Template talk:Infobox person

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Template-protected edit request on 9 January 2015[edit]


I would like to add this to the template. This will show pages that have no image but have an image on Wikidata. It adds all articles without image to a hidden category, and once an image is addded it is automatically removed from the category. No visible change to the articles. See User:Taketa/Wikidata Images.

Taketa (talk) 08:20, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 09:09, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
Why not just automatically display the image listed in the Wikidata entry, if none is entered locally? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 15:39, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
The Russian Wikipedia uses automatic display of Wikidata images in all their templates. In my opinion it would be good, if Wikidata were up to it, and only ofcourse with the approval of the Wikipedia community.
I don't think Wikidata is ready. Alot of bad images (low quality, a group instead of 1 person, someones work instead of themselved, a wife instead of themselves etc.). Also hundreds of images removed on Commons are still on Wikidata due to the automatic removal system, which removes images from projects after it is deleted from Commons, not working on Wikidata.
But I see alot of improvement and growth by Wikidata. They are working on differentiation between different types of images. So someones work or family are being put in different sections. They currently have about 600-700.000 images. And are processing 5 million+ more.
However for the moment, I would advice against automatically using Wikidata. All the best, Taketa (talk) 15:48, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
PS: Also note that there are many pages that use 2 or more templates. Sometimes an article about 2 people has a template for both. It would be unwelcome if an image appeared in these templates. - Sincerely, Taketa (talk) 15:56, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
All of those issues, while real, seem surmountable. Indeed, exposing such issues is likely to lead to more prompt resolution of them. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 12:51, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
Its not easy to fugure out where to change the image if its directly from wikidata. There should be an edit button like the ones we have for navboxes. Christian75 (talk) 11:21, 25 March 2015 (UTC)


At present we have a |notable_works=, resulting in "Notable work(s)". What do people think of simply

  • drop "notable" in both parameter and display, because it should be understood that only notable work would be listed
  • drop the awkward "(s)", for a simple "Work", - it should be evident that it is more than one if several are listed, or a list of works appears

Looking at Chopin, for example, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 00:44, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

I think the only change that should/could be made is to drop the parentheses. But, specifically looking at Chopin, it has a link to "List of compositions", but that doesn't really work (no pun intended). The Notable works parameter is for a short list (about 3) of the most notable works (obviously). --Musdan77 (talk) 18:50, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Why not? Can "work" mean "output" also, on top of "one work"? (I would think so, but perhaps that's German thinking.) The title of the list could be changed to "Compositions" or whatever. Dropping the brackets would be better than nothing ;) - Same was done in {{opera}} for |librettist=, - you will notice when it's more than one. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 21:57, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
On a slightly different track, I propose to allow singular and plural input separated (|notable_works=, |notable_work=). This does not address the its meaning, as you do here. See section below. -DePiep (talk) 21:36, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
"Work" might be confused with profession, so no. However, work is also a mass noun, so we can drop the "(s)". Alakzi (talk) 23:06, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
Good point. Done. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 09:34, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
Thank you, Chopin looks better that way! --Gerda Arendt (talk) 09:40, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
No credit(s) for the hurried conclusion. -DePiep (talk) 09:44, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

Parameter |credits= resulting in "Notable credit(s)" appears to have superseded |notable_works= but template documentation wasn't updated? Still has |notable_works=. Damon Mah (talk) 15:53, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Plural/singular input options[edit]

At the moment, there is |spouse= that produces label Spouse(s). I propose to add input option |spouses= that shows label Spouses. The old situation should stay unchanged, because of current usage.

The same can be done for other could be plurals -(s):

current parameter current label to add note
|spouse= Spouse(s) |spouses=
|partner= Partner(s) |partners=
|parent= Parents(s) |parents= added 19:08, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
|notable_works= Notable work(s) |notable_work= inverse, add singular
|opponents= Opponent(s) |opponent= inverse, add singular
|children= Children (not needed)
If this has support, I'll work out the code proposal. -DePiep (talk) 21:34, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
Anyway, wiki is not lead by 'need' but by 'improve'. You just confirmed [1]. -DePiep (talk) 09:38, 2 March 2015 (UTC)


Once again, please don't use multi-colon indentation, after asterisk-style bullet-points. We do not need this change because it is not an improvement. HTH. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 09:43, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

Andy, here you say it is not needed and above you made the edit to remove an (s). You are contradicting yourself within a minute. -DePiep (talk) 22:31, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
And talkpage threads are build: a bullet unindented starts a new subtopic, subsequent responses are indented by colons. My "Anyway" reply was indented two colons, because it is a response to your !voting bullet. (Instead of OD you could do three colons, in style). Having a bullet and an extra indent is double. -DePiep (talk) 22:39, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
It's not that uncommon: User talk:Jimbo Wales. -DePiep (talk) 22:45, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm not the only person to tell you that your idiosyncratic indentation style is broken and harmful to accessibility; as it is here, where you jump straight to a four-colon indent. Once again: please desist. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 22:41, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

  • I don't think that a minor stylistic adjustment justifies parameter duplication, thus increasing complexity. Alakzi (talk) 23:01, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
It's grammar, not just style. Of course "complexity" is handled within the template, seamless, and is no reason not to improve language & readability. -DePiep (talk) 09:38, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
Can you explain why "child" is not needed but "opponent" (sing.) is? Alakzi (talk) 19:41, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
It does not have the "(s)" construction. When reading, having to go back to pick the -s or not is awkward reading. 'not needed' is just my opinion, you may propose different and we could apply that. -DePiep (talk) 22:33, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
There's nothing especially curious about the "(s)" construct, but this can simply be "Opponents". Where might confusion arise? If only one opponent's listed, then it must be the only (notable) one. Alakzi (talk) 22:57, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
Writing plural when its plural - why not? Why don't you acknowledge the obvious? I don't mind "curious" or not, that is just a distracting qualification (as was you opening judgement "minor", then it was "complexity"): not relevant. Would you write "spouse(s)" in the prose in an FA article? Or in a stub even? It is an improvement. The scale of it does not matter. -DePiep (talk) 19:02, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Why is it important, or even useful, to toggle infobox labels with singular and plural parameter values? How do the labels differ from established section headings such as "References" and "External links"? --P64 (talk) 20:32, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

You keep evading my point, now introducing "important". I say: it is an improvement. -DePiep (talk) 20:49, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
It's useful if only to avoid "which end of the egg" arguments like the one currently at Talk:William Burges#Subsection 2. It's not important, but it's still something which can be easily accomplished.
DePiep has already offered a possible solution that I'd be willing to support as it would avert these sort of arguments. It does suffer from the problem that if both parameters |parent= and |parents= are present, both values appear. Using | data59 = {{{parents|{{{parent|}}}}}} would allow |parents= to override |parent= should both be present. Examples are at User:RexxS/sandbox#Infobox person. --RexxS (talk) 00:18, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes. -DePiep (talk) 06:46, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
by the way RexxS, pls mrevert your recent change. As PigsontheWing noted in a very similar case: not the outcome of the discussion. Strange that P{igsOntheWing did not contemplate reverting you. (though I do not copy his personal idonotlikethis argument that it is 'unnecessary'. How could he know?). -DePiep (talk) 06:58, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that's how BRD works. As you're aware, the labels "Spouse(s)", "Partner(s)", "Notable work(s)", and "Opponent(s)" were already in use. My change from "Parents" to "Parent(s)" was in line with current practice and seemed to me to be uncontroversial - and indeed undiscussed. If you feel that the change was not an improvement, you are at liberty to revert it and discuss why you think it was not an improvement here. --RexxS (talk) 13:08, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
RexxS, there is no BRD going on here. First this discussion was started, after that you can not claim to follow BRD. Your edit was simply jumping the gun. After I refined it (less boldly I say), then Andy came along saying that was not discussed, and with the argument "idontlikeit", (note that, even if you check for non-applicible BRD, did not engage in the D). In other words: arguments-for-the-occasion. It appears that Andy can disrupt processes this way when the outcome fits a certain agenda ("bad edit, bit the outcome suits me, so we don't need to correct"). -DePiep (talk) 07:40, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
That's complete bollocks and you know it. I came here from the discussion on William Burges to try to find a solution to the problem there of the label "Parents" not matching a singular parent. It was immediately obvious that the (s) was used on the other parameters, and I checked the talk page (which was this version)] to see you were proposing adding another parameter and Andy was disputing it. My judgement was, and still is, that making a quick fix to bring the label "Parent(s)" into line with "Spouse(s)", "Partner(s)", etc. had no bearing on the addition or not of a new parameter. Subsequently, I have expressed above my disagreement with Andy's position and my agreement with your proposal to add a new parameter and to produce code to switch labels (going so far as to test out a mock-up in my sandbox). But that's not good enough for you, is it? You have to make it personal and manufacture another excuse to attack Andy. Now, if you don't like my BOLD edit to add '()' around the 's' - which was not under discussion at the time - you can REVERT it and we'll DISCUSS it on this talk page. Otherwise, let's get back to finding a consensus for your proposal. (Hint: attacking both your opposition and your support is a pretty shitty way of looking for consensus.) --RexxS (talk) 15:20, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
TL,DR: This is creating argumentation afterwards. Not interested, esp from your opening line. I'll spell out the timeline in diffs to prove, later (it is in the history, you can find that yourself, but I might take the effort). Prime fact: you edited when the discussion "D" was already opened. Then you can not claim to be "B". -DePiep (talk) 18:20, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
Short version as you're having such difficulty with comprehension. Fact: Nobody was discussing changing the LABEL "Parents" to "Parent(s)". It's a lie to claim otherwise. Got it now? --RexxS (talk) 19:19, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
Tone down. Bold down. Stop barking. (Fact: you even mentioned the discussion in your es). But listen RexxS: if you don't change your tone of discussion, I'll spend my time differently. Could be spend on your edits still, but differently. Why can't you build and maintain and perform a wiki discussion? In this thread, can you point to a word (mine, yours) that, say, allows you to pull the leash this way? Why did you not add a single reasonable reasoning for edits & issues at play? -DePiep (talk) 19:40, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
OK, we can go over it again:
1. My edit to this template was at 17:20, 5 March 2015. Do you dispute that?
2. I came here to solve a problem I was discussing at Talk:William Burges. Do you dispute that?
3. The talk page here at that time looked like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Template_talk:Infobox_person&oldid=649609396#Plural.2Fsingular_input_options and I already linked it in my penultimate comment. Do you dispute that?
4. On that talk page, you were making a proposal "to add input option |spouses= that shows label Spouses." Do you dispute that?
5. In that proposal, at the time that I looked, 17:20, 5 March 2015, there was no mention of the label "Parents", although you noted "Spouse(s)", "Partner(s)", "Notable work(s)", "Opponent(s)", and "Children" in a table. Do you dispute that?
6. At 17:20, 5 March 2015, my edit changed the label "Parents" to "Parent(s)", making it similar to the other labels in use at the time. Do you dispute that?
7. At, 19:08, 5 March UTC, an hour and a half after my edit, you added mention of "Parent(s)" to your table. Do you dispute that?
Can you not see that I'm understandably miffed by your insistence that my edit ("Parents" to "Parent(s)") was under discussion at the time I made it, when it's absolutely clear that it wasn't?
Your proposal was to add a further parameter, |spouses= and that was what was under discussion. What impact did my edit have on your proposal to add that parameter - absolutely none. Don't you see that asking me to revert my edit under the circumstances would be seen as simply provocative - you don't really think that reverting my edit would improve the template or the discussion, do you? So don't be surprised when you provoke and I respond strongly. How we proceed is up to you, now. Ball's in your court. --RexxS (talk) 21:18, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
Your first line: "... Do you dispute that?". Attitude. Did not read more. -DePiep (talk) 23:30, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
Time for you to get back under your bridge then. I won't bother attempting to debate with you again. --RexxS (talk) 00:14, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
You're supposed to revert, by now. With or without talk. 'I won't discuss' is what you started out with in the first place, obviously. (lest we forget, here there is still the Andy Mabbitt behaviour to discuss. 'I don't like this' is not an argument). -DePiep (talk) 00:22, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Twice Pigsonthewing (Andy Mabbitt) has disrupted the discussion by premature reverted.
[2]: es notes personal opinion by PotW. "Unnecessarily" is a personal opinion only, because edits are not made for necessity only (rarely even). If it is an improvement, that's a valid reason too. In the timeline, this objection was made on this talkpage against PotW's only contribution, after which PotW did not respond at all. (in other words, that argument already was disputed and PotW did not engage in talkpage discussion). Also in the es, "no consensus for this" self-contradicts the fact that PotW did not revert the preceding edit [3] by RexxS, for which exactly the same objection is valid (i.e., argument is used selective by PotW).
[4] with es "See talk" does not point to a talkpage consensus or outcome.
PotW/Andy Mabbett has twice disrupted the running talkpage discussion by enforcing personal opinion & halfway discussion instead of striving for a talkpage outcome. PotW did not engage in talkpage discussion to base their action or opinion. I request that [User:Pigsonthewing|Andy Mabbett]] reverts his last reversal, and engage constructively to this thread. -DePiep (talk) 20:23, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
Pigsonthewing did not respons in any way. I conclude that Andy twice edited the template out of consensus, twice introduced personal observation and conclusion in the es, without actually going to this talkpage. Also, the reverts were selectively POV, as described: applying 'conclusive reasoning' at random. Since Andy did not come to this talkpage, and me reversing could be interpreted as me editwarring, I have no option left. This behaviour is not fitting an editor with TE level. -DePiep (talk) 13:34, 20 March 2015 (UTC)


Once we handled "Work" (see above), how about current label "Spouse" instead of "Spouse(s)". If you see two, you will conclude that it's more than one (but not normally more than one at a time ;) ), and if you see the normal one the "(s)" is irritating. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 09:45, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

You mean singular always? As a, ergh, mass noun? -DePiep (talk) 19:05, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
I mean singular in the label, because in many cases it will be true, in other cases it can be easily seen that there was more than one spouse. It's about the opposite of mass noun, because a singular spouse is a singular person. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 20:39, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
I understood that. The question remains: why not allow for singular/plural in the label as I proposed? "One can easily see" is not a good guideline to produce easy readable text. In regular prose we would not accept that at all. -DePiep (talk) 20:45, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
I didn't even see that you made a proposal, and after looking still think this is simpler. It was taken that way for |librettist= in {{infobox opera}}, for example, where you also normally just have one, and the "(s)" looks strange in all those normal case. See Carmen for an exception with two. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 20:54, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Related templates[edit]

To what extent does the development of this template govern related ones such as Template:Infobox writer?

See also Category:People infobox templates (3 subcats, 68 pages). I suppose the answer may be that this template governs strictly the Category:Templates calling Infobox person (15 pages).

--P64 (talk) 23:43, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

Strictly speaking, it doesn't "govern" the former set, but it would be foolish in the extreme for any of them to diverge in the way they handle common parameters, as that will just confuse editors. Is there a specific concern you had in mind? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:13, 9 March 2015 (UTC)


There is a discussion about the nationality at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biographies#Nationality "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA". — Sebastian 19:24, 7 March 2015 (UTC)

Redirect infobox photographer[edit]

Hi. Shouldn't Template:Infobox photographer redirect to Template:Infobox artist rather than here at Template:Infobox person? Thanks. — Smuckola(talk) 20:14, 7 March 2015 (UTC)

As Template:Infobox artist is a custom wrapper for Template:Infobox person, wouldn't it seem sensible to cut out the middle-man? --RexxS (talk) 21:51, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
@RexxS: I see what you're saying, but a wrapper isn't the same thing as the root template. "photographer" isn't the same thing as just "person" in this case; however, a photographer is an artist. So the middleman is the actual target. :) — Smuckola(talk) 23:59, 7 March 2015 (UTC)


Autoconversion subtemplates have been added to make adding a person's height and mass without having to use {{convert}} in the page mark up. This will make it easier for editors to input data into the template. Instead of |height={{convert|5|ft|3|in|abbr=on}}<ref>some book</ref>, for example, users can now simply write |height=5 ft 3 in<ref>some book</ref> (same for metres, centimetres, kilograms, pounds, and stone and pounds). Jimp 23:36, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

Very sophisticated. Can documentation be simplified now? -DePiep (talk) 06:33, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, the documentation should be simplified. Good point. Jimp 07:01, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
I was thinking, those specific |weight_kg= params could be moved to a less-prominent place (below, but not removed). In top, we can promote with a "|weight= accepts everything!" banner. The reference is handled fine too. -DePiep (talk) 07:10, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

Update on religion field in BLP infoboxes[edit]

I have pretty much finished my effort to bring the religion field of BLP infoboxes into conformance MOS guidelines -- Specifically:

"When considering any aspect of infobox design, keep in mind the purpose of an infobox: to summarize key facts that appear in the article. The less information it contains, the more effectively it serves that purpose, allowing readers to identify key facts at a glance." from Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Infoboxes#Purpose of an infobox.

Also see the closing summary at Template talk:Infobox person#Religion means what?.

I did a search on "Religion: None" in article space [5], grabbed the first 500 results, and deleted everything that wasn't "Religion: None" in the infobox of a BLP (including many pages such as Ysgol Bryn Alyn that use "Religion: None" in the infobox but are not BLPs). This left me with the following 280 pages:

I could probably come up with another hundred or so if I checked more than 500 pages.

I spot checked a couple of dozen, and the vast majority of those pages have never been edited by me. This reflects the strong consensus for "Religion: None" across multiple Wikipedia pages that I found when I started this project.

I then did the same search on "Religion: None (atheist)"[6] and "Religion: None (atheism)"[7] in article space and found five pages:

I have made a nominal effort to bring those pages into compliance with MOS and with consensus, but I have no strong feelings one way or the other on this, so I am not going to bother going to dispute resolution over it.

There are no remaining BLP pages using "Religion: Atheist", "Religion: Atheism", "Religion: Agnostic", "Religion: Agnosticism", "Religion: None (Agnostic)", or "Religion: None (Agnosticism)".

If anyone has any other suggestions for infobox work, please let me know. Otherwise I am going to jump back on the backlog at Wikipedia:WikiProject Fix common mistakes --Guy Macon (talk) 21:12, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

Change wording and avoid "holy wars" (pun intended)?[edit]

I wonder if it wouldn't be much better to simply change the wording of the religion parameter so that both religion and attitudes towards religion (atheist, agnostic, irreligious, etc.) can be covered under it. Samsara 03:46, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

You did review the lengthy discussion up above, right? If so, I'd recommend you propose a very specific change, as I don't think anyone will be eager to revisit this matter. DonIago (talk) 15:33, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
A change like that would make edit wars far more likely rather than less. MarnetteD|Talk 18:37, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
How so? Samsara 06:10, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
You would be opening things to a wider interpretation than they already are. All you have to do is read past discussions on this (as Doniago suggested) to see how contentious an issue this is. MarnetteD|Talk 12:40, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
I support making such a change. (Deciding exactly what to propose is the difficult part, because it has to satisfy a far wider audience than the "None"-only bloc.) The current extremely narrow interpretation by some is contentious. Red Harvest (talk) 01:41, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Contentious to whom? The original discussion occurred 4 months ago, resulted in a consensus that nobody went on record as disputing, and this is the first time I've seen anyone poke the hornet's nest again. That doesn't seem especially contentious to me. DonIago (talk) 15:23, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Doniago I was, in part. referring to how contentious it has been in the past not now. The other part that I was referring to is the edit wars that I have seen at various infoboxes over the years. At this point it is also worth mentioning the instructions for the current field "Include only if relevant. For living persons please refer to WP:BLPCAT. Be sure to support with a citation from a reliable source, in the article body." These instructions are an attempt to keep the items in the field "objective" - A widening the field to include "attitudes towards religion" makes it subjective. There is the potential for WP:OR and WP:SYNTH as editors would be trying to interpret what a given person had said. Also, all to often statments by a person are taken out of context. Along with that it is not unknown for a persons attitudes to change over the years so which ones would be included? IMO the field is fine the way it is now. MarnetteD|Talk 15:37, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Marnette, I was actually questioning Red Harvest's labeling of the current "extremely narrow" interpretation" as contentious. But thanks anyway. :) DonIago (talk) 16:00, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Doniago Thanks for clearing that up. Cheers from one who is still missing things after all these years :-) MarnetteD|Talk 16:15, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
@Red Harvest: I seriously doubt that the English language has a suitable word or very short phrase that we could use. I don't remember anyone suggesting one in all the massive discussion of options above. Samsara hasn't suggested any, nor have you, I haven't spotted anything in my thesaurus and I don't think MarnetteD is proposing "Attitude to religion" literally. But it's an interesting example; if we used it in an effort to include atheism and agnosticism, we'd probably offend many other people who wouldn't find "Attitude to religion: Christian" or "Attitude to religion: Muslim" at all acceptable. (Admittedly, "attitude to religion: Buddhist" might work a little better and I've met people who would embrace "Attitude to religion: Jewish" with a wry smile.) "Philosophy" and "belief system" would run into similar problems and add some - will we admit "instrumentalism" and "objectivism"? Unless someone can suggest a word or phrase that they really think will have general acceptance, then I fear this thread is nothing but arguing about wishful thinking. NebY (talk) 16:33, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
The wheel you seek has already been invented. Just find out what they use on census forms, and use that. Rocket science is not involved. Samsara 03:19, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
You do know that the info on individual census forms is private and cannot be shared don't you? See United States Census Bureau#Data stewardship. MarnetteD|Talk 03:29, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
The wording of the question is public. Samsara 03:37, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
It is. In England, it was "What is your religion? This question is voluntary. No religion / Christian (including Church of England, Catholic, Protestant and all other Christian denominations) / Buddhist / Hindu / Jewish / Muslim / Sikh / Any other religion, write in."[8] So far as I can tell, the 2010 US Census did not ask a question about religion. I haven't checked the censuses of Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand or any other English-speaking countries. Perhaps, as it is your proposal, you would care to do that? NebY (talk) 07:01, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Is image_size still needed??[edit]

If the image_size field "should not normally need to be set", then why do we still have it? Can we remove it altogether? I keep encountering users who set this field in infoboxes thus, thus having their image choices over how mine are set in my user preferences. Tabercil (talk) 22:13, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

How should "Atheist" be included in an infobox?[edit]

I am aware that there have been endless discussions on this subject. I personally thought that "Religion = None (atheist)" was a perfectly reasonable compromise, and I actually thought a significant number of editors agreed me on that, however I am aware that other editors did not think this was acceptable. What I find strange with the current situation is that you can apparently describe someone as "Free Presbyterian" (see Ian Paisley). You can describe them as "Russian Orthodoxy" (see Vladimir Putin). You can describe them as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)" (see Mitt Romney). You can say that someone is "Hinduism, with Jain influences" (see Ghandi). But apparently there is nothing interesting we can say about the spiritual beliefs of Vladimir Lenin, Bertrand Russell, Isaac Asimov, or Richard Dawkins. This seems odd to me.
By far the most interesting thing I have seen Guy Macon say on the subject is that although there is no support for changing the name of the "Religion" field, there might be support for introducing a new field. For example, would other editors support something like a "Spiritual views" field? I don't particularly care what it's called, but I do think there should be some way of getting different flavours of non religious views into an info box, assuming of course that they're significant and properly documented for that individual. "Non religious spiritual views" would perhaps be better, although that seems rather long for a field name.
Or, alternatively, suggest a different acceptable way of getting Atheist into an infobox. The current situation, where you can get endless sub-categories of organised religion, but cannot get any recognised types of non-religion, seems unsustainable to me. --Merlinme (talk) 23:19, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

