Requests for comment/IP editors are auto-blocked on Russian Wikipedia

The following request for comments is closed. This request for comment was closed as unsuccessful. The bot had a genuine mistake that caused some non-proxy IP addresses to be blocked. This bug was fixed. There is nothing else to do here.


Since 2016, Russian Wikipedia runs a bot, w:ru:User:QBA-bot, whose main activity is blocking thousands of IP addresses each day as presumed open proxies. In particular, IPs who try to edit Russian Wikipedia get blocked for 6 months within seconds from their edit.

This spring, I was stuck in Prishtina because of the Covid lockdown. I tried to edit Russian Wikipedia unregistered, got my IP blocked, and tried to explain to the ruwiki community that what QBA-bot does is blanket-blocking Prishtina IPs, not "open proxies" as publicly claimed. I asked about a possible way to confirm that I'm a legitimate user of w:Kosovo Telecom's IP, e.g. by cаlling me on my Vala phоne number, or in any other way; the bot operator's response was that the (unspecified) lists of open proxies that the bot acts upon are Reliable Sources, and discussing whether a particular IP is an open proxy is Original Research, and therefore inappropriate.

I was advised, by the bot operator and other ruwiki administrators,[1][2][3] that the only way to edit ruwiki is to register, and that there can be no valid reason not to register.[4] Within a few weeks, 13 IP addresses belonging to 4 different ISPs, all based in Prishtina, were blocked as presumed open proxies, and remain blocked to this day remained blocked until this RFC was posted:

It is extremely implausible that all addresses of all ISPs in Prishtina are open proxies; nevertheless, the community consensus is clearly that IP editors are unwanted, whether they use proxies or not. In fact, throughout the discussion on ruwiki, there were no arguments concerning whether the blocked addresses are open proxies or not; the bot's false-positives were universally deemed unimportant, and registering, an easy and straightforward solution.

The false-positives are in no way restricted to Prishtina; back home in Israel, any IP that I edit from without logging in gets immediately blocked, too.

Now that I have registered an account and accumulated >250 edits under it as required by Requests for comment/Policy, and in light of Founding principles #2 "The ability of almost anyone to edit (most) articles without registration.", as well as the recent discussion on phab:T261133 from which it emerges that WMF would not allow a Wikipedia to require registration, I request comments on the de-facto policy in ruwiki that registering is a precondition for editing, and in particular, on superficially disguising it as an implementation of No open proxies. --Crash48 (talk) 12:40, 5 October 2020 (UTC)

Statement from Q-bit arrayEdit

I was contacted by the stewards and asked to provide comments on this RfC.

The statement that on Ruwiki all IP editors are barred from editing is not true. As it can be easily seen, Ruwiki has a steady flow of anonymous edits from different countries.

In order to further substantiate my statement, I took the liberty to calculate the number of anonymous edits per month in different Wikipedias of comparable size. (The SQL queries for Quarry used for the statistics are available upon request.) As it turned out, the Russian Wikipedia has the second-highest percentage of anonymous edits (16.3%) compared to other projects of similar size. Only Itwiki has higher percentage of anon edits. It really doesn't look like that the possibility to edit Ruwiki without registration is shut off.

Edit stats for the last month (2020-09-06 to 2020-10-06)
Language version Anon edits Total edits Percentage of anon edits
Wikipedia RU 90221 554510 16.3%
Wikipedia FR 89256 846217 10.5%
Wikipedia DE 61513 774679 7.9%
Wikipedia NL 21697 191803 11.3%
Wikipedia HE 23531 283559 8.3%
Wikipedia IT 116067 523566 22.1%


Now to the other accusations. The IPs were blocked because they were recognized as proxies. Some of them are still detected as open proxies by different tools - even months after their initial block. Of course, tools can give false positives, but when numerous independent tools (one of them is the official Wikipedia proxy checking tool) detect an IP as a proxy, the probability of a false positive is not very high.

213.163.125.243
213.163.125.245
213.163.125.247
213.163.125.250

It is also worth mentioning the fact that not all IPs of the topic starter were blocked by the bot. The statement about the "carpet blocks" of IPs from the Balkans is also not true. Here are the contributions from one of his IP ranges: 84.22.32.0/19 As it can be seen, many (clean) IPs from this range were never blocked. For example, this one: 84.22.38.22.

From the list of accusations, I can admit only one: yes, we asked the topic starter to create an account. Not because the anonymous users are not welcome, but because it is the only one way we could give him the IP block exempt flag. It is the common practice to give the flag to people who have to edit from affected IP / ranges. Many different people (administrators, bureaucrats, regular editors) tried to explain that, but to no avail.

I hope this will help to clarify the things a bit. -- Q-bit array (talk) 21:00, 8 October 2020 (UTC)

DiscussionEdit

As it can be seen, many (clean) IPs from this range were never blocked. -- as a matter of fact, the range includes 8 addresses, and 6 out of 8 were blocked. OK, maybe 2 out of 8 are "many". --Crash48 (talk) 13:17, 9 October 2020 (UTC)

OK, maybe 4 out of 10 are "many". --Crash48 (talk) 07:20, 10 October 2020 (UTC)

yes, we asked the topic starter to create an account. Not because the anonymous users are not welcome, but because it is the only one way we could give him the IP block exempt flag. It is the common practice to give the flag to people who have to edit from affected IP / ranges. -- so, an IP user blocked by QBA-bot on accusation of using an open proxy could nevertheless be eligible, upon registering, for the IP block exemption flag. This just adds to the evidence that their community policy is not about preventing the use of open proxies, but about coercing IP users into registering. --Crash48 (talk) 12:45, 13 October 2020 (UTC)

  • Not true. It's the standard procedure (for all language versions of the Wikipedia) to grant an IP block exempt flag to innocent people if they happen to be from heavily affected/infected IP ranges through no fault of their own. And about "coercing IP users into registering" with the flag - the stewards can see very well how many people currently have this flag on Ruwiki. And it's plain to see that we don't "coercing" anybody into something using the flag. -- Q-bit array (talk) 20:30, 14 October 2020 (UTC)

when numerous independent tools (one of them is the official Wikipedia proxy checking tool) detect an IP as a proxy -- I couldn't access ipcheck.toolforge.org until now, but now I see that it lists those IPs as Serbian, although User:Q-bit array ridiculed me repeatedly for asserting the same. In other words, out of a tool's output, he picks the parts which could support his agenda, and ignores the parts which contradict it. --Crash48 (talk) 21:57, 21 November 2020 (UTC)

Regarding the location: "The official geolocation services used in Ruwiki", chosen by Q-bit array, both unambiguously identify the ISP as Kosovo Telecom. If it weren't obvious that Kosovo Telecom doesn't operate in Albania, their official website has a coverage map. I pointed this out to Q-bit array immediately when he insinuated about me using an Albanian IP address,[5] but the explanation fell on deaf ears.
Regarding the methodology: Q-bit array's retort might be justified if I were selectively quoting references that my argument hinges on. But unlike Q-bit array, I never claimed those websites were "reliable sources"; I'm demonstrating exactly the opposite! At the same time, I'm demonstrating Q-bit array's lack of integrity in citing references, as every single one of them has data which he opts to omit because they contradict his narrative about "Albanian IP address". Instead of bringing forward any arbitrarily chosen websites to put trust in, I had suggested a simple and conclusive way to verify my authorization for using Kosovo Telecom's IP addresses by confirming my Kosovo Telecom phone number. My suggestion was ignored, hinting that the blocking of the IP addresses was not in fact related to whether they were used as proxies or not. --Crash48 (talk) 18:20, 17 December 2020 (UTC)