Guild Wars Wiki talk:No alpha leaks

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Handling of alpha leaks[edit]

Previously on GuildWiki, when I have encountered alpha leaks, I delete the entire article containing the leak, then selectively restore the edits that did not have the leak. This effectively removes the edit with the leak from the public-viewable history completely (although SysOps will still be able to see it).

Certain individual(s) (I don't remember who or how many) criticized my practice as being too heavy-handed, and violates the spirit of wiki, or something along that lines. Those people are of the opinion that merely editing out the alpha leak information from the article is sufficient. I disagreed with them, based on the rational that the alpha leak information is still accessible by the general public via the article's history, no matter how obscure it is located. It might even attract a lot of attention in the Recent Changes log if the good-intentioned person who edited out the information inadvertently mentioned "removing alpha leak information" in the edit summary (attracting people to that article's previous version like tourists to Disneyland on July Fourth).

I think this matter should be preemptively brought up and decided upon, especially for this wiki, before alpha leaks for campaign 4 (or upcoming skill balances) start appearing. -PanSola 09:40, 24 February 2007 (EST)

I fully understand your concerns. I think when there are diametrically opposite wants/needs/desires, it's less easy to come up with a policy that pleases everyone involved. I wonder if it would be appropriate for the SysOps to formulate a special policy for this particular matter, one that is culturally acceptable to the membership but which addresses the individual elements of this question fairly and appropriately. I think your comments are a great starting point.
Appreciating the nature of a wiki, there is still to be considered the nature of responsibility in its presentation. As for my suggestions: if you want them, I could certainly share them as a member, but I'd like to think about it for a bit and learn more about past actions and proposed policies. The Guild Wars Alpha Test has changed in many ways, and I anticipate (and naturally hope) that leaks will be greatly reduced if not eliminated. This hope is supported by the considerably smaller test group and because those invited back were, for the most part, very well known to us. However, it's inevitable that there will be issues or questions concerning unintended revelations in the future, and I appreciate that having a policy in place in advance is a very good idea. I look forward to the discussion. --Gaile Gray 14:23, 24 February 2007 (EST)
I feel like it is too heavy-handed. The thing about a leak hitting the wiki is that, well, at that point it's out in the wild already, anyway. Going to extraordinary measures to suppress it won't do much to stop its spread, and it is disruptive. If we had a general policy where vandalism was deleted from page histories, too, I can see this being more acceptable. But we don't. And the reason we don't is because that's a really bad use of the MediaWiki software (not quite as annoying as trying to rip something out of a CVS/SVN version history, but pretty close).
Honestly, I don't think there's anything special about alpha leaks vs. other kinds of spam and undesirable content. Because what we're talking about is just the Internet's equivalent of word-of-mouth. Not really a big deal. If someone actually posts images or game files, it's more of a problem. But just plain ol' rumors are a dime a dozen -- do we really need to go to extraordinary lengths to expunge all record of their existence? — 130.58 (talk) 17:31, 24 February 2007 (EST)
The funny thing about alpha leaks is that there is absolutely no way to confirm that they are, in fact, alpha leaks, unless you happen to be part of the alpha test. If an admin who were part of the alpha test acted as PanSola did on the GuildWiki, all that admin would do is prove that certain posts were, in fact, alpha leaks. This is the opposite of the intended goal of this policy; thus, this policy is not only excessively heavy-handed, it's completely useless. —Tanaric 01:30, 26 February 2007 (EST)
I do not believe I actually expressed whether those removals were confirmed alpha leaks or not. In otherwords, I believe I was acting in such a way that an outsider would have no way of telling whether I am removing confirmed alpha leaks, or anything claiming to be an alpha leak. My identity as an alpha tester during that time was in fact NOT known to the general public, and I did not mention it at all during my fight against alpha leaks on GuildWiki. So in fact, my hand is heavier than you thought (ie, removing anything claiming to be "advance information" about the future of the game that cannot be traced to announcements from official/legit channels, treating them all as alpha leaks), which removes the useless-ness part of your criticism (but increases the heavy-handedness of your criticism). -PanSola 02:36, 26 February 2007 (EST)