I do not believe that "atheist" belongs in the religion field. "None" is a valid entry in that field for an atheist. But that's not to say that the issue cannot be described in the body of the article, where it is possible to do so without trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole. Omnedon (talk) 23:36, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
A) Atheism does not belong in the infobox at all. B) Atheism is not a spiritual belief so the field you are proposing still does not work. Omnedon's assessment hits the nail on the head. MarnetteD|Talk 00:38, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
While there has indeed been "been endless discussions on this subject", by my rough count well over 200 editors support changing "Religion: None (atheist)" to "Religion: None" and somewhere in the range of 10 to 20 support changing "Religion: None" to "Religion: None (atheist)" The most commonly expressed reason for this is that Mormonism, Orthodoxy, Hinduism and Presbyterianism are religions while atheism and agnosticism are not. Of course I don't expect anyone to take my word on that (and besides, my "rough estimating" ability may very well have an unconscious bias), so when I get time I will give a detailed count with diffs.
Getting back to the topic of a new entry, I of course have no problem with it as long as there is a consensus that what is on the left side of the "=" doesn't contradict what is on the right side. How about "known for"?
There appear to be two camps that support changing "Religion: None" to "Religion: None (atheist)". The first, like you, appear to have a good-faith disagreement over whether something that is a major part of a persons life should be excluded from the infobox. It's a valid argument, and a new field should be an agreeable compromise.
The second camp appears to believe that atheism is indeed a religion (one individual even argued that ""Atheism is their religion"), which is one of the standard talking points that fundamentalist Christians learn in apologetics class, presumably presuppositional apologetics. I don't see that group ever agreeing on any compromise, but I also suspect that there are between two and five editors in that group. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:09, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Finally, I commend you for trying to come up with an acceptable compromise. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:09, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
I have to admit that I'm amused that a situation that's persisted for four months without incident would suddenly be described as "unsustainable". Other than that...when there's a specific proposal made I'll weigh in if I feel I have anything useful to contribute. Beyond that, my interest in discussing this is admittedly quite minimal, and personally I'm kind of tempted to suggest that the Religion field itself be removed if we're going to be looking at rehashing this discussion at regular intervals. DonIago (talk) 05:25, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
The reason for that is that one user (Guy Macon) on April 6 started making changes to hundreds of articles whose editors were unaware that there had even been a discussion. And it's not like they were previously invited to comment... Samsara 05:52, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
If you strongly feel that the previously-established consensus does not reflect a reasonable sampling of the WP editorship, I'd invite you to open an WP:RFC on the matter. But discussing this just between ourselves would seem to have the same issue you just noted. I'm not going to fault Guy for going by what was considered to be the consensus at the time, and notably apparently none of the previously-involved editors felt that a wider discussion was needed to the point of opening an RFC when the discussion was ongoing. DonIago (talk) 14:31, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
The better approach would have been to identify the articles that would be affected before the discussion, not after, and leave a relevant note on each talk page. This is an approach that could now be taken. Samsara 21:59, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Apparently none of the editors involved in the discussion that led to the change felt like that was a step that needed to be taken. If you want to leave such a note, I don't believe anyone is stopping you. DonIago (talk) 13:37, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Assuming, of course that nobody files an ANI case against Samsara for posting identical text in multiple places[9], questions his reputation[10] or calls his posting to multiple pages disruptive.[11][12] I'm just saying.
  • "There is no content dispute. WP:Consensus was established, was stated as such in the closing statement by S Marshall, and should be respected as such. [...] This thread was opened by Samsara to complain abouut the size of a certain post added to several pages where users apparently were unaware of the discussion which established the current consensus. Guy Macon's intention was to discourage edit-wars by stating clearly why the word "atheist" was removed. In the meanwhile it was removed from all articles where it was used in the "Religion" field of infoboxes, as prescribed by S Marshall's closing statement, and this whole discussion has become rather moot." --Kraxler on WP:ANI, 11:20, 11 April 2015 (UTC)[13]
In the absence of an RfC (which nobody complaining is going to post because everyone already knows that the result will be overwhelmingly in favor of "Religion: None"), it would seem that WP:STICK applies.
  • "I wouldn't want someone to write a script to go through every affected article deleting the parameter [but] If an editor in good standing did it with all due care and thought, after discussion in difficult cases, then I would see that as a reasonable thing to do on the basis of the RfC." --S Marshall on his talk page, 23:14, 6 April 2015 (UTC)[14]
--Guy Macon (talk) 17:30, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
  • It shouldn't - Why should it be necessary to brand somebody as an "atheist" by sticking it in the infobox? "Religion=none" says it all. Period. Kraxler (talk) 17:41, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
And right there is the Freudian slip that underscores the problem with your side's argument. You see this as "branding" people, a negative connotation. For self-identified atheists this is not a scarlet letter. One of the requirements of listing it in the infobox is self-identification in reliable sources, as well as notability. (Those have now been scrubbed by censors.) Religion = none is a hell of a long way from saying it all, it lumps very diverse views of religion in a single category. By the very same logic the box should simply be Yes/No. That is every bit as informative as your proposed solution. "Period." Red Harvest (talk) 19:52, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Freudian slip? I clearly stated my opinion, no slip-up. Your argument is an example for one of the major objections to add an infobox at all: The ever-creeping obsession with hair-splitting until the box becomes so bloated, it gets bigger than the article. "Religion=none" conveys the key fact. Explanations go in the article text. May I quote from Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Infoboxes#Purpose of an infobox? "...the purpose of an infobox: to summarize key facts that appear in the article. The less information it contains, the more effectively it serves that purpose...". (my bolding of the key word). Kraxler (talk) 17:12, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Ooooh! Scrubbed by censors! Looks like we need to update [ http://zapatopi.net/blackhelicopters/ ] with this vital information... --Guy Macon (talk)
Life stance: .................... Ghmyrtle (talk) 20:02, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
@Ghmyrtle: I like that. The difficulty might be with the definition given there, "ultimate importance". I'm not sure it would always be easy to establish that someone who identifies as Catholic (for argument's sake), atheist, or agnostic actually regards this as their top priority. So the advantage of the religion field is that it allows to casually report the religion of a person without knowing how serious they are about it; the disadvantage is that we'll often report it even when it isn't a particularly notable fact about the person. I'll grant though, that "life stance" probably does work for Marquis de Sade and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, two recently debated cases. The article gives a book by Dennett as a source, which I assume is the origin of this term and its current definition. I wonder if the definition given by Dennett is really as rigid as has been reproduced in the article. Maybe that could get the cart out of the ditch. Samsara 00:50, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
My understanding is that the term was first used by Harry Stopes-Roe. There is a relevant article here: "The underlying cause of difficulty is the absence of a universally accepted word in English which encompasses both religions and alternatives to religion, without discrimination between them." Ghmyrtle (talk) 07:25, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Richard Dawkins is proud not to believe in a god. I am sure he would be very happy to be "branded" an atheist. I personally find his atheism a bit militant for my tastes, but it would be very hard indeed to argue that atheism is not a significant part of his beliefs and his life, at least as much as "Religion" is for most people who do believe in a god. Not believing in god is one of the things Dawkins is famous for. But his beliefs are not the same as Bertrand Russell (who also famously did not believe in god), nor the same as Karl Marx, who also famously did not believe in god, nor the same as Percy Byshe Shelley, who also did not believe in god. To pretend that all these varieties of non-belief can be considered the same, as if "Religion = None" has no sub categories, seems ridiculous to me. It also seems ridiculous to me that the various categories of non-belief cannot currently be given any infobox detail other than Religion = None. This is why I have raised this subject.
In answer to Donlago, Samsara is correct that we are here because Guy Macon has been recently making a determined effort to make the Religion field consistent with what he perceives consensus to be. I personally thought Religon = None (insert sub category here) was a perfectly workable compromise, but apparently others disagree.
My question remains: if you cannot put atheism in the Religion field, in the form such as Religion = None (atheism), how exactly can we put atheism in the infoboxes of people who clearly do not believe in religion, and where their belief in atheism is a fundamental part of what they are famous for?
I would still be happy with Religion = None (atheist). Alternatively, I am proposing a new field named something like "Spiritual views", the sole purpose of which would be to allow non-religious people to have significant views stated in their infoboxes. --Merlinme (talk) 23:08, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't think using "Spiritual views" would be an improvement. Many if not all atheists would say "Spiritual views: None". I prefer "Life stance", as set out above... the problem with it, however, is that for most readers it would need some explanation. Ghmyrtle (talk) 07:35, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Consensus is settled. Drop the WP:STICK or post an RfC.
Richard Dawkins would almost certainly object to his atheism being called a religion -- most atheist do.
I like life stance. Nice and descriptive with no hint of calling the lack of religion a religion. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:26, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
I agree that if we're going to revisit this issue then it should be handled in the form of an RFC. Consequently, I fail to see the point of this discussion, since until it is an RFC nothing we're saying is going to have an impact. I would not support a non-RFC discussion being used to modify the prior consensus. DonIago (talk) 05:03, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Can we draw a line under this discussion. It's clearly trying to change a recently agreed consensus, and not using the proper channels or any new ideas.--Dmol (talk) 05:23, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Can you point to where the idea of using a different wording for the parameter itself (i.e. religion vs. life stance etc.) was previously discussed? Specific diff please if you don't mind. Thanks. Samsara 06:01, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
No. You have wasted enough of our time. Consensus has been established (as you have been told by several people) but you refuse to accept that fact and drop the stick. The proper method of resolving such a dispute is for you to post a neutrally worded WP:RfC here at Template talk:Infobox person asking the reader to make a clear choice between "Religion: None" and "Religion: None: (atheist)" in BLP infoboxes, let it run the full 30 days so nobody can say they didn't have time to respond, then go to WP:AN and ask for an uninvolved administrator with experience closing contentious RfCs to evaluate the comments and write up a closing summary. If, at that point, the consensus is against me I will humbly apologize and offer to help bring the pages in compliance with consensus. And if the consensus is against you, you can choose to do the same or continue to fight, with the usual consequences. This has been explained to you before. --Guy Macon (talk) 21:18, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Can someone uninvolved please close this W.O.M.B.A.T (Waste Of Money, Brains And Time)? --Guy Macon (talk) 21:18, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Why? There is not a consensus on how to handle this, simply OBSTRUCTION of others' views by you while you foist your POV onto everyone else and BULLY other editors.. It would be nice if you could actually act in good faith for a change (rather than telling us we are to assume good faith while you so frequently violate the whole concept.) If you don't like the debate, don't participate, I'm sure you won't be missed. Red Harvest (talk) 21:56, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Guy's tone notwithstanding, given the obviously contentious nature of this situation I don't see anything out of line or obstructionist in saying that people who want to have any discussion of this matter that will result in actual change should open an RFC. And at this point I question the motives of anyone who isn't willing to take that step. DonIago (talk) 22:13, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Red Harvest, posting multiple complaints about another user's behavior on Template talk:Infobox person is inappropriate and disruptive. Please stop. If you really believe that I or anyone else has misbehaved, the proper course of action is to file a complaint at WP:ANI. This has been explained to you before. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:12, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Guy, a complaint was filed about your behaviour at AN/I! And various editors have expressed some discomfort about your tone; and you have largely ignored them. We don't have to look very hard on this page to find another editor expressing unease: "Guy's tone notwithstanding...".
When quite so many experienced editors think there may be an issue with how you are editing, perhaps you could consider you could take a look at how your edits come across?
I will raise an RFC. I don't know when, exactly, as I haven't got a vast amount of free time at the moment. Hopefully later this week. --Merlinme (talk) 22:32, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

Provide birth_name (below)[edit]

We instruct concerning the name parameter: "Common name of person (defaults to article name if left blank; provide birth_name (below) if different from name)."

As I understand policy: "Common name of person (defaults to article name if not provided). Provide birth name as birth_name (below rather than here) if it differs from name."

Compare our instruction at Template:Infobox writer#Parameters. Perhaps both can be improved by considering what they both say now. --P64 (talk) 20:04, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

RfC: Religion infobox entries for individuals that have no religion[edit]

Summary for the RFC listing: For non-religious BLP subjects, should infoboxes list their religion as “None” or e.g. “None (atheist)”, or something else? Proposer: Guy Macon (talk). Posted: 00:07, 21 April 2015 (UTC); summary added by (talk) 23:42, 25 April 2015 (UTC) This RFC is closed. (automatically updated)

Why, in this edit summary, are you saying:"Given the amount of wikilawyering I have seen, I am WP:BOLDly making sure that all readers in all timezones get the full 30 days to respond"? This has been a reasonably civil discussion. Arguments have been presented. Let the pieces fall where they fall. Sixty-four people are basically saying "omit the parameter". And in my opinion there has been little of what we call "wikilawyering". Many of the 64 people are arguing that such a parameter doesn't lend itself well to representation in an Infobox. This is a parameter unlike "date of birth" or "place of birth". I am heartened to see that we have reached what I think is the right decision on the question that you raise in this RfC. Bus stop (talk) 17:56, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Sorry for being unclear. I also think the community came to the right decision. (I would have followed the clear consensus even if I strongly disagreed with it, but the arguments posted convinced me to become one of the 64). What I was referring to is the very vocal minority who have been fighting tooth and nail to keep some variation of "religion = atheist" in the infoboxes of political figures. I have seen nonsense such as ignoring the closing summary of a consensus discussion and coming to another conclusion concerning what those in the discussion "really meant", reporting me at ANI and having the report immediately slapped down as being bogus, and all sorts of other battlefield behavior. Those POV-pushing editors have not caused any real disruption here, but I seriously doubt that they have given up, and I just wanted there to be one less thing they can wikilawyer about once this closes. Sorry for being unclear. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:37, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
Hi Guy Macon. Thanks for your response. Could I ask you, if you would not mind, could you please remove the "Religion: None" formulations from the Infoboxes of such people as David Miliband and Susan Sontag? Or do you feel such formulations are appropriate? I'm not sure what your stance is on this. Bus stop (talk) 03:40, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
I am in the process of removing them all. I usually manage around 100 per day (I am being careful instead of just speeding through them) and there are roughly 500 left to do. I just did the two you mentioned. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:38, 23 May 2015 (UTC)


The religion entry in BLP infoboxes has been a contentious issue for many years, with multiple participants disputing what, if anything, should come after the "Religion = " entry in cases where the subject of the page has no religion.

This RfC is an attempt to create a bright line answer concerning exactly what the consensus is.

What this RfC is and is not[edit]

This RfC only applies to infoboxes, not to the body of the article.

This RfC only applies to the religion field of the infobox.

This RfC only applies to biographies of living persons, not organizations or historic figures.

This RfC only applies to atheism, agnosticism, irreligion, and other ways of indicating "no religion". It specifically does not apply to Humanism or atheistic religions (examples: Atheism in Hinduism, Unitarian Universalism#Beliefs, Christian atheism, Nontheist Quakers, Pandeism).

This RfC only applies to what is on the right side of the "religion =" field. There is already a strong consensus against changing "religion =" to something else or deleting "religion =" from the template. If you disagree, please post a new RfC instead of hijacking this one.

This RfC does not address the existing strong consensus that a person's religion is only to be mentioned in the infobox if it is self-identified, relevant (per the template guideline), supported by reliable sources, and covered in the body of the article. If you disagree, please post a new RfC instead of hijacking this one.

This RfC does not address the existing strong consensus that "Religion: Atheist" and "Religion: Agnostic" should not be used. If you disagree, you may indicate this in the "Support [other]" section.

Previous Discussions and related pages[edit]

Ground Rules[edit]

Previous discussions have generated large numbers of rather heated comments, so no replies will be allowed in the support sections. This is the best way to make it clear who supports what. Please keep all threaded discussion in the threaded discussion section.

As always with RfCs, the quality of your argument counts more than the support counts. A compelling policy-based argument is worth more than multiple "I like it" / "I hate it" comments.

Because this has been such a contentious issue in the past, I plan on letting this run the full 30 days and then asking an uninvolved administrator (more than one If I can get them) with experience closing controversial RfCs to close this RfC. An issue that this many people feel this strongly about should not be snow closed.

When you reply in the threaded discussion section, you may wish to add "@Example" to indicate who you replied to. If you reply in the support sections your reply will be moved to the threaded discussion section with a "@Example:" added at the start of the comment.

Support "Religion: None"[edit]

In infoboxes on biographies of living persons, atheism, agnosticism, and other terms for having no religion should be indicated with "religion = None", which displays as "Religion: None".


Support: As proposer. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:07, 21 April 2015 (UTC) Changed my !vote to "omit the parameter" --Guy Macon (talk) 00:35, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
  1. Support since atheism and agnosticism are not religions, and since trying to include anything more than 'none' means trying to describe a variety of possibilities insufficiently. Details on a person's religion can be dealt with in the article body. Omnedon (talk) 01:35, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  2. Support trying to distinguish different flavours of "none" is unnecessary.—Kww(talk) 02:32, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  3. Support lest the idiocy of removing this parameter be passed (and people thus start adding religions to |known for= or some other parameter) . But really; this has been done to death, and most people have no doubt become tired of the debate. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 10:58, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  4. Support as second choice. I marginally prefer allowing (but not requiring) a parenthetical elaboration which further explains the type of irreligion, though if that proposal fails then I'd be happy with this as a compromise. —Psychonaut (talk) 19:11, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  5. Support, since clearly there are religions (eg, Jainism) that do not accept the existence of God. "Religion: None (atheist)" thus wrongly implies that being an atheist = not having a religion. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 22:49, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  6. Support, for many of the above reasons. Religion is much for than a belief in God[s] and some religions don't believe in a supreme being. Since the person's views of religion can range from lack of interest to hostile opposition, it is best to leave the "flavors" of "none" to the body of the article. Jason from nyc (talk) 23:18, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  7. Support, but only in cases where the person has disclaimed any religion. A religion (or life stance which in Norway is the category that humanism falls into) is more than just one belief but atheism, agnosticism, ietsism, theism, pantheism, panentheism are just one belief (or lack of one belief). Note that religious denominations can come in variations also [e.g., Anglican (High), Anglican (Low), Anglican (Broad)] and I don't think that is the route we want to go with infoboxes (though sometimes the denomination includes parens such as Church of God (Cleveland)). Omission of Religion= implies 'unknown' which is different than 'none'. --Erp (talk) 23:48, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  8. Support or Omit the parameter - Theism and religion (and/or spirituality and the like) just don't necessarily operate along the same axes such that combining the two in order to provide additional information remains within the scope of the parameter. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 04:31, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  9. Support, but I'd also be nearly as comfortable with Omit the parameter. Where someone's beliefs are important, "None" gives helpful quick information in the infobox. Putting something in parentheses after it will often misstate the person's actual views and leads to other complicated problems.  SchreiberBike | ⌨  05:04, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  10. Support as the most workable solution. I think omitting the entry would be better, but from experience, a lot of drive-by editors will think it is unintentionally missing and keep re-adding it. "Atheist" has become a belief system in its own right to some extent, and now has a contested meaning. "None" is the least dramah option. --Surturz (talk) 06:48, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  11. Support - Saying "atheist" in this parameter is serving two ideologies: those who want to demonstrate that atheism is just another religion (it is not), and those who want to overtly claim a prominent person as an atheist. When a person subscribes to no religion, and this includes atheists, "none" is the most accurate. Omitting the parameter is not accurate either in these cases, since that implies no information is known. Cheers, AstroCog (talk) 14:07, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  12. Support - Atheism, agnosticism, theism, et al are all different beliefs, but they are not religions, and the field is "religion", not "belief". Atheism is the rejection of religion and agnosticism is uncertainty about the existence of a higher power. These are beliefs reached through philosophical introspection, and not through faith. They are therefore on par with moral philosophies, in my opinion, and should not be listed as a religion. The terms are also different shades of no-religion. (We wouldn't put "religion=Catholic (goes to church on Easter to please his grandmother, but has generally rejected the existence of God, even though he still identifies as culturally Catholic" in an infobox). I'm also concerned that "None (atheist)" and related may result in terms like atheist and agnostic being applied to people who don't use those terms to describe themselves. I support putting "religion = None" if they have specifically stated they have no religion, and leave it blank if it's unclear. Liam987 talk 21:26, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  13. Support - it is presumptuous to label anyone "atheist" or "agnostic" unless they have declared themselves specifically as that. Likewise neither of these is a religion in the normal sense, so the best alternative is Religion: None. --EPadmirateur (talk) 14:38, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
  14. Support - Omitting a parameter should happen when we don't know its value, or the field doesn't represent a key fact that can be simply summarised. If the value is to be included then "None" is the least unsatisfactory choice to represent "atheism, agnosticism, and other terms for having no religion". --RexxS (talk) 23:41, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
  15. Support - Our brains love simplistic explanations even if they are erred. Popular belief likes to place agnosticism as a middle ground between theism and atheism, and likes to make "no religion" synonymous with atheism; but if you read the actual definitions of Religion, Theism and non-Agnosticism you find out that they are different categories, that they answer different questions directed at individuals, and that identification with either one of them or their respective counterpart (irreligion, atheism, agnosticism) doesn't preclude oneself from identifying with the other pair of dichotomies. This is why you have agnostic atheism, gnostic atheism, agnostic theism and of course "gnostic" (knowledgeable) theism. And this is why you also have atheistic religions, which is not to say that atheism (the lack/rejection of belief in the existence of deities) is or can be a religion (a superstitious belief system encompassing questions about reality and fate, but not necessarily the divine).--isacdaavid 03:05, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
  16. Support Since it's a lame double standard to label the religions of other people and not state the firm lack of religion of other significant figures. --Charizardpal (talk) 20:21, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
  17. SupportNone is a simple, straightforward term that avoids pejorative connotations some may associate with atheist, agnostic, etc. If a subject's views on the matter – for example, an expression of agnosticism – are deemed relevant, such may be included in the article. Sca (talk) 13:58, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

Support "Religion: None (atheist)" or "Religion: None (agnostic)"[edit]

In infoboxes on biographies of living persons, atheism, agnosticism, and other terms for having no religion should be indicated with "Religion = None (atheist)", "Religion = None (agnostic)", etc., which displays as "Religion: None (atheist)", "Religion: None (agnostic)", etc.


