RationalWiki talk:RationalMedia Foundation

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Use this talk page to bring matters to the attention of the board of trustees, discuss meta matters relevant to mission of the wiki, and to give input on the strategic direction of the wiki.
The RationalMedia trustees are:

CosmikdebrisSpudDuceMoosoliniShabidooApooftGnegiolTmtoulouse (operations manager)

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Usage of Google's CAPTCHA service[edit]

Currently, all users who are not registered and autoconfirmed, or granted autopatrolled manually by a sysop, have to complete a CAPTCHA, served by Google, in order to have their edits saved in the wiki. This is done as an anti-spam measure.

However, in my time in this position as a wiki sysop, I've had to delete at least 2 times userpage spam made by what is obviously a bot. Thus, I'd like to start a discussion around the need to keep Google's CAPTCHA around.

I'd like for RationalWiki to cease usage of this CAPTCHA service, for the following reasons:

  • Dubious effectiveness: It is impossible to know how much spam have been caught by this service, however, given that I have seen edits that should have been caught by that service, I speculate that the majority of it is actually caught by our edit filter. In fact, the developer team of ConfirmEdit (the extension used to add the CAPTCHA to MediaWiki sites) puts it's effectiveness on "Medium to Low"
  • Privacy concerns: Even if you are a logged-in user, at least one of your edits (or all 10+ if no-one gives you autopatrolled) will first go through the CAPTCHA, meaning that Google does know the IP address from which you edit as a logged-in user.
  • Accessibility issues: MediaWiki by default is pretty accessible, as it doesn't require JavaScript at all, in fact I don't even have JavaScript turned on in this website and there's only a minimal loss of functions, for example I can't vote in WIGO threads or use gadgets, but I can use all other functionality. In order to solve the CAPTCHA, you need JavaScript, which is not usable in text browsers like Lynx, or in browsers where the user has disabled JavaScript for privacy reasons.

I propose the following as replacements:

  • Just nuke it and not have a CAPTCHA. In this case, RW would rely on the edit filter and sysops to fight spam, which, as stated before, is what I think is the case right now.
  • Use QuestyCaptcha. This extension uses instead a list of predefined questions. If we decide to get rid of reCAPTCHA and go this route, I propose that these questions should be decided the following way:
    • Have all techs meet every year and, through a private channel, like email or whatever (as otherwise spammers can just compile these questions in their spam software), decide if it is suspected that the current list of questions got compiled by spammers and, should it be suspected to be the case, compile a new list of questions, which an administrator would then have to add to the wiki. Quite elaborate, I honestly think we should just nuke the CAPTCHA and not bother, however I would be open to do this as well.

While this is the Foundation's noticeboard, I invite anyone who cares about this issue to comment. Rabbitseatcarrots (talk) 16:23, 20 September 2022 (UTC)

The reason for the low rating for reCAPTCHA is that most spambots can complete it "mainly due to its accessible captcha alternative". Rabbitseatcarrots (talk) 21:19, 20 September 2022 (UTC)
I'd also like to note that our current use of reCAPTCHA is most likely a GDPR violation which probably should get addressed. -- Techpriest (talk) 21:33, 20 September 2022 (UTC)
That's reasonable then. Perhaps you could briefly explain how it might violate the GDPR? Bongolian (talk) 22:31, 20 September 2022 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think the recent spambot attack really puts in evidence just how effective the CAPTCHA really is. It may not stop very obvious bots, but it sure as hell takes me forever to complete manually every time I come across the fucking thing. Rabbitseatcarrots (talk) 14:48, 22 October 2022 (UTC)

You guys doing okay?[edit]

@Cosmikdebris, Spud, DuceMoosolini, Shabidoo, GeeJayK, and Tmtoulouse

Well Rats, how's it goin'? Haven't checked the website in a while (that's a f@cking lie, been lurking every now and again). It's nice to see this place is still here. There have been some things on my mind. Hope you guys don't mind it if I just throw them out there.

1. I see that no 990-N Tax return forms have been posted in a while... Does the Foundation have a different tax status now or did someone just forget to post the pdfs? (Y'all can't use the "Goat ate my homework excuse", cause I know from experience that PDFs can't be eaten!)

2. Do you guys remember how over the years a lot of you said that you are in favour of greater transparency and would have no objections to posting minutes of meetings (to prove you still exist, if nothing else)? Is that, uhm... like, in the process of happening? Sometime? Maybe? Kinda?

3. We ever get around to officially changing the foundations name? I see the website says RMF, so is it no longer technically the RWF? If so, we can probably fix this little piece of trivia.

4. Do Fundraisers still happen? I remember Tmtoulouse would occasionally update the site notice but I see he hasn't done that in a while... is it done differently now? Is everything okay on the money front?

See, what I'm trying to ask, in a really roundabout sort of way is... are you all confident this website will continue to exist? Not like into next week, or next month but like, next year, or 5 years from now? Cause I would kinda like to edit this place... and I just can't tell if it would be futile or not. Like fixing the engine of a car that's destined for the scrapheap.

I just can't f@cking tell if one day, in the near future, I will type the URL into my search bar and I'll get nothing in response.

But hey, I'm probably worrying over nothin'. "Bad money can never be lost" as they say in the old country. I've got a feeling that some of you f@ckers will be at this lark till the heat death of the universe.

