I'm using this blog to explain why some information is being removed or censored on Tropedia.
Recently, we got approval for giving my Ferbot account bot rights. That means any edits it makes are hidden unless you go to the Recent Changes and remove the "Human (not bot)" filter. As a result, you haven't seen any of the 14,000+ edits it's made in the last week.
Every once in a while it stops. I look at the page where it stopped and figure out what word or website isn't allowed any more, then clean up the problem. Some of it is being done with a workaround that will have to be fixed later. If it's a profanity or a slur, I'm obscuring it. For example, the N-word becomes "n****r" so the reference is understood without seeing the actual word. There's a template for this specific example, but using it so that "N-WORD" is displayed instead makes those sentences obviously awkward.
If a particular website isn't allowed, I have to search to see if an alternative site has the same info. In some cases, I'm making a judgment call to remove information or change it to a description that doesn't include the link to the other website.
I know the arguments for and against censorship, so I'm trying to keep this as objective as I can to keep the meaning or see if a particular item is actually needed. It's necessary because the prohibitions are coming from the abuse and spam filters. These have rules for words and websites that aren't allowed. If a person makes an edit that triggers a filter, it either puts up a warning and gives them a chance to fix it, or, in the case of more severe issues (hate speech, etc.), it stops the edit from being saved and blocks the person.
This can also happen if the word or website is somewhere on the page outside of the section a person is editing. So even though they didn't do anything wrong, the filter is still triggered by what was already there.
A lot of the pages with these issues are from when they were imported from TV Tropes almost a decade ago. Others might have had changes before the filters were added. Regardless, Fandom no longer allows administrators to make changes to the filters on their wikis.
That makes it a choice of:
- The page stays exactly as it is forever. It can be read but never edited.
- Making changes so that it can be edited and updated.
I'm proceeding with the second one. I should note that the Ferbot edits are using a generic "code cleanup" or similar edit summary. The edits I make to fix the above problems are being done with my RRabbit42 account. Due to the large number of edits being made, I might not always include a reason in the edit summary. Bigger changes, especially when something's removed, will usually have an edit summary.
- Workaround details
The workaround involves the use to two templates: the A template and the M template. They are used to modify website links that aren't allowed the filters so that the pages become editable again. Without this step, even if only one section of the page is edited, the edit is not allowed because that website is somewhere else inside the rest of the page.
The use of these templates is only temporary. It is not a permanent solution. Once the updates of all pages on this wiki are complete, the pages that need further updates will have been flagged with those templates. We will be able to use the "What Links Here" function to see those specific pages and start working on correcting them.
It's not something that can be completed quickly. There's about 800 pages right now and Ferbot has only checked up to the J's so far. Each page will have to be looked at to see if what's flagged needs to be removed, changed to a description or updated in some other way. We will need time to get this completed.
If you have any questions or comments, let me know.