  1. Support: This seems the most logical to me. I understand that atheism is not a religion, but I see value in specifying what type of "none" they are. If the person self-identifies as "atheist" for example, there's a reason they choose that label and not "none" alone. Putting this in the religion field does not imply that atheism or agnosticism is itself a religious belief set. If it matters any, I say this as an agnostic atheist. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 00:16, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  2. Support: Excellent compromise. Empty can mean any religion, or no religion. "None" can mean no organized religion but still be a theist, or deist, or an agnostic. We need to provide something. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 02:20, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  3. Support: It's the best compromise and succinctly answers the next question a reader likely has when they read "None". We already have a tendency to not answer the next logical question around here in prose. I'll often see something like "...was the second person ever to..." without a simple parenthetical phrase to say who the first was. Dismas|(talk) 10:54, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  4. Support: I support this. Also, this was already supported in the above discussion on this page. Atshal (talk) 16:13, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  5. Support. People can be irreligious in multiple ways; having a clarification is thus most helpful.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); April 21, 2015; 17:24 (UTC)
  6. Support as best alternative to "Religion: None" and "Religion: Atheist". Atheist is not the antonym of Religious, because of plural irreligiosity, as Ëzhiki suggests, as well as atheistic religionism. Using "Religion: None" as a synonym for atheism seems to push a certain dogmatic interpretation. "Religion: Atheist" unnecessarily pushes the opposite dogma. Omitting the parameter seems quite acceptable in cases where religious opinion does not constitute an important or well-established part of a person's identity. (By the way I found my way here from a talk page notification at William Lewis Moore who is neither a conspicuous atheist nor, unfortunately, a living person. In fact Moore was at least a Jesus-liker if not a Christian.) shalom, groupuscule (talk) 18:44, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  7. Support. Yes, atheism and agnosticism are not religions, but there's no harm, and often some benefit, in providing this elaboration. Keeping it in parentheses makes it clear that it's just extra information rather than a religious descriptor. —Psychonaut (talk) 19:09, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  8. Support: So long as we're sticking to what sources say, which should have been the only determining factor to begin with instead of WP:OR semantic arguments. "Religion: None" without clarification equates irreligiousity, atheism, and agnosticism (those links do not go to those articles, but to drasitcally different examples of each that noone can sanely lump together). Replacing them with "Religion: None" would be like replacing "Religion: (Hinduism, Jainism, or Buddhism)" (that order chosen to reflect parallel attitudes toward theism) with "Religion: Dharmic." "Religion: None (atheist)" clarifies that they have no religion, but are atheists. As for 'atheism is not a religion just as clear is not a color' using "Religion: None" or "None (atheist or agnostic) is akin to saying "Color: None (invisible radiation, transparent solid, or empty)," -- In each case there are distinct reasons why there is no color, just as there are distinct reasons why there is no religion. Ian.thomson (talk) 19:23, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  9. Support, where (and only where) reliable sources confirm the subject's atheism or agnosticism. This information, when we have it, is precisely as relevant as whether someone is a Methodist or a Southern Baptist, or whatever. The objection that neither is a religion points out a flaw in the infobox, using "Religion" as a label for spiritual beliefs that are broader than religion per se. We should not omit basic information simply because our labels are poor; we should fix the labels.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:28, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  10. Support. If an individual's views on religiosity are relevant – that is, if we're going to affirmatively identify people as believers of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, etc at all – then it's equally appropriate to affirmatively identify their views if they are atheist or agnostic. There's a difference between someone who simply doesn't have a set of beliefs on the subject (religion = none), and someone who holds a specific belief that there are no gods or the existence of a god is unknowable. After all, religion isn't simply a matter of what one believes is true; it's also about what one believes is untrue. For example, "religion = Protestant" doesn't simply say that a person believes in Jehovah and Jesus; it also says that she doesn't believe in the prophecy of Muhammad, the authority of the Pope, or the existence of Odin, Amon-Re, or Vishnu. You can make similar lists of "things that are untrue" that are articles of faith for other religions. Like most theists, an atheist actively disbelieves in a long list of things; she also affirmatively believes in the ultimate supremacy of natural reality, which is as much a set of religious beliefs as the Christian's disbelief in the same set of "false gods" (except one or three). -Jason A. Quest (talk) 15:08, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  11. Support only if the subject self-identifies as the parenthetical. I don’t see this addressed in the RFC, but if a subject says nothing beyond that he doesn’t believe, we should not qualify his lack of belief. If we allow “None (…)”, we must also allow “None”. — (talk) 18:25, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  12. Giving the reader less easily accessed and accurate information is almost always bad. Why make them delve into the body of an article to access a nugget of information such as this? It's why we have info boxes. This is the least bad choice now that the incredibly dubious decision to exclude atheist and agnostic from the parameter has gained so much momentum from the Association of Navel Gazing Wikipedians. GraniteSand (talk) 19:24, 23 April 2015 (UTC)#
  13. Support.The distinction between atheist and agnostic is relevant (if their belief system is relevant at all, which in many cases it may not be) and so the extra info would be useful. Semantically 'atheism' may not be a religion, but this treatment has the value of concisly conveying important info.Fulleraaron (talk)
  14. Support Bhagat Singh wrote Why I am an Atheist. So did Michael Shermer [15]. And Ricky Gervais [16]. And Raymond Tallis [17]. Reducing this to, the not exactly equivalent, Why I have no religion based on shallow semantic arguments is unhelpful to our readers. To be clear, I am not saying that we should always specify atheism or agnosticism (that would be impossible for, say, Bertrand Russell) but when the subject clearly declare themselves to be (say) an atheist, marking them as just having no religion is simply unencyclopedic. Abecedare (talk) 06:05, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
  15. Support per Jason A. Quest's and Abecedare's reasonings. Gabriel Yuji (talk) 03:36, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
  16. This seems the most sensible to me. If we think readers are going to be interested that someone is a declared Muslim, say, then they're going to be equally interested that someone is a declared atheist, say. We shouldn't exclude one type of fact from the Infobox purely on the grounds that it doesn't quite match semantically the exact label that we use out of convenience. W. P. Uzer (talk) 06:30, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
  17. Support. It doesn't declare atheism and agnosticism as religions, and distinguishes between atheism and agnosticism.--Mr. Guye (talk) 21:59, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
  18. Support. This choice recognizes that the subject is non-religious without leaving it to the readers to hunt down a detail that they shouldn't have to hunt down. The religion parameter should not be omitted for the same reason. The whole purpose of the ibox is to supply concise detail to readers about crucial aspects of the subject. Thank you! and Best of everything to you and yours! – Paine  03:35, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
  19. Support. "One cannot avoid taking a position. Either one attributes one's presence here to the laws of biology and physics, or one attributes it to a divine design. You can tell a lot about friend or foe, depending on how he or she answers this inescapable question." (from 'The Portable Atheist') The purpose of Wikipedia biographies is to "tell a lot", is it not? tH0r (talk contribs) 14:14, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
  20. Support – many non-religious people prefer the term "agnostic" to "atheist" (for example). Although I would argue that agnosticism is a form of atheism, some individuals may prefer the term "agnostic," and as such Wikipedia should respect that, but only when an individual explicitly identifies as such. If there is any ambiguity or controversy regarding the subject of the article's identification (e.g. some people may identify as both "agnostic" and "atheist"), then "Religion = None" may solve the issue, and this topic should then be explained more in-depth in the article if needs be, IMO. – Zumoarirodoka (talk) 19:50, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
  21. Support. The problem we have here is that there seems to be an attempt to come up with a binary answer to a question that does not lend itself to a simple yes or no. I don't see the harm in allowing a qualifier to point out that someone is either an agnostic or an atheist or to just leave it as "none". Why can't we have all three as an option? I've an aunt, who openly identifies herself as an atheist and is very proud of it. For her, the label of None (Atheist) would probably be the best fit. For others, like the often quoted Penn Jillette, the "None" label appears to be the best fit for his take on religion. Belief and religion run a very wide spectrum, and that includes people who have neither, to remove the parameter all together denies the reader the opportunity to understand what that person's stance is on religion. So, policy should be flexible enough to allow for a wide range of options and let the subject of the page define what their religion and beliefs are. 2601:2:4E00:C662:28A6:DDCE:4261:AA1D (talk) 09:13, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
  22. Support. This seems by far the simplest compromise to me. If an individual explicitly identifies themselves as having a particular type of non-religion, then it seems very strange to me if there is nowhere it can be placed in the infobox, when it is apparently reasonable to have such precise religious specifications as "Hinduism, with Jain influences" (Gandhi), or "Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster" (Ian Paisley). As an alternative, I would be happy with an alternative field being created for the purpose of giving some info in the infobox about a person's non-religious spiritual views (or however it would be phrased). Excluding the information completely implies to me that atheism and agnosticism are less important in understanding people than the various types of organised religion. Considering organised religion as more important than atheism when summarising a person's life seems unsustainable to me, when considering how central their advocacy of atheism has been to the lives of certain people. The "Dawkins" solution (where atheism is put under "Known for") might work for some people, but surely not all of them. You can believe something strongly enough that it influences your life, without necessarily being a well known advocate of it. Percy Bysshe Shelley was expelled from university for his advocacy of atheism, but I would question whether it's something he's particularly well known for in the 21st century. --Merlinme (talk) 20:00, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
  23. Support.: If there are sources that support the specific use of terms like agnostic or atheist for a person, it should be OK to indicate that in the infobox. Otherwise "none" if no specific terms can be supported. We certainly need the parameter even when a person does not hold religious beliefs to distinguish from the situation where we have not included the religious beliefs (or lack thereof) in the infobox because we do not know what beliefs the person had. There is a big difference between knowing a person has no religious beliefs and not knowing a person's religious beliefs (omitting the parameter for both would confuse the two situations). Kerry (talk) 02:11, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
  24. Support Often being an atheist can be just as important for describing someone's biography as being a member of some religion, so it should be there. "None (atheist)" is better than "atheist" because it is the lack of religion. --Pudeo' 00:34, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
  25. Support Simply stating "no religion" is far too general; "no religion" includes monotheists, polytheists, deists, pantheists, agnostics, atheists etc. There is a definite need to extend beyond 'no religion'. Omitting the parameter has several problems; omitting the parameter may imply either that the individual's beliefs are not known (this would be false, and hence we would be failing to educate the reader), or imply that the individual has no thoughts on the topic (misleading). wolf (talk) 01:35, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

Support [Omit parameter][edit]

Leave the parameter blank if the subject doesn't identify with a specific religion.


  1. Omit the parameter: as Omnedon states, atheism and similar are not religions, so why are we trying to reflect them in the religion parameter? We don't use "= none" for all parameters that are not applicable to a particular person (monuments = none?); we omit those parameters. Nikkimaria (talk) 01:59, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  2. Omit the parameter unless it is clearly and unambiguously applicable to the subject of the biography. Furthermore I think "Religion: None" might have negative connotations when applied to Jewish people not known to be particularly religious. I think such a word construction for this parameter reflects a misunderstanding of Jews and Judaism. The word construction implies a poor connection between Jewish religious practice and Jewish religious identity. One should not need to reference for instance a Wikipedia article such as Who is a Jew? in order to understand this Infobox parameter. The purpose of quick reference at the heart of Infobox use is defeated in this case as pertains to Jews, and it may additionally be misleading to those unfamiliar with this subject. Bus stop (talk) 03:10, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  3. Omit the parameter. As stated all too often they are not religions and use of the term none is not needed. There are numerous fields in the infobox that are not used when there isn't info to put in them. There is no reason to single this one out by using the term none. MarnetteD|Talk 03:50, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  4. Omit the parameter since atheism and agnosticism are not religions. Omnedon said it all. Snuggums (talk / edits) 04:03, April 2015 (UTC)
  5. Omit the parameter. Atheism and agnosticism are not religions. If a parameter isn't applicable, omit it. Simple. BastunĖġáḍβáś₮ŭŃ! 09:53, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  6. Omit the parameter. Per Omnedon. --Krimuk|90 (talk) 10:32, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  7. Omit the parameter. It's caused more trouble than it's worth and the information can be more clearly discussed in prose. DonIago (talk) 13:26, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  8. Omit the parameter - per Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Infoboxes#Purpose of an infobox: key facts should be stated in a succinct manner, no need to show a non-fact, or brand somebody by sticking "atheist" (or something similar) in the infobox. Kraxler (talk) 15:10, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  9. Omit the parameter - if it's not applicable, don't use it (per Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Infoboxes#Purpose of an infobox). Kaldari (talk) 17:37, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  10. Omit the parameter - If the person has no spouse, the box doesn’t say Spouse: None. No children doesn’t result in Children: None, or Children: None (hates kids). How is this different? Religion: None (atheist) is worse as it suggests a person must be categorized religiously – and, unfortunately, that is the claim of some people. Objective3000 (talk) 17:53, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  11. Omit the parameter - Unless they are a noted Atheist campaigner or some equivalent then it can (and only then should) be added. GuzzyG (talk) 19:33, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  12. Omit the parameter - if a person is an atheist or has no religion, then the field is not applicable and should be left blank. 'Atheist' should never be in the religion field. Skyerise (talk) 19:44, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  13. Omit. This is just asking for trouble. Softlavender (talk) 20:04, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  14. Omit the parameter. If a person has no religion it does not apply.Charles (talk) 20:43, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  15. Omit the parameter. Atheism and agnosticism are not religions, so this line in the infobox does not apply. --Bduke (Discussion) 21:43, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  16. Omit the parameter if no religion is named Unless someone self-identifies as a particular religion/lack thereof (i.e. Christian/Jew/Muslim/Atheist/Agnostic etc) then having "none" is not only superfluous but also possibly incorrect. Just because someone may not state their religious beliefs doesn't mean they don't have one. Vyselink (talk) 22:13, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  17. Omit the parameter, and it is asinine that this is even a question. We don't use fields when they don't apply. Resolute 22:53, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  18. Omit. None (atheist) is kind of offensive. If any other section does not warrant, such as death date for a living person, it does not say "Not yet", but is left blank and not listed.--☾Loriendrew☽ (ring-ring) 23:28, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  19. omit the religion parameter in all infoboxes for all living persons except those whose notability rests on their religious affiliation. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 02:11, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  20. Omit except where religion is directly relevant to their notability. Religious affiliation, or the lack thereof, is not a detail that must be present in all biographies without exception — it's a detail that we include when it can be reliably sourced, and exclude when it cannot. And very often these days, it's a detail that reliable sources simply don't cover at all unless it somehow enters directly into the person's public life — such as a politician who publicly cites their religious beliefs (or lack thereof) as their reasoning for supporting or opposing a political issue, or a person whose notability specifically rests on their religious affiliation (e.g. the Pope, or a writer who attained their notability at least in part by writing about their atheism.) Many more people, however, treat their religion or lack thereof as a private personal matter and simply don't put it out on the public record at all, and thus nothing can be determined from RS coverage. There should certainly be room for it to be included where it can be properly sourced as having some actual relevance to their notability — but in many other cases it's a detail that no reader needs to know so badly that it would justify invading the subject's privacy rights to find it out. (I do not, for instance, need to know whether my city councillor is Catholic or Lutheran or Baptist or Buddhist or Jewish or Hindu or Muslim or atheist — I need to know what her positions are on the political issues that I care about, not what religious institution she does or doesn't attend on her own personal time.) There needs to be a way to directly denote "atheist" in the infobox if and when that's central to the person's notability — but there does not need to be any blanket policy that it must always be listed. Bearcat (talk) 02:28, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  21. Omit the parameter At one time people had to declare their religion, but that is disappearing. In many cases, a person's religion is unknown or unimportant and should be omitted. The religion of U.S. presidents for example if seen as important, while the religion of U.S. scientists, actors, professors typically is not. TFD (talk) 06:23, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  22. Omit the parameter in normal cases. If being an Atheist is important to mention, use the compromise "none (Atheist)" or (whatever in the brackets). --Gerda Arendt (talk) 07:23, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  23. Omit the parameter, as you would with any other non-applicable parameter. There is no reason to create an exception for Religion - since neither Atheism nor Agnosticism are religions, they shouldn't be put in the Religion field. Simon Burchell (talk) 08:47, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  24. Omit except where religion is directly relevant to their notability. Otherwise, it may be addressed in article content but it not necessary for the infobox. When you think about it, the idea of trying to include this parameter for everyone regardless of notability of that information is not that different than the silly inclusion of blood type in infoxboxes on the Japanese wikipedia.--Milowenthasspoken 12:21, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  25. Omit - and we should do this more often when the religion of the subject isn't relevant to the subject's notability. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:30, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  26. Omit if the parameter doesn't fit, don't use it. Also per Ealdgyth, if the religion of the subject isn't relevant to the subject's notability don't use it. Garion96 (talk) 13:43, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  27. Omit: Regardless of opinions, one way or the other, one definition of religion is "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects". If a person does not "believe" in God (ex. - I don't "believe" in God) it is still a belief. Adding anything that is not relevant, and certainly adding parameters, that may be used regardless of if it is stated by the subject, is wrong on so many levels. If a position of belief (one way or the other) is not relevant then forcing it one way or the other is wrong. Do not add what is not there because that is WP:OR. --- Otr500 (talk) 16:13, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  28. Omit the parameter, otherwise we are violating WP:BLP and WP:V - Cwobeel (talk) 16:50, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  29. Omit the parameter - If by "religion" we mean "organized religion" (and I assume we do), then the parameter simply does not apply to atheists, agnostics et al. These are beliefs, not religions, as they lack the element of a unified and organised world view and any sort of congregation. Timbouctou (talk) 18:04, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  30. Omit the parameter If a person does not subscribe to a particular organized religion, whether he is nonpracticing or an atheist or agnostic, I think that it best fits the requirements of WP:BLP that we simply omit the parameter entirely. Frankly I believe that at Wikipedia we tend to make too much of people's religions as it is, with too much pigeonholing and categorizing. Coretheapple (talk) 12:35, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  31. Omit the parameter per several of the above, eg Timbouctou. Peacemaker67 (crack... thump) 13:54, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  32. Omit the parameter. Atheism is the absence of religious belief. Omission of the parameter indicates the absence of religious belief, just as it indicates the absence of knowledge by us about the subject's religious belief. We should not attempt to label that about which we know nothing or which does not exist. Dwpaul Talk 17:27, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  33. Omit the parameter, per Nikkimaria's reasoning above. Atheism is the rejection of such belief and really does not belong in a field meant to describe someone's religion. "None (Atheism") implies that it is a following of some kind; it is not. Nymf (talk) 20:00, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  34. Omit the parameter: per many editors above. The implicit assumption behind the insistence to put "Religion: None" or "Religion: None (Atheist)" in the infobox is that, by default, everyone has a religion, which must be stated, or explicitly excluded. This is misleading, and potentially a breach of NPOV, BLP and many other guidelines. We do not include entries for political affiliation, favourite pet, or taste in music in the infobox, and nor should we include religion. If the entry is to remain in the box, it should only be used for people whose religion is attested and significant; in other cases, the parameter should be removed. RolandR (talk) 21:45, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  35. Omit the parameter I cannot think of another instance where we would explicitly list someone's lack of trait.LM2000 (talk) 01:41, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
  36. Omit the parameter Both "atheist" and "agnostic" are active choices. Being non-religious is different. Personally, I don't have a religion, in the same way that I don't have a favourite Baseball team - the matter isn't important enough to me to make a choice. If there were a wikipedia article about myself, I wouldn't want it to say "Favourite Baseball Team: none", and I wouldn't want it to say "Religion: none" (or worse, say "atheist" or "agnostic" - both of which completely misrepresent the situation). This doesn't preclude including "atheist" or "agnostic" where people have made an active choice on the situation (and I have perfectly happy for these to me classified as religious beliefs). Bluap (talk) 12:32, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
  37. Omit the parameter - per Bastun. Snappy (talk) 18:42, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
  38. Omit the parameter I like Bluap's summation best. Bob98133 (talk) 19:40, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
  39. Omit the parameter as not applicable, and don't label anyone with a religion unless they are known for their religious observance. Johnuniq (talk) 08:04, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
  40. Omit the parameter (obviously). Why on earth wasn't this included as a main option in this RfC from the start? Fut.Perf. 08:41, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
  41. Omit the parameter clearly if they are not notable for following a particualry religion then just leave it blank, we dont normally use "none" in any other infobox field and I cant see why this is an exception. MilborneOne (talk) 10:44, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
  42. Omit the parameter Not everyone publicly states their religion or lack of one. Only use this parameter if the person's religion is notable and referenced. I also I like Bluap's summation. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 18:10, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
  43. Omit the parameter Given the above arguments, I am now convinced that this is a better choice than my original proposal. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:37, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
  44. Omit the parameter - We don't include (for example) honorific_suffix=none, monuments=none, agent=none, notable_works=none, television=none, criminal_charge=none, awards=none, favourite_colour=none, football_team_supported=none (OK, I made the last two up, but they are about as "mandatory" as religion) etc, so why should religion be any different. Mitch Ames (talk) 01:43, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
  45. Omit the parameter. The question put in the RFC summary above was/is -- 'For non-religious BLP subjects, should infoboxes list their religion as “None” or e.g. “None (atheist)”, or something else?' Non-religious people don't have a religion, but regardless, my answer to that question is no. Surely we can be more editorially professonal than listing a non xxxxxxxx person in a xxxxxxxx parameter. We are supposed to be striving for editorial excellence, not an inexorable dumbing down of the project. The Omit voters above me here have given cogent reasons supporting their stances and I support them. Moriori (talk) 03:37, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
  46. Omit the parameter totally. Many parameters are blank but we don't feel the need to name the blank space. (Maybe could include hidden note in the edit area stating that it is intentionally left blank, or we may end up with well-intentioned editors thinking it was omitted in error.) --Dmol (talk) 04:28, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
  47. Omit the parameter if it doesn't apply ----Snowded TALK 05:42, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
  48. Omit The infobox should be for a summary of key information about the individual. For the vast majority of individuals, this is not a key piece of information. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 08:43, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
  49. Omit the parameter Unless there's a source which specifically attests as to the subject's religious views and provides context for why those beliefs are relevant to an encyclopedic understanding of the topic, this seems like information best left out of the infobox. In cases where multiple sources note a particularly strong association with specific atheistic or agnostic beliefs and/or the subject has been notably vocal about said beliefs, then it would be appropriate to note this detail with the prominence that is minimally implicit by inclusion in the infobox. In cases where such relevance has not been established, placing this detail so prominently would seem to run afoul of WP:WEIGHT -- and consequently, I would argue that this probably applies to those for whom we have a sourced and established religion, but for whom those religious beliefs play little to no relevance in terms of notability. Snow let's rap 01:02, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
  50. Omit the parameter this is the most sensible choice. Any parameter should only be given a value if it is unambiguous and uncontroversial; all other options are one or the other, and sometimes both. pablo 10:19, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
  51. Omit the parameter infoboxes have a history of ownership and edit warring issues, particularly when a person has nuanced or complex views that can't be summed up in a single word without synthesis (see Wikipedia:Lamest edit wars#Religion). Omitting the parameter in cases of self-declared atheists/agnostics/irreligious, and those with vague/undeclared views would be far simpler.-- Aronzak (talk) 13:08, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
  52. Omit the parameter, per Bearcat's reasoning. APerson (talk!) 13:40, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
  53. Omit the parameter just seems common sense and in line with how non-applicable infobox parameters are generally handled. --SubSeven (talk) 18:46, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
  54. Omit the parameter. As has been noted by others, parameters in any infobox which aren't mandatory are left blank. If it's an unknown quantity or, as in this case, meaningless categorization for the sake of trying to create meaning, leave it be. We may as well add political persuasion or any number of redundant parameters for someone whose notability is that of being a session musician. Not following or believing in a faith system is just that: it is the equivalent of not being eligible for a value. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 03:28, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
  55. Omit the parameter seems by far the best option. If the persons religion isn't known, or isn't a key part of their character then why bother putting it in? Cls14 (talk) 11:24, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
  56. Omit the parameter when there is no straight and clear answer for a direct question. There are multiple shades of relation of a person to religion (I will not go into detail) which sometimes may be describes in a particular section of the bio, but to slap a simple label in such cases may be a misinterpretation. -M.Altenmann >t 15:40, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
  57. Omit. If the subject is not publicly identified as a member of any religion, the field is simply not applicable to him. If it’s not applicable, a value of “N/A” makes a ton more sense than “None.” And if that, then it makes more sense to not include it at all. — (talk) 22:09, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
  58. Omit the parameter Given the case parameters for this particular RfC, the compelling reason to omit the field is the logical hurdle in positively asserting with reliable sourcing an unknown, irrelevant, or absent characteristic; this does not exclude completing the field if such sourcing exists. FeatherPluma (talk) 18:42, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
  59. Omit Common sense. Who has no religion? Nearly everyone lives by at least implied ultimate principles, but it is not our place to identify them without sources. User:Fred Bauder Talk 08:21, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
  60. Omit the parameter Seems most consistent with what we do for other parameters. "Religion: None" seems somewhat snarky to me. We wouldn't say "Morals: None" or "Hair: None" or "Friends: None". Kendall-K1 (talk) 11:32, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
  61. Omit the parameter - Unless a BLP's (or BIO's) religion is their reason for notability (a religious figure) or their religion is a notable aspect of the article (as Tom Cruise), simply omit. This would be particularly true when their religion is unknown, uncertain, or none at all. Unless the subject is truly notably atheist or agnostic (self identified, and necessary to telling the story of the BLP), there's no need to include that trivia. Presumption in favor of privacy effectively tells us to leave it out if it isn't important to the article. --Tgeairn (talk) 01:02, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
  62. Omit. I guess this makes the most sense, but it's not terribly important to me what happens. I think people obsess too much over making sure every single field is filled in. It's OK if there are a few empty fields. In cases where we're talking about activists, we can still mention what they're famous for in the "known for" field: atheism activism. I wouldn't mind some way to indicate that people are atheists, but the other voters have swayed me with their argument that this field is an inappropriate place. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 00:25, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
  63. Omit the parameter in most cases, except where their irreligion is notable, per WP:BLP, WP:V, and WP:NOR. I'd be okay with a few "Religion=none (atheist)" (note the no caps) in cases where the person ardently affirms their atheism, like Richard Dawkins (and similar for agnostic, etc.). --A D Monroe III (talk) 19:16, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
  64. Omit the parameter Just no need for this. Should only be applied in those cases that (ir)religion is a very important factor for the subject. The Banner talk 00:23, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Support [other][edit]

Neither of the above choices is acceptable (please explain what is acceptable to you in your comment).