Anyway, thanks for readin'.

Peace. - Rairyu75 (Talk) 00:56, 6 November 2022 (UTC)

The reason nobody's posted minutes in a long time is because we haven't held a meeting in quite a while due to a lot of Board members being busy with IRL stuff. I have a few things I plan to raise on the Foundation discord like posting tax returns and maybe shifting to a more text-centric style of handling meetings, but we're still around and Toulouse still does the maintenance stuff we need him to (he got the ball rolling on the Mediawiki update). This is just a period of lower activity, which frankly isn't that unusual for the Board. Pizza SLICE.gifChef Moosolini’s Ristorante ItalianoMake a Reservation 07:05, 7 November 2022 (UTC)
He's right, you know. Spud (talk) 07:50, 7 November 2022 (UTC)

Mastodon account?[edit]

I notice that we have a Social-media Twitter link, so I was hoping that we could add a RationalWiki Mastodon link? At the very least, could the person who created the Twitter account grab the RationalWiki Mastodon account (for future use)? Edger Halogen (talk) 05:45, 3 December 2022 (UTC)

There's no one "RationalWiki Mastodon account" due to how the fediverse works. We could register rationalwiki at a fedi instance, but a troll could easily register the same handle at another instance. I would not consider it an immediate priority to set up a Mastodon account. Paging @David Gerard for his input on the matter (as both the operator of our current Twitter and someone who has been using the fediverse besides me ever since the muskrat bought Twitter). -- Techpriest (talk) 21:58, 3 December 2022 (UTC)
The recommended way for official organisational accounts is for orgs and co's to set up an instance themselves. I must note I'm absolutely not doing this myself - David Gerard (talk) 22:35, 3 December 2022 (UTC)
For any other sysadmin who thinks they want to give that idea a try: It isn't that hard, I once installed it on a VM for shits and giggles, it just takes some time and some solid copypaste skillz. Rabbitseatcarrots (talk) 23:58, 3 December 2022 (UTC)
Okay, but couldn't we register one fedi instance account and then make it a "Verified" account by linking it back to the main RationalWiki page (by adding the <a rel="me" href="…">Mastodon</a> syntax to the RationalWiki main page)? We might not be able to stop a troll, but we could allow interested people the ability to find the official RationalWiki Mastodon account.Edger Halogen (talk) 22:56, 3 December 2022 (UTC)
Yes. Rabbitseatcarrots (talk) 23:58, 3 December 2022 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I have created a Fediverse Mastodon account (@RationalWiki@universeodon.com). I'll probably mainly be posting synopses about RW's gold and silver articles. It can be made verified unless there's any objection from the board members. Bongolian (talk) 00:07, 16 January 2023 (UTC)

Thank you.Edger Halogen (talk) 18:59, 16 January 2023 (UTC)

So, it's almost that part of the year again[edit]

From what I understand, the nominations will open on Monday. Should we make the preparations? GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 17:32, 29 June 2023 (UTC)

My, how time flies. Sure, I can set this up over the weekend. —cosmikdebris talk stalk 19:13, 29 June 2023 (UTC)

Bluesky account?[edit]

Spurred by "Edger Halogen's" question about Mastodon, above, I thought I'd ask... I really enjoy following the Rationalwiki twitter account, but I'm leaving Elon's dumpster-fire shitshow. Any chance of a @rationalwiki.org account on Bluesky? Cindytalk (talk) 23:44, 24 July 2023 (UTC)

Ask @David Gerard although I have personal doubts about BlueSky's viability as a longterm platform. -- Techpriest (talk) 23:41, 25 July 2023 (UTC)
I've got a bluesky code spare and could start one I guess. I'm pretty active on Bluesky but don't have much faith in its viability either - the staff are rationalist bitcoiners, lol - David Gerard (talk) 12:21, 7 August 2023 (UTC)

The return of the revenge of the "Are you guys doing okay?" - Version 2.0 (Now in GLORIOUS technicolour!!!)[edit]

@Cosmikdebris, Spud, DuceMoosolini, Shabidoo, GeeJayK, and Tmtoulouse

So, uh, yeah. How... how you guys keepin'?

It's been 12 months since I last peeped this place. Any uh... meetings recently? Amongst the Board Members? Any minutes? Tax forms? Fundraising?

Also, @ApooftGnegiol. I guess you are a Board Member now? Congratulations! Or do elections need to take place for it to be made official? I see that campaigning took place. Will there be anything else done with the election?

Peace. - Rairyu75 (Talk) 04:02, 3 November 2023 (UTC)

Nothing happened since campaigning ended; I left a note earlier on the 2023 election results page saying it's time to update things (e.g. as done in 2022 for a likewise uncontested outcome). Later I decided to wait to see if there's any interest in doing anything, before putting more time into this.
There's one more thing I've arrived at since, which would be good to do for the wiki. It lacks the StopForumSpam extension, unlike some other wikis I'm familiar with, and I now think this may be why there's long been a burden of spambot registrations here which are not on the other wikis. I'd now suggest adding it alongside removing the useless captcha. Whenever some action is possible so as to get going working with the software installation. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 21:00, 5 November 2023 (UTC)