You really don't waste any time, do you PanSola? :P I don't think we need this policy now. There are so many other policy discussions going on at the moment, not to mention that amount of basic content we need to fill in before this wiki can launch. LordBiro 14:08, 26 February 2007 (EST)
I feel Pansola is right about bringing this up now. The alpha for C4 might start any day (no idea on that really) and we do want to have a consensus on this before the first case happens. Regarding the actual policy, I am in two minds. Apha leaks posted here will get quite some publicity. But then, once they apear on one of the boards, they get that publicity as well. What we definitely do not want is some alpha info in the normal name space, but then, unconfirmed info (which alpha info always is) should and will get removed anyway, especially concerning the new chapter. As Tanaric pointed out, to be meaningful, the policy would have to go after *all* speculation about the new chapter, including someone posting "the new class will be a shapeshifter" or mentioning "I heard C4 will play in tyria again". Is that really what we want? --Xeeron 05:58, 1 March 2007 (EST)
While this might not apply to the policy, I believe PanSola was in favour of removing, and deleting revisions of, potential alpha-leak information on talk pages.
If information appeared in an article and it could not be corroborated then that information would be removed as speculation. If the user who contributed that information were to say that it should not have been removed since he was an alpha tester then we could respond that we have no evidence of that, and no proof that it isn't speculation. I really don't think we need to do more than that, and I'm not sure if we need a policy for this. Providing factual and verifiable information is what the wiki is about, and leaked information from an alpha test is not verifiable. LordBiro 06:21, 1 March 2007 (EST)
since he was an alpha tester - I bet 1 plat that alpha testers are bound by NDA (or equivalent) not to talk about the stuff they see in game. If any user was stupid enough to admit that he is an alpha tester, we should go ahead and report that user. As for the topic: I think that removing speculations from articles and leaks from talk pages is ok. However, I don't think we should blank the whole history, but I guess that Pan's hiding option would at least be a solution. However, I'm not in favor of having this as policy. ~ dragon legacy 06:34, 1 March 2007 (EST)
Dragon Legacy, alpha testers are bound by an NDA. If a user did not say that it was from an alpha leak then the information would be removed because it was not verifiable. If a user did say that it was from an alpha leak then it would still be removed because it was not verifiable. This is the only point I am making here. I'm not saying that you can't report the user.
My point is that I don't think we need to have a policy for deleting revisions of the history, because unless someone were to implicate themselves then it would not even be an issue.
If I were to edit an article and say "campaign 4 takes place in an Australian setting" then unless someone else knew that it definitely was information from the alpha then it would simply be removed as speculation.
If I were to edit an article and say the same thing, but say that I knew this because I was a tester, than what more weight does this give the contribution? None. Firstly, the information from the alpha is not certain anyway, it's subject to change, secondly, I can't prove I'm a tester without implicating myself as having broken the NDA. LordBiro 06:51, 1 March 2007 (EST)
I'd like to echo what 130.58, Tanaric, Biro and D.L. said above. These alpha leaks should be seen just like normal unconfirmed rumours ("I hear chapter 4 will have mounts!"), and treated as such. Simply revert the relevant edits. Deleting particular revisions of the article's history (or even permanently and irrevocably hiding them with that script you suggested, Pan) is certainly too heavy handed and unneeded, in my opinion. Unverified/unverifiable information is already shot on sight on this wiki, and that seems perfectly sufficient to me. --Dirigible 12:52, 1 March 2007 (EST)
Alpha leaks certainly shouldn't be treated any different to unverified information. If one makes a special case then as soon as (for example) I see an entry for "Chapter 4 will have mounts" added, then mysteriously vanish into the ether, I know virtually without a shadow of a doubt that it is in Chap.4. Especially if one can correlate who makes the changes to who you believe has knowledge of the alpha test. I can then spread that 'knowledge' on other channels without any problem if I'm not under an NDE. If it is simply deleted as being unverified then there is no way of establishing whether its true or not. Vlad 13:49, 1 March 2007 (EST)