Modify the label to be more inclusive - (policy-based argument) - It could be "Spiritual belief" or, if that uses too much space, simply "Belief". Change the label from Religion to Belief. You could object that the latter this is ambiguous, but I suspect your average grade school pupil could figure it out if followed by a word like Judaism or Atheism. I'm less concerned about the template parameter name. I don't know how the template folks would feel it about it, but as far as I'm concerned it could be left as |religion= if the "atheism is not a religion" faction can refrain from using it as a hammer. The template doc would need to be updated to explicitly allow atheism and agnosticism in that field. Atheism and agnosticism may not be religions, but they are no less significant and to give them short shrift for semantic reasons would violate WP:NPOV. The fact that this is a very personal and controversial area makes the violation that much more egregious.―Mandruss  16:04, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  1. Abolish the religion parameter as it seems impossible to be neutral, inclusive of members of all theology-related belief systems without segregating certain ones as Other. "Belief" cannot work when a certain vocal faction insists on a single narrow definition of the word rather than its more general connotation (see belief, sense 2). Thus the only remaining neutral option is no parameter at all, and any description of a person's religion or beliefs can be made in the body and debated in article talk. ―Mandruss  18:08, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
  2. Abolish the parameter altogether - Even when a person adheres to some specific religion, I see no reason why it should be shown in the infobox. - DVdm (talk) 18:02, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  3. Leave it to the editors, i.e., no blanket policy. The infobox is just a quick way to convey key information, and it is wrong to start claiming that it is turning atheism into a religion etc. Religion is not just one's position on God. It could mean culture, background, affiliation etc. We have subjects that say they are "atheist" but identify with Christianity (e.g., Ashis Nandy), "Hindu agnostic" (e.g., Jawaharlal Nehru), "atheist" but Hindu nationalist (e.g., V. D. Savarkar). We don't make rules for what people should believe in. We just make our best effort to describe what they believe in. Let the editors choose what is appropriate to each subject. Kautilya3 (talk) 22:58, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  4. Omit the parameter when we cannot reliably source either atheism or agnosticism; use "None (atheist)" or "None (agnostic)" when we can.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:29, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  5. Expanded guidelines – I believe that the current guideline proposals above are inadequate because they fail to adequately apply under all circumstances, and fail to provide any specific criteria to use when determining the right course of action. This proposal, however meritorious, only addresses one aspect of this issue. I believe an expanded, more comprehensive approach is necessary. You can read my full thoughts below. Assuming my proposal fails to gain traction for whatever reason, consider my support to be in the first section above, namely "None" without specifying the stance. This is only because the lack of clarity on how the second section is applied gives me reason to believe specifying the atheism or agnosticism of the individual possesses no qualifying criteria. If I am mistaken, and this is indicated in a discussion of my proposal below, then consider my support to be in the second section, namely "None (athiesm)" or "None (agnosticism)". ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 16:26, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  6. Omit the parameter except in special situations, as per SMcCandlish. In particular, if the person is known as an opponent of religion, it is useful to use the parameter for None (atheist). It is not useful except in such cases. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:04, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
  7. Abolish the parameter. In general, religious beliefs can be nebulous and mercurial, and even personal and private, and listing them as a point of hard data seems kinda dumb because it’s too easily outdated. It makes about as much sense as listing sexual orientation, which we don’t. — (talk) 22:24, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
  8. Even if it can't be done through this discussion, I would abolish the parameter altogether for the reasons given above, and how it isn't a defining characteristic for most people that aren't religious figures. Snuggums (talk / edits) 19:43, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

Threaded Discussion[edit]

  • Comment: I personally have no problem with omitting the parameter, and will change my !vote if that is the way the consensus is going. --Guy Macon (talk) 04:19, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Argument against "Religion: None (atheist)":
Atheism is not a religion. Bald is not a hair color. Off is not a TV channel. Barefoot is not a shoe. Silence is not a sound. Never is not a date. Clear is not a color. "Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby." --Penn Jillette
Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Infoboxes#Purpose of an infobox says:
"When considering any aspect of infobox design, keep in mind the purpose of an infobox: to summarize key facts that appear in the article. The less information it contains, the more effectively it serves that purpose, allowing readers to identify key facts at a glance."
"Religion: None" accomplishes this.
Many atheists strongly object to anything that even hints at calling atheism a religion.[18][19][20][21][22][23][24]
One of the standard arguments that evangelic christian apologists use in an attempt to refute atheism is "atheism is just another religion. You need faith to believe that there is no God".[25][26][27][28][29][30][31] That's why so many atheists object to any hint that atheism is a religion.
In addition, "Religion: None (atheist)" usually fails to tell the whole story. Most atheists do reject theism, but they also reject all nontheistic religions and a wide variety of non-religious beliefs. "Religion = None (atheist)" actually narrows down the meaning of "Religion = None" to the point where in many cases the infobox entry is no longer accurate. --Guy Macon (talk) 04:36, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
And many atheists don't care much about specifying what kind of "none". And there is value in specifying it if the person took the time to specify it themselves. I am not irreligious or none or agnostic. I'm an agnostic atheist and that has a specific meaning and I use that label to convey it. A parallel would be how we specify denominations of religions... because that distinction has meaning. Mormons and Catholics are Christians, but I imagine no one would suggest we only label them as Christians. There is minimal harm and much benefit from specifying information in this manner. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 05:36, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Minimal harm in calling something a religion when it clearly isn't one? --09:10, 21 April 2015 (UTC)~
The proposal to put "religion: None (atheist)" explicitly doesn't call atheism a religion. It does distinguish between a nonreligious person that reliable sources indicate identifies themselves as not having a religion because they are an atheist, and a non-religious person who simply doesn't consider any organised system of belief to be worth publicly associating themselves with. Omitting the "religion" tag altogether should be the default though, with "none" reserved for people who stated they did not identify with any particular religious viewpoint, none (atheist) and none (agnostic) reserved for those who are reliably identified as such. Atheism isn't a belief system by itself, but it is a different non-religious position to "I wouldn't consider myself a Christian... or anything really". Dtellett (talk) 10:12, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Fine. So long as we can write "Christianity (theism)", and so on. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 10:55, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Not sure what "theism" adds as a qualifier to Christianity, a religion Wikipedia describes as "a [mono]theistic religion" implying theism by default. There is no particular reason to assume a person identifying as having no religion, on the other hand, is or is not an atheist, agnostic, deist, apatheist etc. I'd certainly support something like Christianity (non-denominational) though where the sources support someone specifically identifying as non-denominational as opposed to simply not being identified as belonging to a particular church Dtellett (talk) 18:02, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Nontheist Quakers generally consider themselves to be Christians but not Deists or Theists. Clearly the term "Christian" means different things to different people (including a sizable number that think that only members of their group are true Christians). So Andy makes a fair argument; if "None (atheism)" is allowed, so should be "Christianity (theism)" and so on. Which is why Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Infoboxes#Purpose of an infobox says "When considering any aspect of infobox design, keep in mind the purpose of an infobox: to summarize key facts that appear in the article. The less information it contains, the more effectively it serves that purpose, allowing readers to identify key facts at a glance." --Guy Macon (talk) 19:05, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Dtellett's comment here is the only sensible solution in my opinion, which relies on editors on a particular page discussing and coming to a consensus on what is the best option for that particular page - the hallmark of what Wikipedia is about! Atshal (talk) 16:23, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment: omitting the parameter from infoboxes for people who are well-known for having no religion (such as, for example, Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins) seems questionable. Omnedon (talk) 13:56, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  • We already omit it for Dawkins, instead noting that he is "known for...Advocacy of atheism". Nikkimaria (talk) 14:30, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
I have no problem with using the "Dawkins solution" everywhere and will change my !vote if it looks like that's the way consensus is going. --Guy Macon (talk) 15:07, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
I was unaware of that about Dawkins, but in a case like his, that works for me. Omnedon (talk) 16:42, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
"minimal harm and much benefit" - except edit wars, vague guidelines that is applied inconsistently across different pages and are argued about constantly with ownership issues and synthesis of different refs. -- Aronzak (talk) 13:18, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment: In the previous discussion on this topic, still present on this page, the conclusion that was reached was that the content of the field should really be decided by the editors on the page and that all of the alternatives are acceptable (except Religion: Atheist, which should not be used). This seems the eminently sensible solution to me, and I don't really understand why we are having this same conversation yet again. Atshal (talk) 16:18, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
That seems to result, sometimes, in the field containing "None (atheist)" "Atheist (none)" which is problematic for some editors. Hence this discussion. Omnedon (talk) 16:44, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
The controversial entry is "None (atheist)". The current consensus excludes "Religion=Atheist". A small minority of editors (those who voted to keep Religion=Atheist" at the previous RfC but were !voted down) proposed to use "Religion=None (atheist)" in a thinly veiled attempt to circumvent consensus. Kraxler (talk) 17:17, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, that is what I meant. I accidentally reversed them. Omnedon (talk) 17:23, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
"Belief Atheism" moots a lot of controversy in this debate. See my !vote. ―Mandruss  17:25, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Not really. Atheism is not a belief. It is the lack of one. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:24, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Sir, unless you can show me authoritative atheist sources that support that statement, you have just revealed your POV on this issue loud and clear. Their belief is not a religious belief, as you have made abundantly and loudly clear. But that is FAR from NO BELIEF, and an atheist is easily as spiritual as any Christian, Jew, Hindu, or Buddhist. I'm sure you understand that my proposal is to remove the word "religion" from the question. ―Mandruss  18:28, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
I agree that atheism is a belief about the nature of the universe. I do not agree that atheists are "easily as spiritual as any Christian, Jew, Hindu or Buddhist". Atheists can be spiritual, just as atheists can be vegetarians or communists or Trekkies, but they may or may not be. There's no direct relationship between atheism and spiritualism. Omnedon (talk) 18:34, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, just as Christians can be truly spiritual or simply attend church regularly because they were taught that is the proper thing to do. Likewise to your statement, there's no direct relationship between religion and spiritualism. ―Mandruss  18:37, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Well, the point is that you said atheists are spiritual. That's not necessarily so. Perhaps you didn't mean it as you wrote it. Omnedon (talk) 18:39, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
I would suggest that you re-read my statement. What I said was, "an atheist is easily as spiritual as any Christian, Jew, Hindu, or Buddhist." I most certainly did NOT say "atheists are spiritual". This discussion will be a lot more productive if we read what each other says and don't paraphrase in ways that change its meaning. ―Mandruss  18:42, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Please re-read what you wrote. The clear meaning is that an atheist is spiritual. Did you mean that an atheist could be as spiritual as a Christian, Jew, Hindu or Buddhist? Omnedon (talk) 18:45, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Sorry if I was unclear, I'll try again. An atheist is no more or less likely to be spiritual than a member of any religion. Either can be spiritual or not. The point is that there no material difference between religious people and atheists, except that one worships a deity and the other does not. NPOV dictates that we should not limit this field to people who fall into the former category. In the end, it's all spiritual philosophy. Many agnostics believe that there was probably a guiding hand in at least creating this wondrous universe, but they don't subscribe to any particular dogma about the nature of that guiding hand. Who can reasonably state that that is not a belief? And how can we exclude this kind of belief from recognition in an infobox? Does it somehow diminish the meaning of religions in that field to allow atheism and agnosticism to share the same field? I stress again that I'm proposing changing "Religion" to "Belief", so I'm not implying that atheists or agnostics are religious. ―Mandruss  18:59, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
You write "The point is that there no material difference between religious people and atheists, except that one worships a deity and the other does not. NPOV dictates that we should not limit this field to people who fall into the former category". Let me try applying that principle generally. There no material difference between stamp collectors and other people, except that one collects stamps and the other does not. NPOV dictates that we should not limit the "hobby" field to people who fall into the former category, so "Hobby = not collecting stamps" is not only allowed, but required. Do you see the problem? It ignores the fact that not collecting stamps is not a hobby but is rather the lack of one. Likewise, by any normal definition of the word, atheism is not a belief but rather is the lack of one.
It hinders communication if we don't use the same dictionary-based definitions for words such as "belief". Yes, you can decide to use non-standard fleemishes and the reader can still gloork the meaning from the context, but there ix a limit; If too many ot the vleeps are changed, it becomes harder and qixer to fllf what the wethcz is blorping, and evenually izs is bkb longer possible to ghilred frok at wifx. Dnighth? Ngfipht yk ur! Uvq the hhvd or hnnngh. Blorgk? Blorgk! Blorgkity-blorgk!!!! --Guy Macon (talk) 16:39, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Guy, you're still in the same place you were when we started yesterday. By any normal definition of the word, atheism is not a religious belief but rather is the lack of one. After changing Religion to Belief, that statement remains true but becomes moot. And that's exactly why I propose to do so. ―Mandruss  16:57, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Guy appears to (still) be in a very solid place with his argument. When you say, "By any normal definition of the word, atheism is not a religious belief but rather is the lack of one", you have moved from "unclear" to simply "incorrect". Atheism is the lack of belief in deities, and does not define whether or not a person is also religious. There are many religious atheists; there are atheistic religions. Granted, many people who do not believe in gods also do not adhere to a specific religion, but confusing atheism with irreligiousness does a disservice to this conversation. Just as sticking a descriptor about a persons belief or lack of belief in gods into a field reserved for what religion they follow does a disservice to our readers. Xenophrenic (talk) 17:43, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
I am not a theology expert, and I assert that I don't need to be to discuss Wikipedia policy and principles. We can debate this until our star dies, but that would not change the fact that applying any different treatment to non-religious believers defines them as somehow Other, and that is a violation of NPOV. I propose to be more inclusive by changing Religion to Belief, and I believe that is more consistent with Wikipedia's core principles. If you disagree, go ask Jimbo what he thinks. ―Mandruss  17:52, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Nothing you just said addresses anything in my comment. You mistakenly defined atheism as a lack of religious belief, and I corrected you. I'm sure Jimbo would thank me. The Religion field is for religions. If you truly wish to make the infobox more inclusive (specifically regarding self-identified atheists, agnostics, and the other 31 similar flavors), you would retain the Religion field, and also add a new field: 'Beliefs in gods (or deities)', and allow the "None" parameter in that field. Xenophrenic (talk) 04:20, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────:Sorry, I just wanted to be sure. I agree with you: an atheist or a Christian or a Hindu or anyone else may, or may not, be spiritual. But as to excluding information: I think that trying to fit this information into a single word in the infobox in a way that will be widely accepted is problematic. If relevant, the subject can be dealt with in the body of the article. It's not a question of excluding information from the article, but avoiding controversial situations in the infobox. Omnedon (talk) 19:03, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

I think that avoiding controversial situations and observing NPOV are in conflict here, and the latter is what's policy-based (unless I've missed a policy that says we should strive to avoid controversy in Wikipedia articles). ―Mandruss  19:07, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
If we changed the parameter from "Religion" to "Belief", would all agnostics be stated as "Belief:none"? How would atheists who are simply godless rather than denying the existence of gods be listed? How should we list those who believe that "it's a dog-eat-dog world and devil take the hindmost"? Will Fred Hoyle's belief be listed as Steady State? Will we distinguish Trinitarians from Unitarians, or is it more important whether the article's subject believes in Calvinist predestination or the possibility of redemption? It's hard to imagine that a "Belief" parameter will solve anything or fare any better or even fare as well as the existing "Religion". NebY (talk) 18:59, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Like others, you're applying too narrow an interpretation to the word "belief". We go by sources. Most likely, sources will define an agnostic as an agnostic (otherwise, how would we know he's an agnostic?), so we would say "Belief:agnosticism". If sources define someone as atheist, we don't need any finer definition. For purposes of the infobox, we don't need to get into the business of dividing atheists into subcategories. That's overthink, which is behind a lot of this years-long argument. We would simply say "Belief:atheism" and call it a day. Any relevant finer distinctions would be in the body. ―Mandruss  19:12, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
"Too narrow" a view? "Belief" is a very broad term and many different editors will quite reasonably think to use a "Belief" parameter for all sorts of beliefs. In trying to solve the problems of atheism and agnosticism, we would simply have created a much greater problem. NebY (talk) 19:29, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
That's why God invented Wikipedia guidelines. ―Mandruss  19:32, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Just for grins, here's some hypothetical instruction creep.
Use the name of a religion, the name of a religious denomination, agnosticism, or atheism. Do not use any other terms without community consensus. Any appropriate finer distinctions may be made in the body of the article.Mandruss  20:28, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
But atheism isn't a belief. Worse than providing our readers with less information in the infobox, you espouse providing disinformation. As long as there exists a fringe minority still proclaiming that atheism is a belief system, allowing 'atheism' in the proposed "Belief" field would just perpetuate it. Xenophrenic (talk) 04:26, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break 001[edit]

