Topic on Talk:Page Curation

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Jorm (WMF) (talkcontribs)

So, we've been talking about the list of New Pages as a queue. People either work from the front or the back of the queue, as it were. I want to step outside of that thinking and propose a different system because there are several problems with it (not the least of which being that people edit conflict each other when working on the same side of the queue).

Let us instead think of putting new pages into a "stack". This is programmer terminology, so I'm loathe to use it, but it's a more accurate term. A "queue" is a stack, but it's got a specified direction: "First in, first out" (FIFO), or "Last in, first out" (LIFO). Currently, patrolling from the front of the queue is a FIFO process, and patrolling from the back is a LIFO process.

We don't have to be bound by this idea. We can create unique stacks per user. We can also do things like "filter by categories" or other metadata that might be easy to pick up (and, in the future, with better metadata tags, get even fancier). Unique stacks would also help to alleviate edit conflicts and double patrolling.

Consider a system like the following:

Say that there are 1,000 articles in the total queue. They are (naturally) ordered by creation date. We have five people who start "Patrolling".

For each of those five people, the system will randomly select 20 articles from the entire queue, shuffle the order, and then present them to the Patroller. No two people will get the same articles as long as they are in the same "patrolling session". So if I start a session, the system may assign me articles #45 as part of my personal stack. As long as I'm in the session, no one else will be assigned article #45. If I end the session, or close it, or skip #45, it will be put back into the main pool and can be assigned to someone else.

It's like a deck of cards. Currently, we only ever see the cards in order: AH, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H, etc. Let us instead shuffle the deck. When you deal hands in poker, no two people will ever have the same cards (unless, you know, someone is cheating). Further, we're guaranteed a more equitable distribution of attention across the entire queue.

Patrollers could still choose to focus on the front or the back (FIFO, LIFO), obviously. They could also create "stacks" based around categories or namespaces. It may be possible to do stack creation based around WikiProject but I think that's too much to hope for.


Kudpung (talkcontribs)

I certainly understand the function you are describing. However, we have to consider that very few volunteers actually do a 'session' in the way tasks would be allocated in an office environment. Even I, who works from a home office, often spends hours on end at NPP, relish the freedom to dodge around the site doing things such as working my own articles and doing other random editing, admin tasks, and doing other Wikipedia project work. When doing NPP people stop to discuss issues with each other such as for example today's conversation - we may even have a quick video chat to discuss some particularly difficult issues. To that there is the freedom of doing anything else in RL that comes along.

The same applies to the way we work for example at OTRS - and that's why I suggested a system similar to ticket enquiry software solutions. When you want, you grab a page and then it's blocked for you until you've dealt with it. Nevertheless, we must not forget that we rarely have more than 7 patrollers working at any time at the front, and perhaps one or two working at the back of the queue. Other people pop in and simple patrol a page or two on the fly. And that's for around 1,000 pages a day. When it's night time there in the US, I'm often the lone ranger - and that's when pages are flooding in from India, Asia , the Philippines, and Australia/NZ.

We need more patrollers, and ones who know how to do it, but it's most definitely not a task that appeals to everyone.

A useful tool developed by Snottywong clearly shows how this works.

WereSpielChequers (talkcontribs)

I like the idea of reducing edit conflicts. But I don't like the idea that attack pages sit for longer, so this would need to be combined with the red colour concept for high risk articles that are available to all patrollers. The category idea is good if it can be used to create wikiproject specific pages that would be subpages of each wikiproject, but the that is largely for mid-queue to assist the end of the queue team, as a large proportion of new articles are uncategorised - some for days.

The drawback of the stack idea is that a lot of us have ways of judging what sort of article something is from the couple of lines at special newpages, and I suspect a lot of us like the ability to pick and choose. What would make a difference would be something that allowed you to ignore articles that another patroller was in edit mode in.

Kudpung (talkcontribs)

You've made a very important point about the 'couple of lines at special newpages'. The entry on the special:new pages should be a little bit longer to provide adequate description. This would enable editors like me who generally cherry pick for articles on BLP and bands, or otherwise toxic, etc;, that are very likely to be customers for deletion

This should be a very easy software tweak and perhaps we should file a bug for it. We also need to include this in any advice we give tio NPPers.