While the spirit of the policy is nice, having A.net host alpha leaks on their own servers would be a dumb thing, the function isn't practical. How do you know if it is an alpha leak or an unconfirmed rumor. Remember back when factions was about to be released, everything thought armor was going to use rubies and sapphires. There was no way for people to know if that info could have been leaked from alpha or was just something people made up to drop the price of ectos and raise the price of rubies and sapphires for a quick profit. I think it would be best to kill this policy and roll it up into a single policy dealing with unconfirmed rumors and game information. This is a site to document data and facts about the game, not rampant speculation of what could be. Using the Australian example from above, regardless if that information is alpha info or just something someone made up it would be removed as "Unconfired Speculation on Chapter 4." Removing stuff with the tag "Alpha Leak" would probably just draw more attention to it also. There is just no need for a specialized "alpha leak" policy while a general "No rumors" policy will take care of it and so much more. -Warskull 14:19, 1 March 2007 (EST)

Some specific situations[edit]

  • Leaked screenshots and/or videos of closed-doors previews. While not technically "alpha leaks", they are NDA violations, and are not merely rumors (although they still may be subject to change). If images are uploaded to this wiki, or links to screenshots/videos to off-site servers are posted on the wiki, should we delete the image uploaded and/or remove the edit with the link from history (either deletion or hiding)? Or should we merely edit away the usage of the image and/or the link?
  • Lists of skill balance changes (or proposed new skills) with detailed numbers (not just "they are gonna nerf the recharge time of skill blah", but rather "skill x will be changed to y recharge time"). Should they be treated the same way as random vague PvE content rumors, or considered differently (even if your conclusion may end up being the same)? Granted, they are still unconfirmable (unlike screenshots/videos). But the level of detail is different.

-PanSola 16:28, 1 March 2007 (EST)

Just edit the links to external images/links away. There's no need to alter history. If there are legal issues with the link remaining in history, then it's up to Anet lawyers to decide. The wiki just linked to it; that's different from actually disclosing the information right? Any uploaded images should just be deleted and treated like offensive material. Since the link is edited away, the image is no longer linked and should be deleted anyway.
As for detailed disclosures (skill balance changes, new features, etc.), how can you be absolutely sure they are what they are? It can still be speculation, or pure vandalism. There's nothing stopping me from editing and claiming that Jagged Bones recharge time is going to be back to 5 seconds in the next update. Regular users would just see it as rumor/speculation/vandalism/wrong and revert it. Even if I claim it's an alpha leak, it doesn't necessarily mean it is. By proposing to remove alpha leaks, do you only remove edit that claim to be alpha leaks, or just edits that we think are alpha leaks? -- ab.er.rant sig 23:05, 1 March 2007 (EST)
To successfully police for alpha leaks you need someone who can verify that the content is from the alpha. But how do they disclose there is a leak without themselves breaking the NDA? We just need to treat supposed alpha leaks as speculative...and vids/screenshots which are unlikely to have been faked should be removed and let anets lawyers handle it from there.Vlad 23:20, 1 March 2007 (EST)

In case, after all those years, my position is not clear, allow me to state it again: NO, NO, NO. Deleting revisions of article history is simply a crime as far as I am concerned, one greater than the original sin. Let me give you an actual example: Let's say someone edits the Asura article and posts an image of what they look like (stolen from ANet's studios and before ANet posted it). I would not even delete the image. I would keep it in the article and state "Rumors in the game's community suggest that this is what the Asura mini-pet will look like." Now, if someone was to prove to me that it's a picture of an elf from a Santa Clause movie, I would remove it, because it's false information. If Gaile or Emily or someone from ANet was to remove it citing ANet reasons, I would honor the request and even delete the image permanently if they wanted to. But otherwise, I would NOT volunteer to obscure and hide infromation.