Saying "Religion: None (atheist or agnostic)" is like saying "Color: None (invisible radiation, transparent solid, or empty)." Such a statement does not make clear a color, but does clarify why there is no color there. Would anyone really care to lump Spiritual but not religious, Richard Dawkins, and Ray Kurzweil in the same category? The first is totally capable of believing in God(s/ess) and happy to accept magical thinking, the second dedicates his life to opposing the idea of any sort of divinity or supernaturalism, and the third essentially applying Clarke's three laws to general religious belief. Yet they fall under "Religion: None." As for "atheism is not a belief," strong atheism (there is definitely no divinity) is a belief. Otherwise, Dawkins is advocating nothing. Weak atheism (simply not holding belief) can be a lack of belief (but may be the result of a strong agnostic belief). Ian.thomson (talk) 19:39, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
If you were in the middle of a nasty political/cultural fight and the other side made a point of throwing the claim "transparent is just another color!" in your face, believing that this refutes your position, you might feel differently about a Wikipedia infobox entry that suggests that clear is a color. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:56, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
So personal feelings that influence one to intentionally misread infoboxes determine article content, then? Ian.thomson (talk) 19:58, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Having a little trouble wrapping my head around that one, Guy. Anyway, I see nothing controversial about the following approach for someone who is maintaining a neutral frame of mind: 1. Change Religion to Belief. 2. Don't show anything unless it's relevant, as determined by local consensus. 3. Exclude no one because their beliefs don't fit your definition of valid or significant. 4. Use reliable sources to determine the field value. Do not engage in debate beyond which sources are more meaningful, as that would violate WP:NOR. 5. If the field value cannot be determined from RS, omit (although that probably means it's not relevant and would be omitted per (2) anyway). 6. In the rare case (I think) that RS indicates no belief at all, and that's relevant, show "Belief None". ―Mandruss  20:09, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
But Dawkins, for example, has beliefs about origins. They are just not religious beliefs. Omnedon (talk) 22:20, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
If he was simply advocating evolution, abiogenesis, and the big bang, he'd only be about as opposed to religion as Neil de Grasse Tyson. However, he is noted for holding a more pronounced opposition to religion because of his very specific beliefs regarding divinity. Ian.thomson (talk) 22:24, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Omnedon: Correct, and that's why I suggest not overthinking the word "Belief" in the label, or the parameter value. The field value following "Belief" would provide context and tell the reader what we mean by the word "belief". Another reason to say simply "Belief", rather than the more specific "Spiritual belief", is that it avoids a lot of ridiculous controversy about whether atheists are spiritual. Just leave that word out of it; less is more in this case.
The third para of Richard Dawkins begins with "Dawkins is an atheist", and I assume that the editors have done their job; that that statement is supported by RS, more than any other common classification of spiritual philosophy. In my view, we needn't look any deeper into Dawkins for the purposes of this parameter value. It's "Belief Atheism", and it clearly passes the relevance test for Dawkins. But any of this could be debated in article talk, just as we debate many other important things in article talk. ―Mandruss  22:42, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Would you be happy with "Known for: Atheism" as suggested above? --Guy Macon (talk) 23:08, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Sure, if you change Mother Teresa to "Known for: Roman Catholicism". ―Mandruss  23:11, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
A belief that there is no God is in the same category as a belief that there is one, and, per NPOV, those who hold that belief should not be segregated as somehow "other". This is Wikipedia policy. I don't recall seeing any other references to policy in this discussion. ―Mandruss  23:32, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
I do not believe the two are, in fact, in the same category. And if we are going to say "belief", then it is not overthinking it to apply it in a general way since it is such a general term. Omnedon (talk) 01:18, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
If you and I are debating whether something is true or false, how can our positions be in different categories?
As for your second point, I'm not sure what you mean by "apply it". The fact that the word "belief" is more general outside of this context does not require us to interpret it that way, or to use it that way. {{Infobox philosopher}} includes a field labeled "Region". At first glance, that means some kind of geographical region, right? That's what most people think of when you say "region". But no, when you look at the Region value in Aristotle, it links to Western philosophy, which is not a geographical region at all. It's an area of philosophy that's connected to a geographical region. The template doc specifies this as the correct usage of that parameter. Did the template designers feel compelled to clarify that for the reader in the label? No. Why? Because they knew the reader can figure it out from context, and they wanted to be brief and concise. The field value clarifies the field label. The same applies here as in no doubt many other infobox parameters. ―Mandruss  01:54, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
But a person's beliefs are not a debate. Atheism is not in the same category as Christianity or Buddhism. As for your point about the field name: if you are saying that a field called "belief" would naturally imply "religious belief", then we're going to be back where we started; if it is just another word for religion then we have the same problem. In any case, it is not against NPOV to say "religion: none" rather than "religion: none (atheist)"; but if, hypothetically, it was, then "belief: none" would be against NPOV as well. I would argue that saying "religion: none" is neutral, whereas "religion: none (atheist)" is not. Omnedon (talk) 13:30, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
The question of whether God (i.e., one or more higher powers) exists, and the nature of said God, is not only a debate, it's one of the most significant debates in all of human history. We have been debating these questions for as long as we have been capable of debating anything. Perhaps you didn't mean what you said.
Atheism is not in the same category as Christianity or Buddhism - an assertion without an argument, and already countered anyway. So I'll skip that one.
I'll assume you meant to say "spiritual belief" in place of "religious belief". No, I'm not saying "belief" implies "spiritual belief", or anything of the sort. I'm saying we should follow the lead of the Infobox philosopher designers and not overthink this label, debating ad nauseam the definition, connotation, and possibly etymology of the word "belief". That is pointless and an enormous waste of time and brain power. That's all. The important thing is to remove the word Religion. We say "Belief Judaism", "Belief Buddhism", or "Belief Agnosticism" and consider our job done.
I would argue that saying "religion: none" is neutral, whereas "religion: none (atheist)" is not. - Well, since I don't advocate doing either, you'll have to discuss that with someone else. ―Mandruss  16:53, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Mandruss, I meant exactly what I said. Beliefs are not debates. Beliefs can be debated, as anything can. But a wide variety of beliefs on one side, and a lack of belief on the other, are not in the same category.
Do not assume what people mean. Whether you intend it or not, using the term "belief" in this manner in the infobox will clearly suggest religious beliefs, and so is not a solution.
You gave an opinion regarding NPOV. I disagreed, and said I would argue the opposite. I don't see any arguments on your side on that. "Religion: none" is neutral. It does not tell the whole story, but that is impossible to do in the infobox anyway. Omitting the field entirely, if the information is not relevant or not sourced, is also neutral. Omnedon (talk) 04:47, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • IMHO, somebody can have no religion, without having self-identified as an atheist. In that case the proper choice is "none". If the person has self-identified as atheist, only then is "atheist" the right choice. WP:CAT/EGRS strongly supports this point differentiation. Debresser (talk) 23:15, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Question for those supporting omitting the parameter:
Traditionally, a blank infobox parameter ("Religion =", which is not displayed) has been interpreted as "we don't know, fill this in when you find a reliable source". If, as seems likely, this option is supported by consensus, should the "Religion =" portion be removed from the infoboxes of individuals who have no religion? Or just the "None"? --Guy Macon (talk) 01:29, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
I will note that when applying for an id (e.g., passport) that requires hair color to be listed, someone who is bald is likely to have 'bald' or 'none' put down. --Erp (talk) 01:59, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
@Guy Macon: You wrote: "Traditionally, a blank infobox parameter ("Religion =", which is not displayed) has been interpreted as 'we don't know, fill this in when you find a reliable source'." That's incorrect. Like many infobox parameters, the parameter is only filled out if relevant (and even if relevant it must be supported by a statement in the body text and a verification with a WP:RS citation). For the vast majority of persons, their religion or religious affiliation is irrelevant, never mind often being subject to various changes throughout a lifetime. Softlavender (talk) 02:25, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Correct. A blank entry does NOT mean "we don't know"; it means that their religious affiliation is not relevant to their notability. Nymf (talk) 20:03, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I voted to normally omit the parameter. I oppose every version which give "none" a capital N, which makes it look as if None was a religion, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 07:26, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment. The Infobox sucks for the depiction of religion. Bottom line: leave it out. It doesn't matter if the person is a rabbi or a priest or an imam. Leave it out. Attributes of identity including religion, beliefs, spirituality, racial affiliation, ethnicity, philosophy and Weltanschauung as well as many other related attributes can and should be addressed in the body of the article. The Infobox cannot summarize succinctly an area of identity that arguably is unique in each case. We are reducing people by cramming them into such a field. Whatever their attributes within these sorts of realms, it is expansion and explanation that we should be aiming for. The Infobox format is counterproductive concerning the sorts of information that we are discussing. Prose writing lends itself to custom-tailored depiction within these realms but filling in a field in an Infobox simply does a disservice to the depicted individual. Bus stop (talk) 10:38, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment: I've !voted twice, in different sections, to cover differentiable cases.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:31, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Much as it is a bit of a reductio ad absurdum, the thought that using "religion = none" is a good idea is on the same level as the thought that "criminal_status = none" on every article using this infobox would be a good idea. The honest truth is, religion is not a defining characteristic for 99.99% of Wikipedia's biographies and it should not be used even for people for whom we know their religious affiliation except in a small number of specific cases. Forcing "religion = none" onto people who are not religious is, frankly, offensive. Resolute 15:20, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Unlike "criminal status", "religion" is a crucial part of most people's lives and often defines their thoughts, behaviors, conduct, and other views. Whereas you don't need to know someone's criminal record to understand their beliefs, you do need to know their religious affiliation(s), or lack thereof. Anyway, when concerning BLP articles, detailing past unrelated criminal offenses, or previous ones which are no longer applicable, will hardly fly. Religious affiliation does. Although I can understand with the rationale of omitting it when not relevant, and I can begrudgingly respect that ruling, it's certainly not how I'd prefer things be handled. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 15:54, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
[citation needed]. Resolute 16:21, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Well, it's my opinion, just like yours appears to be. But feel free to Google it.Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 16:25, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
""religion" is a crucial part of most people's lives" - not in large regions of Western Europe, and other OECD countries. Academically defined religious codes have wide literature on their impact on ethics - but atheism is not a codified belief, and as a label says nothing - this is an issue of SYNTHESIS where "religion=none" is now being abused into some ethical code or stricture - which it is not. As above, ""When considering any aspect of infobox design, keep in mind the purpose of an infobox: to summarize key facts that appear in the article. The less information it contains, the more effectively it serves that purpose, allowing readers to identify key facts at a glance." - some people's positions on religion and ethics are nuanced in a way that they can't be summed up in a single word - saying "religion=none" in an infobox says little about the person's ethics or politics. -- Aronzak (talk) 14:55, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Hi Aronzak, the quality of this sort of information is not based on what it says about a person's ethics or politics. The quality of this sort of information is based on its unambiguousness. We are the editors and the readers are the readers. Our role is to provide good quality material and the reader's role is to use it in any way they wish. Religion is commonly noted elsewhere, wherever people are discussed. Atheism is within the ballpark of religion even if it is not religion itself. We don't have to debate the value of this sort of information to the reader. It is sufficient that it be of good quality. That means that it is well-sourced and unambiguous. Bus stop (talk) 15:38, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Please read Wikipedia:Lamest edit wars#Religion - and read the whole article to understand how much effort Israelis and Palestinians have fought over whether hummous is an "Irsaeli" food or a "Palestinian" food. Many atheists in OECD countries are still reticent to call themselves an "atheist" based on old fears of being seen as communist sympathisers - and the issue often is ambiguous. "well-sourced and unambiguous" is not always possible without disputes, even with a national leader like Julia Gillard. Gillard in 2010 said "I'm not religious" then in 2013 said she entered politics "an atheist, single and childless." Gillard's page does not have any "religion=" parameter in the infobox, and I agree that's for the best. NPOV and OR continue to be a matter of debate on many pages like this one. The easiest way to avoid OR and POV issues is to get an exact quote of what the person says about their own religious beliefs, or lack thereof. Putting "religion=none" into the infobox of a person like Gillard does not convey what that actually means.
"Religion is commonly noted elsewhere, wherever people are discussed" - yes and it deserves a sentence or more in the article body, and when POV and OR issues persist then an exact quote should be used, and their views should not be summed up in words or phrases they haven't explicitly used. "Atheism is within the ballpark of religion even if it is not religion itself" no. You wouldn't write "hair colour=bald" because bald is not within the scope of hair colour. You wouldn't write "children=none(childfree)" or "children=0(barren)" because if someone declares that they don't want children that should belong in the article body under "personal life", not in a POV pushing label like "childfree" in the infobox. -- Aronzak (talk) 03:49, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say, Aronzak. I'm more than willing to respond with my thoughts or opinions, but I don't really know what point you're making. Rather than assuming it and potentially lead to further misunderstanding, I'd rather you clarify what you mean. Feel free to do so if you wish. In any case, thanks for your input. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 21:51, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break 002[edit]

  • Thoughts – I believe this proposal, however meritorious, is structurally flawed. It brings forth only two specific options and a catch-all third section for alternative views. I gave my support in the latter section, but since my alternative view is significantly long, I'd rather not clutter up the section above. (I chose to clutter this section instead.) Anyway, I'd like feedback on this if anyone's interested.
In my opinion, the religion infobox parameter should be used if and only if the religion of the individual is known. Unless there is a specific and valid reason for excluding the information, said information should always be included if the individual's religious affiliation (or lack thereof) is known and, preferably, verifiable. On the matter of irreligion, or when the individual holds no specific religious affiliation, I think it's important to specify their nonreligious spiritual beliefs (or lack thereof) when available. The problem I have with the above proposals, however, is that the first is liable to inadequately describe the individual's views, and the second doesn't seem to allow for specifications outside of "atheist" or "agnostic", or the omission of these specifications if not applicable (doing so would render it little better than the first proposal). I'll address my concerns with both proposals first (par. 3 and 4), then add a comment on the labels being used (par. 5), and finally proceed to specifying my proposal (par. 6).
The first proposal appears to be the usual convention, but it's not ideal. Although it's technically true that someone who is, say, a Christian atheist, has no religion, this fails to actually clarify the type of irreligion they follow. If the parameter simply states "None", and the article does not specify the particular form of irreligion of the individual, how am I to know whether that person is a hardcore gnostic atheist and not a pantheist, or an agnostic Deist and not a spiritual nontheist? Similarly, some people hold spiritual beliefs, but refuse to identify as any single religion. An individual who believes in a Christian God but rejects the Christian religion is technically an irreligious individual. Should this person be described as "None" by virtue of their irreligion, or "Christian" by virtue of their beliefs despite rejecting that label? Although "None" as a label may apply to some, it may not apply to all, or even most, of the individuals who would be classified as such under this proposal.
The second proposal is an improvement in that is specifies the type of irreligion of the individual, but it appears to be limited in its specificity—or perhaps even static, in which case it's worse than the ambiguity Proposal 1 provides. Under which circumstances should these labels apply? Is someone described as "None (agnostic)" because they have specified that they are agnostic, or because they haven't stated that they're an atheist? Would a person who is neither agnostic nor atheist be labeled as simply "None", or would they receive their own parenthetical specification, or would they be mislabeled as agnostic or atheist? This second proposal is unclear and ultimately too simplistic to adequately replace Proposal 1 as the new convention.
I have a problem with us treating agnostic and atheist as mutually exclusive terms. Time and time again, scientists, philosophers, and scholars have clarified that (a)gnosticism is the degree of confidence or certainty in one's belief in God (or anything, actually), whereas (a)theism is the state of one's belief in a divine creator or deity. Individuals can be agnostic atheists, gnostic atheists, agnostic theists, gnostic theists; gnostic or agnostic pantheists, deists, polytheists; and even agnostic or gnostic apatheists. Thus, the second proposal may be further flawed because it appears to be perpetuating the flawed and mistaken idea that agnosticism is a position conflicting with atheism. If it isn't, it's strange that it would make this distinction, since so-called "true agnosticism"—agnosticism wherein one suspends their belief entirely, in particular regarding theistic claims, and refuses to assert anything whatsoever—is so extraordinarily rare that few people actually and consistently possess it.
Ever the precisionist, I think a blanket ruling will only worsen the state of affairs. Things need to be more specific, inclusive, and comprehensive in order to ensure the greatest benefit. I personally think that "None" should be used if and only if no other irreligious affiliation is known. If it is, then it should be specified. If the individual is an agnostic atheist, it should read "None (agnostic atheist)"; if the person is is a pandeist, but their degree of confidence or certainty is not known, it should read "None (pandeist)"; if the person is irreligious but still otherwise adheres to Christianity, then it should read "None (irreligious Christian). Only if the person is a so-called "true agnostic" should it be specified that they are "None (agnostic)". This may be a bit more complex, but it will ensure that the greatest amount of relevant, notable, and useful information is conveyed; and that we respect the fact that the individual is (or was) irreligious (hence the technical "None").
As an anecdote, I'm an agnostic apatheist. Although apatheism is a form of atheism, I would not want to be classified as an atheist. I disagree with many of the adjacent views many atheists hold, and I am critical of militant or otherwise aggressive atheists, so I would rather distance myself from them. Although I technically satisfy the criteria for agnostic atheism, and I am for all intents and purposes a type of atheist, I prefer to identify as an apatheist because it more accurately describes and specifies my views. If there was an article written about me, I would want my "religion" infobox parameter to state "None (agnostic apatheist)". I would strongly disagree with the label of "atheist" because it does not accurately describe my views, and I would disagree with the label of "agnostic" because it although I am very close to being a true agnostic, I am unable to suspend my beliefs like one would, so this does not accurately describe me either. Moreover, labeling my religion as simply "None" is problematic because although it is technically true, many readers would assume that to imply I'm an atheist, since atheism is one of the most widely known forms of irreligion. Thus, if a BLP article were written about me, I'd want my irreligion specified.
Since Guy Macon is fine with this post, I've omitted the last paragraph. I still feel bad about the length, though! ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 16:25, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
t@Nøkkenbuer: tl;dr You will need to learn to be succinct, otherwise we will not read and will not get your point - Cwobeel (talk) 16:52, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
While it is indeed true that many readers will not read a six-paragraph comment, that is because most six-paragraph comments spend six paragraphs saying what could be said in two or three sentences. In some cases, and the above is a good example, it takes six paragraphs to fully explain something. There is room in this world for both kinds of communication. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:19, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
You're completely right that I need to learn to be more succinct. Unfortunately, English is a verbose language, Latin is a dead one, and after the numerous drafts and edits I make to every single one of my lengthy posts, any further omission would compromise the essential or otherwise important content and information I am attempting to convey. If I must, I will write a TL;DR to summarize my above post. Otherwise, I can only hope that other users see my wall of text and pause to consider rather than admire or scowl. I know I'm wordy, though. Sorry about that. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 17:23, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Comments: @Nøkkenbuer; WOW! An agnostic apatheist atheist! That would be to hard for me and tiring. One the one hand "agnostic"; "claims such as whether or not God, the divine or the supernatural exist – are unknown and perhaps unknowable.", while at the same time (I assume), apatheist; "acting with apathy, disregard, or lack of interest towards belief or disbelief in a deity", and atheist; "the rejection of belief in the existence of deities". I am glad I am dumb enough to belief in a higher power but not too smart to try to over-psychoanalyze why. I suppose if you were really smart you could have good conversations with yourself about why you reject the notion, thinking it unknown or unknowable (maybe possible?), but surely don't give a crap.
As per above you are passionate about your opinion (confusing to others or not), but because I believe in God, as do others, does not give me any more reason to try to force my "beliefs" on you, and those that do not share mine, than it does you to try to change a template to reflect an unknown (not listed, or maybe not even covered by the contents with references of course.) in very possible conflict with the subjects actual belief. If a belief (of any persuasion) is not covered by a source it is still original research to place something in a template not reflected in source. If unknown then that wording is acceptable, if "none" is listed or known (unknown), then that is what is acceptable, and I see it as a push to try to add something that may or may not be there. Otr500 (talk) 19:53, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Well, I describe myself as an agnostic apatheist because I adhere to an agnostic worldview, in that I know that I know nothing and I don't even know whether I know nothing. Absolute certainty may be absolutely impossible, so I settle for approximations and near certainties. I am an apatheist because although I am critical of religion (I am critical of everything), I have grown tired of it and usually don't discuss it unless necessary. To me, the existence of God is irrelevant to my life. If God exists, then that deity should be satisfied with my very existence and self-expression as sufficient worship. I will not worship a deity forces me to placate myself or risk eternal damnation. A just God is a God which revels in its creations. Thus, even if God could be proven, I wouldn't change my life. I was once a devout Baptist Christian and apologetic. Over time, however, I adopted a more freethinking stance and decides to cut out faith as absurd. Not the most sophisticated stance, but I'm new to philosophy. Perhaps my views will change one day, though. I haven't met Kierkegaard yet, after all. We should probably focus on the topic, though, since these sorts of discussions run the risk of sidetracking an RfC. If you want to continue this first topic, feel free to leave me a message.
I'm not sure what your second paragraph means, but I think you're saying that we should not be trying to force any specification where none exists. If so, then I agree with that. I believe we should specify "None" if and only if we know this to be the correct specification of the individual's religion, and it does not conflict with any other issues which validate its exclusion. Preferably, I'd like a citation next to it, but this I'm concerned that requiring it in this instance would detract from the overall appeal of my alternative proposal. Ideally, I would like for every religious or irreligious specification to be cited, but that may prove to be far more difficult than expected.
Similarly, we should specify the type of irreligion if and only if we know which specific type of irreligious view the individual holds, and and it does not conflict with any other issues which validate its exclusion, and there is a citation to verify this. The reason why I believe the a citation should be a requisite in this instance is because we are now asserting something specific which may or may not be included in the body, so we should support this with verifying evidence. That shouldn't be hard, seeing as it's likely someone would only know the individual's specific type of irreligion through their assertion in a reliable source. Naturally, if no type of irreligion is known, it should remain as simply "None", just like if the irreligion of the individual is not known, even "None" should not be specified. I hope that makes sense. If I mistook your meaning, then I apologize. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 09:39, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Hypothetical The writer of the sequel to Jesus Christ, Superstar says in interviews "I don't believe in a god". What should their inbox show? Would it be any different for a presidential candidate? NebY (talk) 20:03, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
    First, has relevance been established? If not, we're done. If so, do the sources identify this person as atheist or agnostic? If so, we say "Belief:atheism" or "Belief:agnosticism". If not, we don't commit original research. We might choose to quote him in the body, or not. There's nothing new here, folks, as much as we seem to be trying to make it that way. ―Mandruss  20:09, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Assuming their statement was meant to be taken seriously, and the article was a biography about the writer, I would check to see if there is any more information about the individual's spiritual beliefs. If none could be found, I would personally not add the parameter. Not believing in God, depending on the context, could be anything from an atheistic assertion to a rejection of the God of whichever prevailing religion, most probably Christianity, which is technically not an atheist in the modern, general sense of the term. Moreover, lack of belief in a deity only entails some form of atheism, but does not devoid them of religious affiliation. The person could be an atheistic Buddhist for all I know. Thus, if that is the only information I had of the person, I wouldn't add anything additional to the infobox. I may, however, add the information into the article where appropriate, along with the interview as a citation. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 12:55, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break 003[edit]

A note about !vote counting

If you !voted with a comment such as "Omit the parameter unless..." or "Omit the parameter - Except in cases where..." your !vote is likely to be counted as not voting for anything. Given the strong feelings and absolute refusal to follow consensus by certain individuals, we really need every !vote to be crystal clear as to what that user is and is not supporting. Conditionals make your !vote a matter of interpretation, and we have seen that those who want to win a battle here will interpret anything ambiguous as supporting their side. As for myself, I am fine with omitting the parameter in the case of individuals who have no religion. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:20, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

