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Hidden pages allow the general community to immediately remove pages from the public view, without altering their content or deleting the page itself. Since the hiding is a ReversibleChange, and users can "opt out" of the hiding process, the hide/unhide operations can be freely shared by the full community.

WikiPedia uses a HardSecurity form of HiddenPages based on AccessLevels. "Sysops" can delete pages, undelete pages, and view deleted pages. Non-sysops can do none of these things. Occasionally deleted pages are permanently wiped.

Here are some examples that might use HiddenPages:

  1. A "spam" page that one wants to leave intact for further investigation or action. For instance, if someone created a page VisitTheTonerShopDotCom, with an advertisement for laser printer toner, anyone could immediately hide that page, while the site admin could later make any appropriate complaints. Simply deleting all the content would still leave part of the ad (the title) on RecentChanges until the KeptPages time expires. Other forums like UseNet and InternetRelayChat have learned that spammers will use any open channel to broadcast their message. (On IRC, for instance, users that are ignored may put their messages in nickname changes.)
  2. Direct personal attacks using page names. Anyone can hide the page, and eventually the page will be deleted.
  3. Misspelled page names. Consider if someone defined SoftSecurtiy. The page would *eventually* be deleted, but it would be nice to hide it immediately.
  4. "Synonym" redirected pages. For instance, I might define HiddenPage, redirecting to HiddenPages (or vice versa), and hide the redirected version. This way if one does a title search for "Hidden" one will get only the real page.

There are even a few other possibilities that I want to think about before making them public. --CliffordAdams

For a much more powerful (and dangerous) tool, see CitizenArrest.

CategorySpam CategoryWikiTechnology CategoryUnimplementedWikiTechnology


I have a simple (and obvious) suggestion for the RecentChanges output. MeatBall:action=rc&rcshowedit=1&rcshowhidden=1 might display a chunk as (except the UserNames would be links):

So, here, I recommend using the (hidden) and (unhidden) markers just like (edit). I prefer "unhidden" over "shown" because it is clearer that "unhidden" is the opposite of "hidden". -- SunirShah

Actually, I was planning on showing the hidden pages in a separate optional section of the RC log. The main problem with putting them inline is that you may miss them unless you show *all* changes, not just the most recent one (even I don't usually turn on all=1). For instance, if a hidden page is later edited, the current RC code would not show the earlier hide action (unless one had all=1 turned on).

Few people are likely to browse through the hidden pages. Most people can rely on others who have more time for PeerReview. The show-hidden options and tools will likely be oriented toward the expert wiki user.

Hiding a page will probably be a separate action from editing it. For the interface, I'm currently thinking of a "Hide this page" (or Unhide, as appropriate) link right after the "Edit copy from..." link. This link would lead to a simple page which briefly describes why one would hide/unhide, and allows one to input a reason (like a summary). --CliffordAdams

Actually, if rcshowhidden=1, you will want to see the edits to HiddenPages anyway. And you will also want to know that the particular changed page is hidden. Perhaps just emitting the (hidden) flag always whenever a change is made to it would be useful. You can even get into

The point is that RecentChanges is your most powerful tool for PeerReview. You want to track something this powerful on there. -- SunirShah

I think I see what you're looking for. After some more thought, I think that only the normal -> hidden change requires extra PeerReview. The hidden->normal change would be obvious to everyone. The action will still be logged in case someone really wants to know (by using rcall=1). I could just add the (hidden) note to any page on RecentChanges that is hidden (to the default users). Those who want to look more closely might bookmark a special link to show all hide/unhide actions.

I'm not planning to work on hidden pages until after KeptPages are done, so I might change my mind before then. Ideas are welcome. --CliffordAdams


My latest experiment has been to delete the content of junk pages on WikiWiki and then delete the page from RecentChanges. This for all intents and purposes HiddenPages. By the way, oddly enough there isn't as much junk as I thought there was. But I'm not deleting merely off-topic pages yet. -- SunirShah


OddMuse no longer provides a way for administrators to delete pages immediately. OddMuse also no longer deletes entries of deleted pages from the logfile. I don't see how page-name spam is fundamentally different from page-content spam. In either case, SoftSecurity techniques might work, and if they don't, HardSecurity has to be used (banning, locking). The only difference is that people looking at RecentChanges but do not look at the changed pages themselves are exposed to page-name spam and not to page-content spam. That doesn't seem worth it. -- AlexSchroeder


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