The only exception, as I mentioned before, is information which might cause instability in the game or harm certain users, and I gave you a specific example way back when. For example, if it's leaked out that Diamonds WILL be needed for new armor in Chapter 4 and it's the coolest armor in the game. I would remove that information from the page BECAUSE it can be a false rumor used to raise the price of diamonds and because if ANet introduced a new use for crafting material they also ususally introduce new ways of getting it.

To answer your two examples:

  1. Don't care. If the image is cool and verfiably from the game, keep it.
  2. We have no article that lists what skills WILL look like. If a user posts it in his user page, I'd keep it and report it to ANet employees and see what they want. Sinc eI have no way of verifying if it IS a leak or not (since I do not know myself if the skills will be changed) then I can't judge if it's speculation or an alpha leak.

In both cases, if ANet personnel ask we remove the content, then so be it. If they ask we delete the history of the article or purge certain versions, I would cater to that. But I woul dnever set that as the policy or standard.

We might wanna talk about whether we as a wiki will punish users who post leaks. --Karlos 06:37, 18 March 2007 (EDT)

an alternative[edit]

Check this out: meta:hiding revisions. The end result is the same, particular revisions of an article are no longer visible to the public. The difference is there's no action of deletion (and the hiding action is not publicly logged). Is this an acceptable alternative for the people who think my methods are too heavy-handed? -PanSola 22:23, 27 February 2007 (EST)

This would also be handy for hiding vandalism in articles that cannot be deleted, Guild Wars Prophecies article 24.74.34.126 (Talk) (Replacing page with 'guildwars is gay...') -- Scourge User Scourge Spade.gif 06:42, 18 March 2007 (EDT)
How's the progress going on that? Someone just directly quoted the PC Gamer article in the Asura and Sylvari articles. -- Gordon Ecker 20:15, 25 March 2007 (EDT)
Fortunately, it turns out that article rollbacks are possible with the currently installed software, making this less urgent. -- Gordon Ecker 20:50, 25 March 2007 (EDT)

Disclaimer/clarification[edit]

While in the above discussion I have confirmed my previous involvement with the Guild Wars alpha testing, I strongly believe that my behavior and stance on matters are actually not a result of me being in the alpha test. In other words, I believe I would have done the same actions and argued for the same things using the same rational as if I had never been part of the alpha test.

Extending that to the present, my current interest and behavior and stance on this subject matter should not be taken as implication or confirmation of whether I am still currently a member of the Guild Wars alpha test. I believe those are due to my personality and my personal values, not due to my position or relationship with Areanet, and thus I will not confirm or deny any conjectures or wild guesses on that subject matter. I may have continued, or discontinued, being an alpha tester for any number of reasons. I would also like to request anyone who happens to know whether I am or am not currently an alpha tester to NOT disclose that information, unless a situation arises where Anet feels such information is necessary to make public.

Sincerely, PanSola 16:45, 1 March 2007 (EST)

You know, exactly this could be a very good reason for not treading beta leaks any different than rumors. Or making a policy out of it. ~ dragon legacy 17:39, 1 March 2007 (EST)
I don't see how it is relevant at all, because I have an exactly 50% chance of being a alpha tester and 50% chance of not being an alpha tester, for all you know. -PanSola 19:01, 1 March 2007 (EST)
That doesn't make this any less of a terrible policy. The first sentence can be easily handled by an "unverified information" policy and the second sentence isn't even a policy that relates to the wiki. This would just end up a worthless policy. -Warskull 02:07, 2 March 2007 (EST)

Rejected policy[edit]

I see a clear consensus against this policy on the talk page, moved to rejected policy proposals. --Xeeron 09:50, 20 April 2007 (EDT)