IMPORTANT COMMENT: Support changing word: Is it far more important to battle, in a three tier type !voting, with hundreds of comments (some very long) that it is far too important than actually editing on Wikipedia?
The use of the term Religion, and that usage might offend someone religious or non-religious, seems strange. We could just collaborate replacing the dang word with "Belief". This does mean to accept or regard (something) as true. "IF" you "believe" there is a God, do not believe there is a God, don't know, don't care, and I suppose even if you are confused, it is still a belief one way or the other. "IF" you are devoutly religious I can not imagine you being offended that your "religion" would be regarded as your "belief". "IF" you do not believe in God (or a Deity) that is still your "belief". I suppose then we would all have to find another reason to not edit though- LOL. Otr500 (talk) 20:32, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm confused. Your !vote is to omit the parameter, but here you seem to support changing the label and including the parameter. Am I missing something? ―Mandruss  20:42, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Substituting the word belief for religion makes no sense. Atheism may or may not be a belief. Agnosticism is generally a non-belief, but not always. The “belief” among many believers that everyone must have a “belief” on this particular subject is a POV. And, frankly, a prejudiced, narrow-minded one. Seriously, a person can have tens of thousands of beliefs. A person can have no opinion on many subjects. A person may have not even thought about some subjects. The effort to turn a person’s world view into one or two words is absurd. See Flying Spaghetti Monster Objective3000 (talk) 22:01, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Your comments are based on so many false premises and distortions that I'm not going to try to respond to them. Except to say that you are applying a definition to the word "belief" that is neither necessary nor useful for our purposes. It is not the only legitimate interpretation of the word, despite your insistence that it is. ―Mandruss  22:18, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
The definition he is using is straight from the dictionary.
Full Definition of BELIEF:
1: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
2: something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group
3: conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence
Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/belief (Also see: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/belief and http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/belief ).
And I agree with his conclusion that "The “belief” among many believers that everyone must have a “belief” on this particular subject is a POV."
Mandruss, I didn't want to bring this up, but your behavior here is out of line. First you falsely accuse me ("Sir, unless you can show me authoritative atheist sources that support that statement, you have just revealed your POV on this issue loud and clear") just for making the rather uncontroversial statement that Atheism is not a belief but rather is is the lack of one, and now you are accusing Objective3000 of "premises and distortions" for making an equally innocuous and noncontroversial statement. If you are not willing to have a calm, measured discussion based upon logic and evidence and to treat other editors with dignity and respect, then you need to stop contributing to this discussion and edit some other topic that does not trigger this kind of behavior in you.--Guy Macon (talk) 23:12, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Guy, the statement that Atheism is not a belief but rather is is the lack of one is uncontroversial only to some in this discussion. I'm not one of them. I think I've made that clear enough in my responses, so I'm befuddled that you would still claim that it's uncontroversial. That dismisses my responses as meaningless and insignificant, does it not? As for the other editor, I was in the process of editing my comments when I edit conflicted with you. It was a harsher tone than I should have used, perhaps partly the result of being accused of having a "prejudiced, narrow-minded" POV - by an editor who knows absolutely nothing about me or my editing history. Funny you missed that. But your spanking is not completely undue. I'm out of this at least for awhile. ―Mandruss  23:24, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
LOL--LOL--LOL--LOL --I hit an edit conflict while typing and I will still post my comments but the comments about "Substituting" proves my point. "Seriously, a person can have tens of thousands of beliefs", and in that context it is "still" a belief. --- I am sure many above would agree (except one so far) the "thousands" of beliefs are narrowed to one in the template. I am still posting my comments but stand by my vote until...:
I would say most likely yes you missed something but I will enlighten you. This is the comment section and the "!vote" section (see above) gives the options: 1)- Support "Religion: None", 2)- Support "Religion: None (atheist)" or "Religion: None (agnostic)", and 3)- Support [other]. In the !vote section I do not see any other options S-O-, that there was no confusion, I supported the option of choices I felt the best. Now, in this the "comment" section, I commented here what seems to me to be a better option. I may be the only one that agrees with this, but I felt it should be seen somewhere. A miracle (sorry- happenstance of circumstances or extreme luck) could happen and a whole bunch of editors could say ---"That is a fantastic idea", or not. I am a realist and this is Wikipedia so I would give the chance of collaboration a negative 10 (-10) handicap but one never knows. If enough editors gave positive comments then I would be on board but I AM NOT going to muddy the waters with a novel idea that may not be well received and give a "not voting for anything" opinion. The way this is set up I don't even know if that option is available and there will be at least some radical replies that might not even make sense (to me). My opinion: "We can not collaborate because it is not fun". Otr500 (talk) 22:52, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
I think any option you wish to propose is available in the "other" section. That's why it's called "other". And, in fact, I did propose changing Religion to Belief in the "other" section. ―Mandruss  23:01, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
What is disturbing is the insistence that non-believers in a particular arena, about which they may not even care, be classified, in an encyclopedia infobox, with one word, that many other people may consider a qualification for their distrust or even hatred or even death-wish. We live in a world where people of multiple religions have slaughtered each other, over many eras, for their lack of “belief”, however they may personally define the term. Should we put a yellow star on the BLPs for Jews?
Humans are complex. How would you define Søren Kierkegaard? The WP article on him correctly doesn’t use the religion attribute – even though religion was what he discussed so often. It just ain’t that simple. A person's beliefs or worldview should never be reduced to one word. Objective3000 (talk) 00:39, 23 Apr 2015 (UTC)
A person may have not even thought about some subjects.
non-believers in a particular arena, about which they may not even care,
I don't speak for anyone else, but you're not understanding my intent in this. If you read some of the existing discussion, you'll find that people such as these would not have this field stated in their infobox, so it can't be an issue. Even if a person did have strong beliefs in this area, they would not have the field stated in their infobox unless those beliefs were deemed relevant by the editors working on the article. So your concerns about this are misinformed and unfounded. ―Mandruss  00:55, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
That is only what a few people have said. So no, my concerns are real. Objective3000 (talk) 01:12, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Ok, so you're fine with my approach, and I have your support? ―Mandruss  01:14, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
"When considering any aspect of infobox design, keep in mind the purpose of an infobox: to summarize key facts that appear in the article. The less information it contains, the more effectively it serves that purpose, allowing readers to identify key facts at a glance. Of necessity, some infoboxes contain more than just a few fields; however, wherever possible, present information in short form, and exclude any unnecessary content." --Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Infoboxes#Purpose of an infobox --Guy Macon (talk) 01:01, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
I would personally classify Kierkegaard as an irreligious gnostic Christian existentialist. However, unless we have a source claiming he belongs to any particular creed or specifying his exact religious position, it's difficult to add a parameter detailing it. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 11:04, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
The problem I have with changing the parameter from "Religion" to "Belief" is that the term "Belief" is a very broad one which can entail a lot of ambiguity. It is moreover an very inclusive term, meaning that changing this parameter would fundamentally alter the function of said parameter. What exactly is a belief, then? Only spiritual, supernatural, religious, or esoteric ones? What about economic beliefs, such as Capitalism or Communism or Nordic economics? Or political systems, like Republicanism or Democratism or Monarchism? What qualifies as a belief? In my opinion, if we were to change the name of the parameter and expand its function, it would need to still be specific to spiritual beliefs. Thus, it should be changed to "Spiritual belief(s)" or "Theological belief(s)" if anything. Otherwise, it should remain as "religion" for lack of a better term which adequately encompasses the whole of human theology—and no, "theology" wouldn't work because theology is the study of spirituality and not a state of spiritual opinion in and of itself. In my opinion, the proposal I offered above could adequately resolve this matter. Too bad it's more complex than what is currently being proposed. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 11:04, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Ignore Humanism, Secular Humanism, strains of Quaker philosophy, differences in Unitarian/Universalism fellowships; look at the articles here on Atheism and Agnosticism. I know that some people think that these are simple words with obvious meanings, as if philosophers hadn't debated about them for centuries. And that’s just a few terms. Look at the various doubts expressed by so many famous Catholics over centuries, or the large variations of Judaism, or the claim by many born-again Christians that other Christians aren’t real, or so many other nuances to religious terminology. Anyone that claims that we can define a person’s beliefs by one word clearly has a strong POV. Objective3000 (talk) 01:28, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Let me put this another way. An infobox lists noncontroversial, simple, clearly correct facts: spouse, birth/death date, children, citizenship, awards. If anyone thinks that religion or belief is a clear, noncontroversial, simple fact – why are we having this long discussion? Objective3000 (talk) 01:34, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Those are some of the things in infoboxes, but nowhere is it written that everything in an infobox has to be of that type.
For starters, the Belief field is not intended to fully define anything. That's the function of the body text. Infobox fields are incomplete by design, as the above boldfaced text attempts to convey. Do you object to the current practice of stating, for example, Religion:Roman Catholic in the infobox? Is that a full definition of that person's spiritual beliefs? I doubt it. Infobox fields are summaries, readers should not take them as anything more than summaries, and I doubt many reasonably intelligent readers do. ―Mandruss  01:39, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Spouse, birth/death date, children, citizenship, awards are noncontroversial, simple facts. You could call Kierkegaard a Catholic, or a Lutheran, or a Christian, or an agnostic, or an existentialist. They would all have an element of truth. YES, I object to the practice of stating Religion: Roman Catholic, unless no rational person would have an argument against the fact. And even Mother Theresa expressed doubts, which in the minds of many people means she wasn’t really a Catholic. Why would we insert ourselves in this? And why, please why, do some people think we need to be classified by religion? Does the infobox have eye-color? That would be less controversial and more factual. Perhaps we should add the exact degree of melanin in the skin. Objective3000 (talk) 02:01, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Now you're venturing outside the scope of this RfC. We can't change any of those things here, site-wide, so it's an off-topic waste to discuss them here. For that kind of discussion, I'd suggest Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous), where you'll no doubt get a lot of very animated discussion about that. ―Mandruss  02:10, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
I think this is the third time you have made a non-response response. I'll wait for an actual response to what I said. Objective3000 (talk) 02:13, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
I gave you what I thought was a helpful and constructive response. If someone else feels like impeding this process by engaging you in off-topic discussion, I guess that's between them and the rest of the participants here. Actually I think I've contributed about all I can here, and I'm getting virtually no support for my position, so my time will be better spent elsewhere. Adios amigo. ―Mandruss  02:18, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Objective3000, as Mandruss has explained several times, " Even if a person did have strong beliefs in this area, they would not have the field stated in their infobox unless those beliefs were deemed relevant by the editors working on the article. So your concerns about this are misinformed and unfounded." Softlavender (talk) 02:33, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
There would be a problem concerning Jews because a nonobservant Jew would have an Infobox entry "Religion: None" and an observant Jew would have an Infobox entry "Religion: Judaism". It is not common parlance to say that a nonobservant Jew has no religion. Bus stop (talk) 02:25, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
You are apparently mistakenly equating non-observance with atheism. Softlavender (talk) 02:33, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Therefore a Jewish atheist would have an Infobox entry "Religion: None"? Bus stop (talk) 02:40, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
If an entry was justified at all, then obviously... AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:02, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Therefore all the individuals in Category:Jewish atheists would have Infobox entries "Religion: None"? Bus stop (talk) 05:16, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Only if it was particularly relevant, which it usually isn't. And only if this RfC decides in favor of using that terminology as opposed to another terminology or leaving it blank for atheists even when particularly relevant. Also, I think it bears mentioning here that "Jewish" (particularly in this instance) is an ethnicity, and "Judaism" is a religion, although there is obviously some overlap and there are some practitioners of Judaism who are not ethnically Jewish. Softlavender (talk) 18:05, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, "there are some practitioners of Judaism who are not ethnically Jewish". They are converts to Judaism. But I don't know what point you are making. Bus stop (talk) 21:58, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break 004[edit]

So... where exactly can I write my support considering that the above sections have lead "DO NOT REPLY IN THIS SECTION."?

Anyways, I think it should be "None (atheist)". Especially with politicians saying that they are atheist is a statement beyond mere information of them having no religion. It is important for their voters and it may be important information also for the wikipedia readers. Cimmerian praetor (talk) 07:40, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

You write your support in the section; however, you do not reply in that section, as in you do not begin a threaded discussion there. Only announce your support, but do not reply to other supporters there. If you want to reply to the other supporters, do so in the Threaded Discussion section. This is detailed in the Ground Rules section. Please be sure to read the rules before commenting in an RfC. Considering your opinion, you may want to put your support in either Proposal 2 or Proposal 3 (other). I recommend reading some of the threaded discussions as well to see if that's where you want to lend your support. I'm pretty sure you can change your support any time so long as the RfC is still going. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 10:53, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
That is correct. You can change your support !vote at any time, and indeed this is advised if near near the end of the 30 days it is clear that your choice will not pass and you want to support one of the alternatives that has a chance of winning. The usual way to do this is to use <s> and </s> to strike out your old support comment and then post a new one. --Guy Macon (talk) 13:26, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Question: when we are talking about None, what is intended with that word? Is it no religion at all, no specific religion, not one of an official religions, or a lack of sources about what the persons believes? In computer science, None has the specific meaning of uncertainty, ie neither yes or no, so that no concrete conclusion can be drawn from it. My question then is, how should "Religion = None" and "Religion= None (atheist)" be interpreted? Belorn (talk) 12:44, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
In this context, or at least in the context of the infobox, I think "None" means "No religion". Some people (many people?) interpret this as meaning "No religion and also an atheist" since irreligious atheism is the most common form of irreligion. Specifying the type of irreligion in parentheses can improve this, but it creates future problems as well. I would assume that "Unknown" or "N/A" would be used if the individual's religion or irreligion is unknown and the parameter is still specified. Many times, however, if "Unknown" is the answer, the parameter will simply be omitted unless it is important to specify the unknown state of the individual's religious beliefs.
From my understanding, "None (atheist)" is meant to specify the type of irreligion the individual identifies as. Thus, "None (atheist)" would be read as "No religious affiliation and is an atheist". Similarly, "None (agnostic)" seems to be specifying that the person is an agnostic atheist, though it could simply mean that the person is a strict agnostic (I raised this issue above in 002). The purpose of the parenthetical addition is to specify what the person is if they do not adhere to any particular religion. It's not meant to imply, at least from my understanding, that atheism is a religion; rather, it is meant to clarify the type of irreligion. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 13:10, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Which would be fine if the parameter was "Irreligion =" Alas, it actually reads "Religion =" thus implying to the average reader that whatever is on the right side of the equals sign is a religion.
You're getting hung up on details. I'd love to see "sex =" changed to "gender =" because that's what it refers to, but I won't be writing 100k+ in text over it. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 18:02, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Just as a clarification, EvergreenFir, that last line to which you are indented is not mine, nor does it reflect my views. I'll assume that since you seem to be implying wordiness on behalf of the interlocutor, you meant me. If I'm mistaken, I apologize. But yes, and I'd rather there be both "sex" and "gender" in the infobox if it's appropriate to specify them, but that won't be happening anytime soon either. The details are what constitute the whole; when those details are significant, then it's worthwhile to analyze them. That's the difference between rigor and a quibbler. I've been known to be both, however, so whether I'm being one or the other is a matter of consensus. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 22:38, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Atheism vs atheism
I haven’t read all the discussion here, but there seems to have been a good deal of confusion over what exactly atheism is, with some arguing from the position that it’s a belief on par with religious beliefs and others arguing from that it’s an absence of belief. Both are correct. Check the word in a dictionary, or our own article. “Atheism” may mean a staunch belief that deities and supernatural forces do not exist; “atheism” may also mean merely a lack of belief in any deity, which some might prefer to term “agnostic.” It can mean either a belief in absence or an absence of belief. Point is, calling atheism a belief is a little like calling the EM spectrum a color.

Apologies if this was cleared up two days ago, but I started reading the discussions and this jumped out at me. — (talk) 18:59, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

I like Penn Jillette's analogy better. ;-) Dwpaul Talk 19:14, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
His analogy is fallacious because he assumes that atheism only has one definition, and that it only operates as a lack of an assertion. Atheism functions in a myriad of settings and can mean a variety of things depending on the context. A Muslim is technically an atheist in Christianity because he or she does not believe in the Christian God. A deist could be classified as an atheist because many deists do not believe in a personal God. A Buddhist is technically an atheist because although they are highly spiritual, they do not believe in any deities. Lastly, someone who rejects faith and spirituality altogether is an atheist because they lack any spiritual framework whatsoever. Atheism moreover operates as both a lack of belief (a negative claim) and an assertion of one's belief (a positive claim). As noted by the IP above, one could either not believe God exists, or believe God does not exist.
The common argument of atheism being a lack of belief, which is the one Penn Jillette uses, is a very narrow definition of atheism and doesn't adequately describe or express atheism as a belief or worldview. And yes, it's a belief because one must believe there to be no deity or deities. It is an opinion on the existence of a higher power which entails the cognizance of a particular view. The only way for one to be atheistic without it being a belief would be for one to be ignorant of the concept of God or gods, and thus incapable of forming an opinion about it. But at that point, is that really atheism anymore? ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 20:16, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Re"Atheism functions in a myriad of settings and can mean a variety of things depending on the context.", that is all the more reason why the infobox should just say "none" or omit the parameter. Infoboxes are a terrible place for things that can mean a variety of things depending on the context. Those kinds of things should go in the body where they can be defined and properly referenced.
"It's odd that the word 'atheist' even exists. I don't play golf, is there a word for non-golf players?" — Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
--Guy Macon (talk) 21:43, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson has also denigrated philosophy and clearly exhibits a near-complete ignorance of the field, so I wouldn't really consider him an adequate judge of philosophical or theological questions either. (And this is coming from an admirer of Tyson, too!) In any case, he's committing the same fallacy as Jillette in that he assumes that atheism is only defined as the lack of belief in something. Atheism, like any belief, is an opinion of which the sentient agent is cognizant. It is not the lack of something, like not-golfing, but the assertion of a negative claim. Moreover, whereas golfing is an activity, atheism is not an activity. It is a theological position and state.
If you also consider the context of the quote, you'd notice that Tyson is criticizing atheists who gather together to discuss their atheism. What he fails, or refuses, to understand is that when atheists meet up, they do so either to discuss religion—typically with the purpose of criticizing it—or to seek solidarity since atheists are a theological minority. Unlike non-golfers, atheists are stigmatized and ostracized for their belief (or lack thereof, if you insist); thus, they seek like-minded individuals for ingroup bonding. It would make more sense if you consider the context of why non-golfers would meet up. Perhaps these individuals live in a community where golfing is a norm and culturally significant activity, so their refusal to golf is considered deviant. Thus, they seek to group for solidarity and in order to criticize the activity they do not like. This is not that uncommon, and many groups are founded on the idea of not being something, or being against another thing (which atheism could be seen as in some contexts).
The final flaw in Tyson's reasoning is that words meaning "not <something>" is actually quite common. In fact, the prefix a- is exactly just this. Atypical, amoral, abiogenesis, acellular, acausality, acracy, atheist. It's not strange at all. The only thing strange here, though not necessarily atypical, is that Tyson defines atheism in such a narrow way.
Back on-topic, I don't see it as particularly intrusive (or even obtrusive!) if the infobox "religion" parameter specified the type of irreligion. Most of the time, however, the infobox will probably just specify "None" because it's pretty hard to find a reliable source saying that person X is anything more specific than that. If we are going to specify the type of irreligion, or the spiritual beliefs of the individual, in the infobox, it needs to be far more inclusive. Otherwise, restricting it to simply "atheist" and "agnostic" won't accomplish much, especially when the terms aren't even mutually exclusive. I'm fine with just "None", but only due to lack of a better option. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 22:11, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
You state that Tyson "clearly" exhibits nearly complete ignorance of philosophy, but that must be something only privy to you, as none of your linked sources (even the duplicated one) conveyed that. (And while you claim to be an admirer of Tyson, as if to lend credibility to your unsupported assertion, I'll wager you also have a greater than average interest in philosophy — which would demand that you claim offense at Tyson's comment if for no other reason.) Atheism is not, as you claim, a belief. It can be, as there is indeed a minority who affirmatively insist there are no gods, but they quickly fall embarrassingly to the same arguments used to refute those who affirmatively insist on the existence of a god or gods. Regarding your assertion that atheists "gather together to discuss their atheism" or "to discuss religion—typically with the purpose of criticizing it—or to seek solidarity since atheists are a theological minority", I would be very interested in where you are getting your information, because that sounds like fiction to me. The vast majority of atheists don't "gather together", and certainly not to sit around and criticize religion. Perhaps you meant secularists? I know that a sure-fire way to get the irreligious (which may also include some atheists) to "gather together" is to trample on people's rights by crossing the line between church and state in government. I agree with you in that I don't see it as a problem if the infobox "Religion" parameter specified the type of irreligion, but it should not allow parameters like "atheist" or "agnostic", because those are not a type of religion or irreligion. Xenophrenic (talk) 05:47, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Whoops about the duplicate linking. I must have missed one of the links I lined up, but I won't bother looking it up now. I stated as much about Neil deGrasse Tyson because his statements during the Nerdist Podcast were very indicative of it, as well as during other times wherein he commented on philosophy or philosophers to some degree. He has, on multiple occasions, made statements which reveal his lack of understanding about what philosophy is, despite being a philosopher himself (though he won't admit it). I'm pretty sure my links have shown as much, especially Massimo Pigliucci's article. They showed that he doesn't understand philosophy, fails to grasp its meaning or utility, and stereotypes it along such absurdly simplistic grounds that it's disgraceful. He is an intellectual, and a brilliant man; however, his statements regarding philosophy are nothing short of idiotic and anti-intellectual.
I do have a passion for philosophy, and I am personally very disappointed in Tyson's statements. My criticisms are based on objective grounds, however, and I don't take his statements personally. His claims are sadly reminiscent of the prevailing view among many who disparage philosophy, and he's perpetuating that, but my reason for opposing his claims is that they are not only false, but they are demonstrably so. My claim to admire Tyson is an interjection to indicate that I'm not some complaining curmudgeon with a grudge against Tyson or a critic who doesn't like him and finds faults where there are none. It's also a true claim. It wasn't intended to lend credibility to my claim, and I'd reproach anyone who thought it did. It is intended to dispel any misunderstanding wrought by assumed ulterior motives for my criticisms, however, and to show that I am willing to criticize even someone I admire when I believe that person is mistaken or wrong.
I don't see how you can reasonably claim that atheism is not a belief. It is, by definition, a belief. A belief, according to Google Dictionary, is "an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists". It obviously does not qualify in the latter sense, but certainly does in the latter sense under many circumstances. Princeton University's WordNet Search defines "belief" as "any cognitive content held as true". Atheism also qualifies in this sense. Dictionary.com's definition of belief qualifies atheism as a belief on multiple grounds. Likewise for Merriam-Webster and the Oxford Dictionary (from which Google Dictionary probably got its definitions). And TheFreeDictionary.com. And Wiktionary and Wikipedia. Even in philosophy (according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) atheism qualifies as a belief. Need I go on? Under virtually all circumstances, so long as the sentient individual is cognizant of their atheism, it is a belief. When they are not, it is neither a belief nor is it atheism rightly defined.
I specified that "when atheists meet up". I'm not commenting on how atheists operate as a group, or even their group identity (if one exists). I'm saying that, under circumstances where atheists—in particular irreligious atheists—do meet up with the common characteristic among them being their atheism and the common understanding that this characteristic is what defines their meetup, the following statements are indeed true. Are you unaware that atheists meet up? In any case, my comments had nothing to do with "the vast majority of atheists". I specified no quantity or percentage of atheists, only that some (an unspecified quantity) atheists do meet up and when the do, "they do so either to discuss religion—typically with the purpose of criticizing it—or to seek solidarity since atheists are a theological minority". This is admittedly not the only reasons that they do, and that is a slight on my part. Those are reasons which I believed were significant to note in the context of my above reply, though.
As for your final comments, I believe that in instances wherein the theological position of the individual is only known to the extent of "atheism" or "agnosticism" (or both), that should be all that is specified. Although neither are exclusively categories of irreligion, they can be and are. If someone is known only as an atheist and as someone who does not adhere to any religion, but there is no other information regarding their theological position or degree of certainty, I believe the "Religion" parameter should only specify as "None (atheist)". If the person is known as an agnostic atheist, and they are known to be irreligious, then it should specify as "None (agnostic atheist)". If in some remarkably unlikely chance the only knowledge we have of the person is that they are irreligious and agnostic, but not whether they are theistic (such as philosophical theism) or atheistic, then it should specify as "None (agnostic)". I don't think these specifications assert that the parenthetical information is thereby a category of irreligion, only that—in this particular circumstance—it is. Do you still disagree with this? If so, why do you? ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 15:04, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
Your assertions about Tyson are not supported by the sources to which you linked, especially the one by Pigliucci, wherein a more considered reading shows that Tyson's criticisms were specifically about the role of the "philosophy of science" (Pigliucci's pet field) in the field of empirical physical science; criticisms, by the way, echoed by many brilliant scientific thinkers. Tyson is even quoted as saying philosophy is useful, and there is plenty of work to which it may be applied, and nothing in his criticisms conveys "that he doesn't understand philosophy, fails to grasp its meaning or utility" without some serious context-twisting and misrepresentation. One might go so far as to say your characterization of Tyson's grasp of philosophy is made "along such absurdly simplistic grounds that it's disgraceful". One would think that when one is compelled to characterize a person as "an intellectual, and a brilliant man" and then in the same breath, "idiotic and anti-intellectual", that should send up a red flag indicating incomplete information. With admirers like that, who needs ... but I stray. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. (Side note: I stumbled upon these while following the links you provided on this topic [39][40][41] and thought you might find them interesting, though they don't really advance an argument in this matter.)
You've plucked several excellent definitions of 'belief' from several sources, but the issue under consideration is not the definition of 'belief', but of 'atheism', which is by definition non-belief. If someone is cognizant of their lack of belief in deities, they are an atheist. Thank you for clarifying that you were not referring to the vast majority of atheists when you declared that they meet up "either to discuss religion—typically with the purpose of criticizing it—or to seek solidarity since atheists are a theological minority", but even if you were referring to an almost nonexistent minority, I would still be interested in knowing the source of your information. Of course a Google search can produce hits for "meetups" among people who lack beliefs, but the defining characteristic of those meetups is a desire to socialize (not their atheism) — without the ritual, dogma and custom associated with gatherings of deity-worshipping individuals. As for my opinion regarding the 'Religion:' field, it should be used only for reliably sourced, affirmative declarations of adherence to a named religion. Insertion of tangentially/vaguely religion-related parentheticals (such as the word 'atheism', which has several definitions) into the field reserved for Religions is not only inappropriate, but potentially misleading. Xenophrenic (talk) 18:21, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Pigliucci's article addressed Tyson's criticisms of philosophy of science, yes, but he also addressed Tyson's other statements regarding philosophy in general. If you check the statements by Tyson in the article, he's referring to philosophy in general, not philosophy of science. Pigliucci's article addressed Tyson's overall ignorance and disregard for philosophy, including his criticisms of philosophy of science. Your comments are giving me the impression that you didn't actually read the articles I linked, however, since they clearly explicate how Tyson's statements betray his ignorance. For one, he equates the "Eastern spiritual practice" (Salon article) of Zen koans with philosophical inquiry. This not only misrepresents the practice of philosophical questioning, but it also distorts the purpose of such questions in Zen Buddhism. Secondly, he treats philosophy as if it's purely a linguistic endeavor, of defining words and defining what it means to be a definition. Although this is one component of philosophy, it is only a small portion of an intellectual enterprise spanning over two millennia and including virtually every aspect of the human condition.
He then proceeds to disparage philosophy as a pursuit which asks "a lot of ridiculous questions about things". This is the obvious conclusion given the grossly misrepresenting examples he gave of philosophy, but it is itself a "ridiculous" assertion when considering the reality of philosophy as a field. On another occasion, Tyson has even said that philosophers "limit" the sort of options that can be chosen, as if philosophy arbitrarily excludes valid choices for no purpose other than to be pretentious. This sort of statement indicates a failure to understand just what this limitation is. Philosophers define the question, examine the answers, and check the choices to ensure their validity and correspondence to logic, reason, and reality. They weed out the absurd, invalid, and nonsensical options from the ones which actually apply. Perhaps his statement was meant to simply be specious rhetoric, but if he was serious, then he obviously fails to understand the role of the philosopher. In fact, I'd question whether he was cognitively dissonant, since science does the same exact thing. So no, I don't think your criticisms of my criticisms are accurate because the articles I linked indicates Tyson's ineptitude at understanding philosophy despite being a philosopher himself.
My plucking of "several excellent definitions of 'belief'" is meant to illustrate that atheism is a belief. Terminologically, atheism is the lack of belief (or disbelief) in God or gods. But since when has a term ever been restricted by its definition? In practice, atheism is far more than that, and when atheism is a perspective held by a cognizant agent, it operates as a theological position and belief. This is because the agent is cognizant, or aware, of their view, which in turn substantiates it as an opinion they hold, and not simply a description of their lack of any view regarding the existence of a God or gods. One cannot hold a "lack of" something, a "nothing". I cannot knowingly possess non-belief anymore than I can hold void in my hands.
Atheism is indeed a negative claim, but it is positively asserted, as in "I am an atheist". To be atheist is to hold an opinion about the existence of God or gods—to have a belief that they do not exist. This is because the individual is aware of their "non-belief". Is it correct to describe algae as atheistic? No, because they do not have the cognitive framework to comprehend spirituality in order to assert or claim any position therein. An atheist is someone who knowingly holds an opinion, belief, or view regarding the existence of God or gods, namely that they do not exist. Why is it incorrect to state that atheism is itself a belief, even though it qualifies as one, both by definition and in practice, on multiple grounds?
My statements that atheist meetups are for seeking solidarity and discussing religion was meant to be taken as examples, not definitively the only purposes for such meetups. It's my fault for not clarifying that. Like I said above, however, those are "admittedly not the only reasons that they [atheists] do [meet up], and that is a slight on my part. Those are reasons which I believed were significant to note in the context of my above reply, though." This is because Tyson was criticizing atheist meetups as having no purpose (if they even existed); I wanted to illustrate how they could serve a purpose by providing examples which directly relate the meetups with their shared atheism. I don't know how common such instances are, but I wanted to point out that they can occur and explain why they might occur. It's my mistake for not being clear about this. Although socialization is perhaps a goal of such meetups, I believe the defining characteristic is their shared atheism. Many meetups occur with a defined common trait, belief, or characteristic every participant is expected to possess; atheist meetups are meetups wherein the defining characteristic is their atheism. Even though they many be socializing, isn't that what defines a meetup in general?
I feel like this above discussion is veering off-topic, however, and it may be best to take this to my talk page, if only to prevent this discussion from clogging up the RfC. If Guy Macon doesn't mind us continuing here, then we can, but it's his RfC and I don't want to inadvertently derail it. If you'd like to elaborate on why you believe the inclusion of parenthetical specifications in the "Religion" infobox parameter is inappropriate and misleading, though, I'd appreciate it and we can continue this part here regardless. I don't necessarily disagree with your concerns, but I won't assume your reasoning, so I'd rather you clarify. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 00:00, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
If you check the statements by Tyson in the article, he's referring to philosophy in general, not philosophy of science. Incorrect; even more so when you check Tyson's actual words in complete context, instead of just the words excerpted in the article you linked. Pigliucci's article addressed Tyson's overall ignorance and disregard for philosophy... Incorrect. Pigliucci's article addressed selected comments made by Tyson in different venues about the relevance of philosophy to practical physical science, and tried (and some would say failed) to argue that Tyson's position is unduly dismissive. Any "addressing of overall ignorance for philosophy" appears to be a construct of your personal interpretation. Pigliucci concludes that "I'm afraid neither one of us has really conceded an inch to the other's position." Of course I read the articles you linked, which is how I was able to refer to them, and quote from them, and note that you duplicated one of them, etc. I think what you meant to ask was, "How could you have read the same articles I did and yet not come to the same conclusion about Tyson?" Perhaps because when I am confronted with opinion pieces which advance a narrative that doesn't make sense (remember my 'red flag' reference above), I dig deeper into the sources and obtain the omitted quotations and the undistorted context, rather than take the opinion pieces at face value. Or perhaps I just lack the bias necessary to read stuff into it that isn't really there. For example, he equates the "Eastern spiritual practice" (Salon article) of Zen koans with philosophical inquiry. He did no such thing. He used the very common "One Hand Clapping" reference as a quick illustration of the kind of question that can be a distraction or delay to progress for a scientist studying the natural world. Likewise, he treats philosophy as if it's purely a linguistic endeavor, of defining words and defining what it means to be a definition. He did no such thing. He mentioned conversations devolving into the definition of words as just such a distraction. Only in your head is Tyson "treating philosophy as purely a linguistic endeavor". I must say, however, I can see some merit to the assertion that obsessing over the definition of a word ('belief' comes to mind) can be a distraction from actual productivity. He then proceeds to disparage philosophy as a pursuit which asks "a lot of ridiculous questions about things". Wrong. That wasn't Tyson. Tyson has even said that philosophers "limit" the sort of options that can be chosen, as if philosophy arbitrarily excludes valid choices for no purpose other than to be pretentious. Wrong. Tyson didn't say that, if we are talking about the same instance (you'll find a link to what he really said in the 3rd paragraph of your Salon link to the article by the blogger who likes philosophy and science). I apologize if I seem a little incredulous, but it seems rather odd to listen to the litany of wild aspersions based mostly on comments made at an informal recorded chat, between jokes about "Porn Stash" and "the definition of 'crap'" — you do realize you aren't peer-reviewing a dissertation or white paper from Tyson on Philosophy, right? Sure, we could discuss this further on your Talk page, but to be frank, I don't see the utility. Haters gonna hate, I suppose.
Back to the real issue: Atheism is a lack of belief or non-belief in deities. It is not a "belief", except in a minority form where a person affirmatively, explicitly "believes" there are no gods. Explicitly denies their existence. This fringe minority fits your description: To be atheist is to hold an opinion about the existence of God or gods—to have a belief that they do not exist. Belief (or trust, faith, opinion) about the existence of gods can be separate from, or part of, a religion. The vast majority of atheists eschew 'belief', relying instead on the 'known' or knowledge. You asked, Is it correct to describe algae as atheistic? No, because... Stop; some already disagree with you. See Implicit and explicit atheism for competing views. Your definition of atheism appears to assume a positive atheism position, which, in reality, would rarely be used in a BLP article. Most atheists (contrary to your assertion that they have 'beliefs') affirm their lack of such beliefs when it comes to deities, and many even take offense when their position is equated to a 'belief'. (In fact, it is a popular tactic for apologists for religion to insist against logic that Atheism and Agnosticism are just just two more belief systems (i.e.; religions).) Xenophrenic (talk) 12:08, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

