "As a user, I want to easily find an administrator to contact directly when I need one for an administrative action". Well, our wikis (and in particular Commons I think, but also e.g. have used for years Toolserver tools like ActiveUsers (now broken) and more recently stewardry. Integrating in core (maybe even in Special:ListAdmins) such a feature, allowing users to immediately find an online/active sysop/whatever, would surely be (more) useful.
Don't ignore the past disussions and the years of experience of the communities of people working daily on our projects, you won't find in individual minds any better resource than this collective wisdom. --Nemo 08:35, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Strongly oppose[edit]

  • Oppose Oppose I strongly oppose the proposal. We risk to create "first class"/"second class" users. When we edit the main mainspace we are all the same: no differences (except some rare, technical cases). Therefore: no differences, no different color, IMHO. --Lucas (talk) 20:53, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose I agree with Lucas. --Daniele Pugliesi (talk) 15:45, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Guys, this isn't a vote or a Request for Comment. It's a draft of ideas. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 02:36, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Hi Steven, mine wasn't a vote so please take it as a motivated idea as it is (the use of a template should not undermine the value of an opinion, I hope). :-) I clearly explained that I see the risk of creating different "classes" of users, and I said why. But if you ask for a deeper (and less rude :-) explanation there is no problem!
I do not find any actual valid reason to differentiate edits (with an icon/a different color...) on the basis of the privilege status of an user. Don't get me wrong, I know that it could be useful here and there, but we are all equal when we modify a page: in my opinion we should always stay so, even in the page history and elsewhere (please consider that I am actually a sysop, so I deeply understand the related issues, pro and cons, etc). Possibly, we could someway mark only the technical edits made by admins (or specific user groups) such as a deletion or a rollback, but the "edit" itself - adding info to a page, modifying something... - is a "we-are-all-equal" action, and should remain so, imho. Don't forget also that the page's history is a very important part of an article (practically and legally). If we suggest - even indirectly - a difference between admins' edit, autoconfirmeds' edit, stewards' edits (...), this could create the bias of a different importance between users and also have legal repercussions (especially in many less-modern nations, like mine :-) ). To sum up, I understand the idea and in some part I like the purpose, but I think it has too many disadvantages. :) --Lucas (talk) 07:21, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
We're not actually treated equal when we edit. Let's not put our heads in the sand and ignore the fact that Wikimedians do in fact use signals like redlinks and usernames to differentiate which edits they should pay close attention to and which they can ignore. Now, we can definitely talk about particular icons ideas (like say, for sysops) as being good or bad. But pretending "we're all equal" when new and anonymous editors are clearly not treated with equal trust is folly. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 19:02, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Are we not actually treated equal? Well, maybe it's true, but it's as true as definitely wrong: we shouldn't forget that it's against the 5 pillars. I honestly treat an IP the same way I treat a sysop. I treat slightly different only users that I know and I trust, but this is a personal, psychological and human behaviour, and should not involve the whole Wikipedia. If you think that other wikipedians are treating users in different way maybe it would be better to spend our energy in solving this prejudice, rather than increase it by giving icons, colors or other "distinctive" stuff. We should welcome and encourage new users, letting them think that they are exactly the same as we old user are. How could we gain new users otherwise? --Lucas (talk) 18:57, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Anyhow, when we edit a page (article or discussion), we are all equal, how we are treated is a completely different matter. --Lucas (talk) 19:11, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
I fully agree that all editors should be treated with civility and good faith. But the point still remains that it is helpful for editors to be able to differentiate anonymous editors, new editors, etc. because they are in fact different. What you're assuming is that basic UI modifications to create explicit, rather than the current implicit markers of anonymous or new contributors, would lead to some change where it became officially acceptable to treat people poorly. I don't think that's the case. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 19:49, 26 March 2013 (UTC)


Many wikis have systems as patrolled revisions (and, consequently, autopatrolled rights to certain flags) which sensibly speed up RC patrolling activity without creating "class distinctions": the risk, in my opinion, is to give the impression that certain users are more equal than others or even that their vote/opinion/advice counts more than other users'. Let us remember that administrators act as administrators only when using one of their rights (i.e.: deletions, block, etc) or in other selected occasions, e.g. when (some wikis even give this function to "simple" users) a RfD has to be closed and the verdict must be applied. We can easily see that there is no point in marking as "admin" this kind of edits, as they are undoubtedly made by an admin. In any other case, a sysop is a user, nothing more, and his advice shall be regarded only as an experienced user's advice, which can be distinguished from an inexperienced user's quite easily, since usually inexperienced users don't give advice :) The only use I could actually see for this kind of badge is while RC patrolling: I need a block to be performed ASAP, so I look for the magic icon and it's done. Actually, many wikis have other systems to request blocks and speedy deletions, and anyway there are other ways to find a sysop in a few seconds. As for new users, one can usually recognize them by the way they contribute and comment. Even in this case, though, there would be no need to distinguish them during a talk: if they bring valid points to the discussion these points shall be taken into considerations, regardless of their origin, on the other hand, if their comment it does not reveal important aspects or carry relevant opinions (e.g. if a certain opinion has already been pointed out and it needs no further development) it can be "ignored" or counted simply as a "support", regardless, again, of its origin. The only true effect of this proposal would be to give the impression that the wiki Project runs on a system of peerage and to submerge administrators with questions which should be asked at the help desk or at the village pump (many new users think admins are some kind of omniscient forum moderator). By the way, local policies on bots often require them to be already recognizable as such, e.g. by including in their username the term "bot"; moreover, their edits are already marked with a "b". That's quite all, folks :) --Vodka Martini (talk) 16:27, 21 March 2013 (UTC)