Wikipedia talk:Counter-Vandalism Unit

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Counter-Vandalism Unit  
This project page is within the scope of the Counter-Vandalism Unit, a WikiProject dedicated to combating vandalism on Wikipedia. You can help the CVU by watching the recent changes and undoing unconstructive edits. For more information go to the CVU's home page or see cleaning up vandalism.

JoinEdit

How do I join this WikiProject? Iconman1 (talk) 13:42, 21 December 2020 (UTC)

Counter-vandalism article inquiryEdit

Hello,

I'm a journalist working on an article about counter-vandalism for Wikipedia Day. I'm hoping to speak to someone in a senior/administrative role in the CVU. Is there anyone here who might be willing to answer some questions about the project and counter-vandalism in general?

Thanks,

Ben — Preceding unsigned comment added by BenLindbergh (talkcontribs) 14:15, 11 January 2021 (UTC)

Dormant little land mines, sitting there for yearsEdit

I'd like to start a discussion to maybe exchange tools, tips, and tricks for finding and/or dealing with vandalism that sneaks through the various protections and ends up remaining in an article for a long time. I'm sure I'm not the only one to find vandalism in an article that has remained there for years. What, if anything, can we do to be more successful in ferreting these out?

My most recent example was from Historiography of the causes of World War I, where some college kid added his name, or his friend's name, into a list of famous historians of World War I. This happened in 2009, and was only just removed today. (Actually, the sequence was, that the user added it into the parent article, Causes of World War I in the #Historiography section, which was then split off in 2010 into the child Historiography article, where it remained until today.) It was first inserted in rev. 273335003 of 02:13, February 26, 2009 by 130.108.199.86, and then copied over in good faith by the creator of the new article on 21:08 May 23, 2010 in rev. 363797737.

What could we have done better to find this sooner, instead of after eleven years? What about going forward—there are surely other little unexploded land mines lurking out there, not attracting attention on anybody's watchlist because they've been out there for so long, and the regular editors on the article are so used to seeing them they don't see them; they might even have been inserted not far before a citation, so they might appear sourced. How do we unearth these? Thanks, Mathglot (talk) 06:46, 12 January 2021 (UTC)

I've been working on this for some time, and the short answer is, yes, there are hundreds if not thousands of cases of undetected vandalism. I know this is kind of my soapbox but these are particularly worrying because due to the nature of Wikipedia, if it sticks around enough, it gets picked up by sites that scrape Wikipedia, possibly Google, and even legitimate news/research sources. The longest I've found is over 13 years old.
The way I find some of these is very brute-force, and only works for "obvious" vandalism, but I have a list of keywords that I search for, usually combined by filtering out false-positive keywords (for instance "poop" but not "poop deck"). Some numbers are on the watchlist as well -- obviously the number 69 showing up in an article isn't always vandalism, but there's a better than average chance, same with 420, etc. Any slang or Internet memes, not just current but late '00s/early '10s as well. Phrases like "this wiki sucks" or whatnot. That kind of thing. You sort of have to think like a 14-year-old boy. Gnomingstuff (talk) 04:19, 13 January 2021 (UTC)
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