I feel like this RfC has been inadvertently hijacked by a confusion over what the difference between the two proposals above. Each time someone !votes in Proposal 1, it appears to be along the lines of "atheism and agnosticism are not beliefs, so they shouldn't be put there". I wonder, how many of these people actually read the discussions, or even understand what Proposal 2 is? Correct me if I'm wrong here, but aren't the parenthetical specifications of "(atheist)" and "(agnostic)" intended to specify the type of irreligion of the individual, and not assert that either are a religion? Am I mistaken here? Because if not, the latter appears to be what people are assuming. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 21:45, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Some people (you seem to be one of them) read it that way and assume that this is the only possible way to read it. Others (such as myself) read it as clearly implying that atheism is a religion. Please don't assume that we didn't read the proposal. I wrote the proposal. There exists no rule of English that mandates that the parenthetical must modify the "None" and not the "Religion". --Guy Macon (talk) 21:57, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Well, then I was mistaken. I'd consider that a problem, however, since it's effectively setting this RfC up to fail anyway. There's near-unanimous agreement from scholarly sources that atheism is not a religion. It holds no creed, has no doctrines, and requires no lifestyle of its "adherents". Freethought is closer to a religion than atheism is. Thus, and with all due respect to those who !voted for it, I'd consider Proposal 2 is pretty much dead on arrival since it's based on a false premise.
The reason why I believe the parenthetical modifies "None" and not "Religion" is because of what would be conveyed if "None" wasn't there. If it said "Religion = Atheist", this would be a direct assertion that atheism qualifies as a religion. If it stated "Religion = None (atheist)", this asserts that the religion is "None", as the immediate successor, and that "(atheist)" is a modification of "None". Why would the parenthetical be related to "Religion" if "None" is specified, and the parenthetical is on the side of "None", and to the right of "None"—meaning it's information which either modifies that which immediately precedes, or that which immediately comes after it? Simply because it's in the same infobox row? In order for the parenthetical to be considered a religion in that context, it would have to be brought to the same level as "None", as in "Religion = None, Atheist". That's not the case, however, so I don't see why we would assume that the parenthetical modifies "Religion". Parenthetical information is typically an afterthought or additional information which supplements or complements the aforementioned term or clause, or that which immediately proceeds after it. Unless I have a misunderstanding of parentheses, or we have differing definitions of the function of parenthetical information, I don't see why there should be a conflict here. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 22:26, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, scholarly people that have examined the question know that atheism is not a religion by definition. Why would you want to assume that everyone that looks at an infobox is scholarly in this particular arena? Particularly when there have been so many that deny this obvious conclusion. Indeed, wasn’t there a huge argument here on this very subject? We have one editor stating that it would be of use to put the religion of a politician in the infobox for voters. What does that mean? That we should make it easier for anti-Semites to shun a politician that happened to be Jewish (or other Semites like Arabs, Phoenicians, etc.). Should we also aide voters that have other prejudices by adding other such to the infobox? I find it quite disturbing that any editor here would suggest that this is a good reason to highlight a person’s “religion”. Further, I am disturbed by the suggestion that allowing the Religion attribute is OK because editors of each page will decide on its applicability. That just means that we will have to argue the case thousands of times instead of once. Objective3000 (talk) 00:46, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't assume that, and I don't expect readers to have a scholarly understanding of atheism. However, any layman who reads our article on it, along with a multitude of other sources which aren't written by religious fundamentalists or extremists without a lick of theological erudition, will come to some understanding that atheism does not qualify as a religion. I admit that some do still conclude that atheism is a religion despite this, but I suspect this is based on faulty reasoning or a misunderstanding of what qualifies as "religion" and "atheism". Although the terms aren't mutually exclusive, neither is the latter a category of the former.
As for the rationale provided by the other editor, I don't personally subscribe to that view. I believe the spiritual views (or lack thereof) of a person should be specified as a matter of documentation. It is also an interesting aspect of someone people may be interested in learning. What they conclude from that information is their fault and flaw. Not that it justifies that editor's opinion, but if we are to specify the (ir)religion of politicians, I don't see any valid justification for not following suit with all other people. Making it a requisite for only politicians borders on POV. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 02:40, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break 005[edit]

Count so far: of the 40 "other !votes above, 33 are for omitting the parameter. (I counted "omit the parameter except in cases where..." as not voting.) This is well over twice as much support as either of the other two options (currently 13 each) . We still have 27 days to go, but it is clear that if you want one of the first two options, you should try to make a compelling argument against omitting the parameter. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:08, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

There are many participants here who seem to know a lot more about theology than about basic Wikipedia editing principles, which, when followed, make theological debates both unnecessary and inappropriate. I wasn't around then, but it seems very likely that's why this argument has continued for years with no real resolution. Many here need to read Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth and stop agonizing over things like how we would categorize Kierkegaard. If reliable sources can be used to reasonably support a concise and broad categorization of Kierkegaard in the infobox, then we do so; if not, we don't. Wikipedia is not the ultimate arbiter of truth, many people's mistaken belief notwithstanding, and we need to stop behaving as if it is. ―Mandruss  06:04, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

I was not “agonizing over things like how we would categorize Kierkegaard” and you provided no Wikipedia editing principles that I fail to understand. My point is that defining a person’s religious beliefs in one word is absurd. Objective3000 (talk) 11:25, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
We have already clearly stated that it is not the function of an infobox field to fully define anything, and I was referring to many more participants than you, merely using that as an example for illustrative purposes. Easily 80% of the threaded discussion is theological debate that is unnecessary, inappropriate, and counterproductive. Sorry for using you as the example, don't take it personally. ―Mandruss  11:39, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
So far, my preferred version has 13 support comments and the one you !voted for your has 1, while omitting the parameter has 34. This is despite my having posted 20 comments and you having posted 30. I wouldn't go so far as to say that our combined efforts have been "unnecessary, inappropriate, and counterproductive", but them being less than compelling is a demonstrable fact. And I seriously doubt that telling folks that their good-faith their comments are counterproductive will turn that around. --Guy Macon (talk) 14:03, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
You miss my point, which is that theological debate is outside the job of Wikipedia editors, more in the area of original research. I welcome experienced input on that, especially outside input, but I'd like it to at least address the point. And I agree, it's unlikely to have any effect, but that doesn't mean it doesn't need to be said. Finally, asserting that we are not fulfilling our obligations as editors is not a criticism of anyone's good faith, so please don't abuse WP:AGF. ―Mandruss  14:15, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
What theological debate where? Your desire to discuss the religion parameter without discussing what religion means makes no sense to me. Some of us do not believe it to be unnecessary, inappropriate, and counterproductive to at least bring up the complexity of religion. Unlike birth/death date, spouse, children, etc., religion does not fit well into a non-debatable, simple answer. Objective3000 (talk) 15:55, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm not going to waste any more time arguing this point with anyone who has a dog in this particular fight. AndyTheGrump, for example, is at least aware of this RfC, having posted one brief comment, but otherwise seems a disinterested party. He has a ton of experience and seems to have a good handle on policy and principles. If someone like him were to tell me I'm off base here, I would slink off with my tail between my legs and learn something from the experience. Absent that, I'll leave this with you as I have nothing to add. ―Mandruss  16:07, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
What dog could I possibly have in this? Honestly, I don't know what you are talking about, but you seem to continually assume bad faith. Objective3000 (talk) 16:49, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
You have very strong opinions in this subject area, so you are not in the best position to be completely objective here (nor am I). To recognize that you are human like the rest of us is not to assume bad faith, and frankly I'm getting tired of being accused of that. Anyone who has a lot of experience working with me will tell you that I have never accused anyone of bad faith. If I believe they are acting in bad faith, I either take them to ANI on a behavior complaint or I avoid them, but I don't accuse them of bad faith in a discussion. Way too many editors, including many with some experience, lack a clue what the words good faith mean. To them I can only suggest that they look it up. ―Mandruss  16:57, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
So, I don’t understand Verifiability, agonize over Kierkegaard, have mistaken beliefs and behave as if WP is the ultimate arbiter of truth, am having a theological debate, am making unnecessary, inappropriate, and counterproductive comments, have strong opinions (about which I am unaware), have a dog in some fight (about which I am unaware), and lack a clue of what the words good faith mean. You missed that I eat live babies. Your attempts here thus far have not proved persuasive. I suggest you argue the points made by other editors, as opposed to characterizing the editors themselves. Objective3000 (talk) 17:29, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm the only one who has made any reference to Wikipedia policy in this thread. And you are taking everything personally, as if I had started this thread to complain about Objective3000. And I'm through here. ―Mandruss  17:31, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Guess you weren't finished making characterizations of the editors themselves.:) Objective3000 (talk) 17:41, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

The field shouldn't be called "Religion". It shouldn't be called "Beliefs". It should be called "Attributes of identity". It should be more flexible than Infobox fields generally are. It could contain more than one factor, separated by commas. Therefore a hypothetical person could have an entry "Attributes of identity: Jewish, nonobservant, atheist". This would be machine-readable and useful to the reader because of containing a wealth of related information. I say "related information" because there is no single word to encompass all the types of attributes that we are talking about. "Religion" is too limited. "Beliefs" is too limited. Bus stop (talk) 16:33, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

No. Absolutely not. Not under any circumstances. Never. We don't invent entirely new terminology just so Bus Stop can continue his ethnoreligious shoehorning. This made-up phrase was concocted by Bus Stop with the express purpose of enabling him to label people according to the way other people described someone - to be specific, it was concocted by Bus Stop with the express purpose of labelling people as Jewish by 'faith' because other people considered them Jewish under Halachic law. Not only is this WP:OR, it is WP:OR invented to violate WP:NPOV, WP:BLP, and common sense. As for the broader question, I haven't got drawn into this repetitive debate once again because it is self-evidently yet another time-wasting argument over something that shouldn't be occurring in the first place - if we had any sense we'd abolish infoboxes in biographies entirely, given the level of misinformation they routinely contain. Biographies should be written in prose, and people who can't write adequate prose should stick to adding unsourced genres to infoboxes on third-rate nu-metal bands, or tinkering with whatever other meaningless 'articles' suit their obsessions. Content about living human beings needs to treat them as living human beings - complex and contradictory social creatures that defy simplistic labelling, and deserve better than reduction to bogus data-points in the Wikipedia Pop-Up Book of Arbitrary Categorisation for the Sake of Convenience. AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:59, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
“Express purpose” means he explicitly gave that as his reason. Diffs, please? Just so everyone following this conversation can be well informed of the history. Unless you were being hyperbolic or assuming bad faith or something, in which case, never mind the diffs, and please don’t. — (talk) 17:51, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
My suggestion has nothing more to do with Jews as with anyone else. Our aim should be to provide information to the reader. It doesn't matter if that information concerns organized religion or statements made by those individuals on belief in God or non-belief in God. All we are trying to do is provide in an Infobox format a a collection of loosely related information. As has been pointed out by others the term "religion" is inadequate to encompass the variety of sorts of information under consideration. My misgiving about "Attributes of identity" is that it is too long, but it is the best that I can come up with. This obviously has nothing more to do with Jews than with anyone else. We are just trying to list a variety of related attributes in an Infobox. It is that simple. We shouldn't make more of this question than really lies behind it. Both sides of that field may require more than one word. The consequence of being too cryptic is the risk of misleading the reader. Bus stop (talk) 17:01, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Arbitrary decontextualised shoehorning isn't 'information'. And cut out the crap about this not being about Jews - you explicitly referred to a "Jewish, nonobservant, atheist" in your previous post. Anyway, I'm not going to get drawn into another of your tendentious 'debates' - the phrase "Attributes of identity" is made-up bollocks, the concept is fundamentally flawed, and the objective at odds with the purpose of Wikipedia. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:29, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
That was just an example, obviously. Please don't concentrate preternaturally on what was obviously just a hypothetical example. As concerns "decontextualised shoehorning", I think the risk of that is higher when we pair a single term with a not-quite-correct field name such as "religion". Bus stop (talk) 17:31, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
It is still made-up bollocks. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:34, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
At any rate "decontextualised shoehorning" tends to be a downside of representing nuanced information in Infobox format. Bus stop (talk) 17:38, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Which is why it should be omitted. Objective3000 (talk) 17:44, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Could you suggest an alternative term? Or do you think “Religion” or “Beliefs” and an umbrella label are sufficient? — (talk) 17:40, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
"Religion" and "belief" are obviously not adequate. Bus stop (talk) 17:46, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
I was asking Andy. — (talk) 17:53, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

Please read the WHAT THIS RFC IS AND IS NOT section and post new proposals in a new RfC instead of hijacking this one. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:41, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Abolish infoboxes for biographies entirely Problem solved. If content is of sufficient significance to merit inclusion in a biography, it is of sufficient significance to merit proper contextualised description in prose. This long-winded and circular debate clearly demonstrates that trying to model a biography on a database doesn't work, and that encyclopaedic coverage requires more than the filling in of arbitrary fields with questionable content. Stop shoving people into imaginary boxes and the problem goes away. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:43, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

I agree. Bus stop (talk) 17:47, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
I think we should rather abolish most of the fields from the infobox. “Religion” (or whatever alternative) doesn’t need to be in there any more than “Sexual orientation” (which there’s no parameter for). Name, picture, relevant dates… I don’t see how anything more than that could be considered necessary. — (talk) 18:02, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Get rid of categories too. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 18:07, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, get rid of Categories too. In fact get rid of the articles. Bus stop (talk) 18:09, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Not sure if you’re being facetious there, but a lot of BLP categories could probably stand to go, too. Let’s cut the cruft. — (talk) 18:11, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose Comparing infoboxes to "proper contextualised description in prose" is a false dichotomy thrown up as a straw man argument, no more. Ridiculously arguments like that just make me grumpy, and then we'd need disambiguation too. Andy Dingley (talk) 18:18, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Just look at Abraham Lincoln and tell me that infobox doesn't provide substantial value to a reader. Abolish fields selectively, like |religion=, for example. ―Mandruss  18:29, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

@Guy Macon: I don’t think you get to make that call. This RFC is to determine the best way to handle |religion=. Editing the template itself is one possible solution, as is removing the template from use, as each of these would render the question moot. And if there’s already a strong consensus against both these alternatives, as you claimed in “What this RfC is and is not,” then they won’t draw much support or attention away from your proposed options, so it’s a non-issue. — (talk) 23:02, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

Yes, I do get to make that call. I posted the RfC, so I get to decide the questions asked. If you don't like it, feel free to post your own RfC where you get to determine the questions. You do not have permission to add new questions with support/oppose !votes to my RfC. You can, however, discuss any solution you like in the threaded discussion section, and if any of those ideas gains significant significant support I will post a new RfC myself to determine whether the new idea has consensus. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:30, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
That’s not how I was told it works when I’ve tried to exert the same kind of control over my own RFCs… and WP:RFC doesn’t support ownership… — (talk) 12:21, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
I’ve just opened a discussion about this question at WT:RFC#RFC: Can originators dictate the scope of RFCs?. — (talk) 12:57, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break 006[edit]

  • Regarding wikilinking of the word "None": I have seen a couple of examples of the word "None" in the infobox being wikilinked to either Agnosticism or Atheism, and I don't like it, since neither agnosticism nor atheism is synonymous with no religion. Seems like an unnecessarily sneaky alternative to the parenthetical (agnostic) or (atheist). I think WP:Manual of Style/Linking#Intuitiveness and WP:Piped link#Intuitiveness apply here. -- (talk) 13:07, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
    • Agreed that “[[…|None]]” is disingenuous and should be unacceptable, regardless of the outcome of this RFC. — (talk) 13:11, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
    I somewhat agree, though I believe that if "None" is wikilinked, it should be to Irreligion, as in "Religion = None". I'd also argue to wikilink "Religion" just to make sure readers understand what we mean by "religion" (there's a lot of misunderstanding over this single term), but that's a contention for another time. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 15:28, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
    "Avoid excessive wikilinking (linking within Wikipedia) as a substitute for parenthetic explanations" -- Wikipedia:Manual of Style --Guy Macon (talk) 18:32, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
    I understand that, which is partly why I'm not very vocal in this view. I personally believe this isn't a case of WP:OVERLINKING or anything of the sort, however, since the linking would be for clarification. What defines religion is commonly misunderstood, and what "None" means is moreover very misunderstood since people often assume it to mean "(irreligious) atheist". My suggestions here are to dispel these concerns, but they are tangential to the main discussion being had here. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 18:42, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
    I would let a wikilink to irreligion stay if someone really wanted "None" to wikilink there, but wikilinking "None" to atheist is clearly a back door method of re-inserting "None (atheist") against a clear consensus not to do that. Some people really want certain politicians to be labeled "atheist" in the infobox, presumably to make them less attractive to voters. See Anna Lo for an example of this. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:00, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
    I don't know the reasoning behind those individuals' motives, ulterior or legitimate, but I don't subscribe to that view. I believe the religion or irreligion of a political candidate could be useful information in voting, but it is not our obligation to facilitate that. Any specification of the politician's religion (or lack thereof) should be strictly for documenting purposes, or to clarify a prevalent misunderstanding. Any other reason borders on, if not outright qualifies as, POV. Unless I'm missing one, in which case shame on me for not thinking this through. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 20:39, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment. Our aim is to provide information. This is something I think we are losing sight of. This means related information. This does not mean omitting some information to reach the imprecise conclusion that someone has "no religion". The concept of "no religion" can be problematic. Does Ed Miliband have "no religion"? We are being simplistic here. The Infobox reads "Religion: none". The alternative version would be little better. It would read "Religion: none (atheist)". There is related information which is omitted. Miliband's mother and father are Jewish Holocaust survivors, sources say he is Jewish, and he says he is Jewish. Yes, he is an atheist, but our aim is to provide information. Related information in this instance is being omitted from the "Religion" field of the Infobox. We are creating an Infobox entry that is cryptic. Even within the limitations of the Infobox format we can be more generous with information. I would find, for instance in this hypothetical example, an Infobox entry of "Religion: Atheist (Jewish ancestry)" more informative to the reader. I am not insisting on that wording. Other possibilities exist. But I am a little baffled by this RfC. Are we seriously limited to the two alternatives under consideration in this RfC? Bus stop (talk) 14:30, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
    • (Note: This comment was posted before the last four sentences above were added.) But then we have the implication that atheism is a religion, which there’s consensus against doing. And does ethnicity belong in the religion field? — (talk) 14:38, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
      • In my humble opinion we must not lose sight of what we are doing. There are trade-offs involved in this as in many things. The "religion" field is in very common use. "Atheism" is not exactly out of place in such a field. The reader is merely scanning an Infobox for information related to religion. There is a ridiculous insistence on categorization of attributes. Religion is a component of ethnicity. Atheism relates to religion. We can rely on common parlance. We are not trying to define terms in a mere Infobox entry. We are trying to convey information. I think that is our primary aim. I don't think we should lose sight of what we are primarily trying to accomplish here. The reader should be given volumes of related information, within, of course, the limitations of space of an Infobox. Bus stop (talk) 14:50, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
Would you object to "None (Jewish atheist)" as the appropriate specification of Ed Miliband's religious views? ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 15:23, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
Nøkkenbuer—do you feel that the word "None" serves any purpose in that formulation? Bus stop (talk) 16:08, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
If it were omitted, it would state that his "Religion = Jewish atheist". Jewish atheism is not a religion, so this would be absurd and problematic. Not only is the "None" part useful in declaring the individual's irreligiosity, but it also serves as the appropriate classification of their religion (i.e., "none", no religion). So yes, I believe it serves two significant purposes, and one epiphenomenal purpose: to specify the individual's irreligion; to serve as the appropriate religious category of the individual; and to avoid the absurd assertion that Jewish atheism is a religion. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 20:39, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
I am not arguing for this formulation because I think other acceptable formulations are available, such as my aforementioned "Religion: Atheist (Jewish ancestry)", but I think the formulation "Religion: Jewish atheism" is acceptable. Bus stop (talk) 20:55, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't see how that would be acceptable. Jewish atheism is not a religion in any respect, so it would be inappropriate to classify it as such. Neither is atheism. Like I pointed out in my last, epiphenomenal point, the assertion that Jewish atheism is a religion is absurd. If "Jewish atheist" is specified, it must be as parenthetical information that follows the "None" category. The only way for this to not be true is for the "Religion" parameter to change, but that probably won't be occurring anytime soon. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 23:13, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
We don't put un-sourced information into articles. It would be highly unlikely that there would ever be a case in which sources supported that anyone had no religion. The word "None" is being used without the benefit of support in sources. That is not the way Wikipedia works. All information has to be verifiable. Bus stop (talk) 23:42, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't see the problem with "Religion: Atheist" or "Religion: None". It is excessively pedantic to say that atheism is not a religion. At the same time, you cannot say that everyone with no religion is an atheist. I think this could be decided on a case by case basis.--Jack Upland (talk) 01:21, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it is excessively pedantic to argue that one cannot say that which is best supported by sources, and this should simply be decided on a case-by-case basis. "Religion: None" is unlikely to be used because it is unlikely that a source will exist to support that assertion. If there is insufficient information available to support an assertion that there is no religion, that field should simply be left blank. Bus stop (talk) 01:45, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
In many cases, a source does exist to specify the religious or irreligious affiliations of the individual. This is especially the case for politicians, social commentators, philosophers, and some writers. Actors and other celebrities do, on occasion, also specify their spiritual beliefs, though this is less common. It is not very common, but it does occur. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 00:24, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
We should be thinking about potential for abuse. Religion is generally the most controversial area that can be addressed in an Infobox parameter. It brings out the WP:BATTLEGROUND mentality in editors. You say "In many cases, a source does exist to specify the religious or irreligious affiliations of the individual." There are actually sources that contain Infoboxes. But those sources are not edited by a multitude of editors, such as is the case at Wikipedia. Additionally, Wikipedia does not model its Infoboxes after Infoboxes found at at other sites, although admittedly it is only in a small percentage of cases that we find Infoboxes for biographies at other sites. What we do here is translate prose language found at sources into concise Infobox formulations. But our formulations are not found elsewhere. To counter the large amount of abuse such a parameter is subject to we should just eliminate the parameter. The Infobox is fine but the field for religion is not a good idea. Religion is contentious in many realms. Religion engenders enmity. This is no secret. Irrational as it may be, people are fiercely argumentative and passionate about the subject of religion. We talk about tolerance but intolerance is in ample supply. This parameter is a powder keg and it ignites regularly. At our project we should confine the exploration of religion to the body of the article. It is not a subject that our sort of a project analyses well and then portrays fairly in an Infobox. We argue to a great degree. Do we argue this much about how to depict date of birth or place of birth in an Infobox? Just leave the religion parameter out of the Infobox. In all cases there should be no field for "Religion" in an Infobox. Let the reader search for the word "religion" or some such term in the body of an article. Bus stop (talk) 02:33, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
"In many cases, a source does exist to specify the religious or irreligious affiliations of the individual." - but in many other cases, a person who isn't religious will make statements that are a matter of interpretation and debate, like "I'm spiritual but not religious" or "I'm not religious but I like Buddhist philosophy and live my life in accordance to my reading of Buddhist spirituality" - celebrities say these kinds of vague things all the time, and the easiest NPOV way to include that information is an exact quote in the article body, with no POV interpretation, and no SYNTHESIS of what their quote should be categorised as. If a politician says "I'm a Christian" then Christian is an appropriate term to put in their infobox as it's a word they explicitly used (No SYNTHESIS or POV issues) but if a politician says "[I'm] a great respecter of religious beliefs but they're not my beliefs" then any single word summing up the person's position is SYNTHESIS. -- Aronzak (talk) 04:14, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't think it's "excessively pedantic", since these are important for classification. Moreover, atheism does not satisfy any of the criteria for qualification as a religion. Atheism is a theological position regarding the existence of God or gods, whereas religion is an organized and complex system of theological, ethical, cultural, and behavioral prescriptions which is codified into governing principles and performed by its adherents. People can be religious atheists, or irreligious atheists. To treat atheism as identical to religion is absurd on a vast number of grounds. But yes, I agree that this should be a case-by-case matter. Nevertheless, some clear guidelines would help ensure consistency among all articles. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 00:24, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
"some clear guidelines would help ensure consistency among all articles" Yes - and I think for clarity the default position should be not to include it in the infobox if there is any suggestion that it's vague or controversial (especially a SYNTHESIS of vague remarks). -- Aronzak (talk) 04:14, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
I don’t think it would be considered original research to list “Religion: None” for a self-proclaimed atheist or agnostic. Religions and irreligion are kinda mutually exclusive; you can’t believe something that you don’t believe in. — (talk) 01:26, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
There are better and worse formulations. Why wouldn't we simply say that they are an atheist or an agnostic if that is what is supported by sources? Bus stop (talk) 01:45, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
The exact same source support can be claimed for “no religion.” I agree that “Atheist” belongs in infoboxes just as much as “Christian” or “Buddhist,” but not listed as a religion. — (talk) 02:07, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
You say you oppose the listing of "Atheist" in a field labeled "Religion". What field name do you feel would be appropriate for the listing of "Atheism"? Bus stop (talk) 02:29, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
I can't think of any reason to list atheism in the infobox no matter what field you choose. I don't know where this idea that one should try to cram all sorts of subtle distinctions in an infobox came from, but our guidelines say that only noncontraversial and nonambigious data should be listed there. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:59, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
I’ve also said I opposed the listing of religion. So… none, preferably. — (talk) 04:06, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
Why do you oppose the listing of religion? I am just wondering on what basis you reach such a conclusion. Bus stop (talk) 11:20, 26 April 2015 (UTC) is on record as supporting "Religion: None (atheist)" or "Religion: None (agnostic)".[43]
Note that the "Only if the subject says so" comment makes no difference in'a !vote, because the top of the RfC already says "This RfC does not address the existing strong consensus that a person's religion is only to be mentioned in the infobox if it is self-identified, relevant (per the template guideline), supported by reliable sources, and covered in the body of the article. If you disagree, please post a new RfC instead of hijacking this one". --Guy Macon (talk) 19:45, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
So the existing self-identification requirement already extends to the type of irreligion? That’s good to know. @Bus stop, see my reply to the closed subproposal from earlier in this discussion. — (talk) 22:06, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
I agree that religion and irreligion are mutually exclusive, but atheism is not always a category of irreligion. Atheism is a theological position and belief which can be possessed by religious and irreligious people alike. For example, Buddhists are notable for being an atheistic religion. Similarly, theism is not always a religious position either. Philosophical theists, for instance, are theists despite being irreligious. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 00:24, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Bus stop, I'm not sure I understand your point. I'm not arguing for the inclusion of "unsourced information". In fact, I've argued above that we should include a parenthetical specification "if and only if" a source is available to verify it (among other criteria). There are instances wherein someone is specified as having no religion, however, or specifying their irreligious affiliation. It's rare, I admit, but it nevertheless occurs. This should therefore be taken into consideration when determining what to specify in the "Religion" infobox parameter. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 00:24, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

@Bus stop re [44] (posted in the wrong RFC, in my estimation): Support that an individual is an atheist is equivalent to support that an individual “has no religion.” One cannot be both religious and atheist. One cannot simultaneously believe and not believe. If reliable sources claim a person is atheist, it is imprecise but not inaccurate for us to say that he holds no religion—just like if a source said something was an azure color and we called it blue. — (talk) 22:37, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

Hi—if reliable sources support that someone is an atheist then Wikipedia should pass that information along to the reader. Wikipedia should not be interpreting that information and passing something else along to the reader even though you feel it is "equivalent" information. "Sources should directly support the information as it is presented in the Wikipedia article." Bus stop (talk) 23:36, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
you said before "The reader is merely scanning an Infobox for information related to religion" - No, the reader is scanning an infobox for general information about the person, if they want to know whether there is discussion of their political and/or religious beliefs they can click "personal life." Information that can't be summed up in less than a sentence cannot be summed up in a single word/label without SYNTHESIS issues (EG Ed Miliband having Jewish parents) - and this will be a source of needless dispute and contention. The infobox does not need to sum up every fact in an article - and some issues that are possibly ambiguous and controversial do not belong there. -- Aronzak (talk) 15:15, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
I was only speaking about the "religion" field. I'm sorry if I was not clear. Obviously they are scanning the Infobox for other information besides information related to religion. You say "Information that can't be summed up in less than a sentence cannot be summed up in a single word". I agree with you 100%. We should be leaving the "Religion" field blank in many cases. I also agree with your sentiment expressed as: "some issues that are possibly ambiguous and controversial do not belong there". As I have expressed elsewhere in this thread, I am in favor of omitting the "Religion" parameter whenever we can't give good quality information, which means not only well-sourced information, but information that is relatively free of ambiguity. Bus stop (talk) 15:49, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I'd go further to say it should be left out in most cases - and should just be left out if there's any POV or OR dispute.-- Aronzak (talk) 06:48, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
You linked a diff of the comment you’re directly replying to? Um, okay. Anyway, a source describing X as an atheist directly supports the claim that X is not a member of any religion. See also WP:BLUE. — (talk) 01:08, 27 April 2015 (UTC), no, there can very well be godless religions – for example Buddhism, in it's original form, is commonly considered to be one (even though the Buddha seems a bit god-ish to me, they don't have a creator deity). And one can indeed simultaneously believe in one thing and not in another. -- (talk) 01:23, 27 April 2015 (UTC)—All quotations, and any material whose verifiability has been challenged or is likely to be challenged, must include an inline citation that directly supports the material. That is fundamental policy. If someone renounces a religion it could be said that they have no religion, but still that renunciation can be stated in several informative words in order to convey to the reader in concrete terms what has transpired, and I think all this can fit in a field in an Infobox, but if there is no room, just omit the "Religion" parameter from the Infobox and express it in the body of the article. Bus stop (talk) 02:02, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
"that renunciation can be stated in several informative words" Not without issues of POV and OR (particularly SYNTHESIS - where the person's comments cannot be adequately summarised with words they haven't used to describe themselves). See Julia Gillard - Australian Prime Minister raised Baptist who said she's not religious but respects religious people and beliefs, then in 2013 said she's an atheist. Consensus on the page is for that to not be included in the infobox - see Wikipedia:Lamest edit wars#Religion. The page has a comment that explicitly states "NOTE ON RELIGIOUS STATUS: Please note that WP:CONSENSUS has been formed on the talk page that this article does not warrant a religious component to the infobox. In this respect, do not alter this field unless new WP:CONSENSUS has been formed on this article's talk page" I would prefer the default position be that nothing be added if there's any possibility of POV or OR disputes over the language, and the presumption be towards not including it to avoid edit wars. -- Aronzak (talk) 06:48, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
Good point… a Buddhist could well be atheist. I withdraw my argument. — (talk) 03:10, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break 007[edit]

I keep seeing a bunch of claims that for some reason covering something in the body of an article is somehow not good enough, and that it must also be in the infobox -- and some folks are ready to fight to the death to keep things in. WHY? Why, exactly. does it have to be duplicated in the infobox? Sure, there are certain things that are convenient to list in at infobox -- year of birth/death, political party for elected officials, that sort of thing -- but even those could be left out (or the entire infobox removed) and the only result would be a slight inconvenience to the user having to look in the article text. The RfC is coming down pretty overwhelmingly in favor of omitting the religion parameters for those who don't belong to specific religions, yet I predict a shitstorm when I actually start removing "None" entries. Why? What the hell is wrong with simply describing a person's lack of religion (if sourced and relevant) in the article? --Guy Macon (talk) 05:56, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Nothing at all. I voted for "none" but would also be OK with just omitting the field. I do think the infobox is important, but, as has been said, only for "easy" stuff. Omnedon (talk) 06:02, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
I feel the above...discussion...more than amply demonstrates that the field is a controversial one. Even if we reach a consensus here, we'll be in a position of constantly patrolling for edits by new users who either aren't familiar with, haven't bothered with, or simply don't care about, the consensus regarding the use of the field. At this point I feel the field is causing us larger headaches than any possible value that can be derived from it.
On an aside, I really am getting close to asking why Religion would be an acceptable parameter but Sexual Orientation would not be, as I feel many of the arguments that could be applied to one could be equally applied to the other. DonIago (talk) 14:52, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
I feel “Sexual orientation” is more suitable to this template than “Religion.” A person’s religion can change many times throughout his life, but sexual orientation is generally more stable. But though both may be considered a core part of someone’s identity, neither really seems like it needs to be called out in an infobox. — (talk) 02:42, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
With "sexual orientation" you are likely to have POV and OR disputes over people who have said one thing and then said another thing. There are Men who have sex with Men (MSM) who don't publicly identify as bisexual. There are people who are openly gay but previously called themselves bisexual but later say bisexuality was a "phase" - and women who had sex with women in college but later say it was a "phase" etc... BLP articles will have a lot of people who make vague/ambiguous/inconsistent statements that will be a source of endless grief - better to just quote them at their word as to exactly what they said and not interpolate then battle over the interpolation. -- Aronzak (talk) 07:15, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
Kind of like the "religion" field, then? :p DonIago (talk) 13:07, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
My thoughts exactly. — (talk) 17:02, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
"Why, exactly. does it have to be duplicated in the infobox? " hit the nail on the head. Most tiresome edit disputes over the infobox are over SYNTHESIS issues, where different sources say different things in a nuanced fashion, and editors war over the "correct" summary of ambiguous and controversial content. This is Wikipedia:Lamest edit wars over and over again as BLP pages for people who say they don't believe in god will have weeks of edit warring over WP:POV, WP:OR (and WP:SYNTH). -- Aronzak (talk) 15:23, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
My reasoning is that when a reader visits Wikipedia, they typically do so for very specific information. The infobox is a place where concise, specific information is provided for quick reference. It would be both a service to the readers, and (in my opinion) an appropriate use of the infobox, to specify the religion of the individual when it is known. If this information is provided in the article as well, that's great! Any reader interested in learning more about the spiritual affiliations or views of the individual could check within the article, where the information is (hopefully) more detailed and elaborate. In my opinion, the infobox serves the same purpose as the lead: it is to summarize all relevant or noteworthy information in the article in a succinct format for quick and efficient reference. To me, omitting certain parameters out of fear of redundancy is as absurd as omitting the lead out of fear of repetition. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 00:58, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Advice sought regarding implementation
Keeping in mind that the RfC I posted only covers BLPs I will be stating from a larger list and am considering treating certain non-BLP articles the same way, knowing that I might have to post another RfC if I get the kind of pushback I got with politicians. I just finished looking over every single argument in the RfC again before asking about this, so here are my preliminary thoughts. I will sign each category to make it easy to reply. --Guy Macon (talk) 04:34, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Examples: Christopher Hitchens, Che Guevara, Aaron Swartz, Carl Marx, Abu Isa al-Warraq, Madalyn Murray O'Hair
I see no good reason for listing the religion in these cases, but I expect a fight from the same editors who have been battling to keep atheism in the infobox of BLPs like George Will. Does anyone have a good reason for treating them differently? --Guy Macon (talk) 04:34, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

No reason to treat these differently; parameter should be omitted as for BLPs pablo 12:17, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
I think the religious or irreligious affiliations of the individual should be specified if it is known. Otherwise, it should be omitted due to lack of verification and specificity. I believe this is how any article regarding real individuals should be treated. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 00:58, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Fictional characters:
Examples: Dogbert, Gregory House, Cordelia Gray, Malcolm Reynolds, Sheldon Cooper
In addition to the basic question of whether to treat these the same as BLPs, these pages also tend to have no real evidence that the lack of religion is notable. (The same goes for fictional characters with listed religions, but that is a battle for another day.) --Guy Macon (talk) 04:34, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

I don't see the logic behind including the parameter here either pablo 12:17, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
Fictional characters are a tricky one. Unless the religious (or irreligious) affiliations of the character is an important attribute or recurring theme of said character, I don't see why it should be specified. Especially in the cases wherein the fictional character is portrayed by a real actor, specifying the religious or irreligious affiliations of that character may lead to confusion. Articles regarding fictional characters operate differently from those about real individuals, however, so I don't see why rules and guidelines for one type of article should necessarily apply to the other. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 00:58, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Examples: Lorenzo the cat
In my opinion, this is just silly, and I would really like to see the evidence for "self-identified". --Guy Macon (talk) 04:34, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Unable to declare their stance on religion so omit the parameter pablo 12:17, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
Unless the religious or irreligious affiliations of the nonhuman is relevant to their character or identity, I don't see why it should be specified. How would one even verify this? This is assuming the nonhuman is even cognizant and capable of forming spiritual beliefs. If not, then the entire issue is absurd. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 00:58, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Examples: Soviet Union, Israel, Taiwan under Japanese rule
Can a country have a religion? It can have an official religion, but what if the country is officially atheist? This is another one the political junkies are likely to fight over. --Guy Macon (talk) 04:34, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Perhaps this is a case where the issue is best addressed at the template level by replacing "Religion" with "State religion" or "official religion" in the template itself? --Guy Macon (talk) 13:19, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
I agree with this. Countries cannot have spiritual beliefs, but they can officially endorse a particular religion or irreligion. Similarly, they can be recognized as affiliating with a certain spiritual belief, or have a their majority demographic which adheres to a particular spiritual belief. To have the parameter be titled as simply "Religion" is misleading, though. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 00:58, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Examples: Fox Primary School, The Red Maids' School, Rochester Independent College, Handsworth Grammar School
For some reason these tend to be in the UK. Is there a cultural issue I am missing? --Guy Macon (talk) 04:34, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

There are so-called "faith" schools where children can get a grounding in the faith of their parents (and hopefully an education too). But the descriptions "Catholic school" or "Church of England school" (other religions are available) do not imply that the school itself has a faith, just that that faith is taught there. So I would suggest a different parameter is required in these cases. pablo 12:21, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
There are, of course Catholic schools and other kinds of Christian schools in the US, but I am inclined to remove any that say "Religion: None" for schools in either country because it sort of implies that religious schools are the default while non-religious schools are an exception worth noting. --Guy Macon (talk) 13:19, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
Concurring with Pablo X, I don't think the religious affiliations of the school as a teaching establishment is synonymous with the school and all constituents therein possessing a singular religious identity. Catholic schools and other religious schools teach a particular faith, but that doesn't necessarily imply that they adhere to said faith. To specify a "Religion" parameter in these instances would be misleading and potentially inaccurate. If any parameter is used here, it should be something along the lines of "Religious affiliation", which—in this context—does not necessarily imply religious belief or identity. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 00:58, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Comment. I think we have policy language that precludes the use of the word "None" in the absence of proper sourcing. For instance: "Sources should directly support the information as it is presented in the Wikipedia article."[45] Also: "All quotations, and any material whose verifiability has been challenged or is likely to be challenged, must include an inline citation that directly supports the material."[46] Concerning the Infobox formulation "Religion: None", the term "None" requires proper sourcing. If the term "None" cannot be adequately sourced, the "Religion" parameter should be omitted from the Infobox. Bus stop (talk) 11:31, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

As has been explained to you the last few times you expressed the above opinion, [A} It is a moot point in the case of the religion = parameter, as there is (unless a bunch more people decide to participate in the RfC) an overwhelming consensus to remove the "None", and [B] hardly anyone agrees with your opinion that a reference that supports "Atheist" somehow fails to support "No Religion". Everyone is aware of your views on this matter, so you can stop posting them again and again. Or post an RfC and see if there is a consensus for your view. --Guy Macon (talk) 13:05, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
Hi Guy Macon—thanks for your response but I don't think I agree with you. It is my understanding that we should be avoiding ambiguity. Let me give you an example. You mention Aaron Swartz above. Here we have a source saying that "Permeating everything he did was the notion of fixing the world, tikkun olam in Hebrew, a central tenant [sic] of Judaism" yet we have an Infobox notation reading "Religion: None". There is enough ambiguity that we should be eliminating the "Religion" field in this case. In such an instance we should be omitting that parameter from the Infobox because it is not clear that Aaron Swartz had "no religion". We are describing an attribute that is ambiguous in the sources. This attribute does not lend itself to representation in the limited space of an Infobox. The article goes on to say "It was part of the very 'fabric' of their observant home growing up, his father said. And although the young technologist and activist grew up to call himself an atheist, the values he grew up with appeared foundational."[47] The Infobox characterization of "Religion: None" is at odds with what the source is saying. Sources should directly support the information as it is presented in the Wikipedia article. When interpretation is needed to reach the sort of conclusion that can be summed up in an Introbox field we should be opting for removing the parameter rather than guessing and possibly misleading the reader. Religion and sexual orientation are areas of identity where we should be using prose in the body of the article in many instances. (I'm aware that sexual orientation is not a part of the template but I am commenting on sexual orientation because in some ways it is parallel to religion. These are not hard facts such as date of birth.) These should never be considered hard facts in the absence of very good sourcing. As soon as we see ambiguity in sources, as we do in the case of Aaron Swartz, we should eliminate the "Religion" parameter from the Infobox and instead use prose in the body of the article. Prose lends itself to a more nuanced depiction. Prose even lends itself to the presentation of contradictory information. With prose we can choose our words carefully in an attempt to properly convey to the reader what the sources say. Bus stop (talk) 17:08, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
A parameter of N/A (not applicable) would probably be preferable to None here. But like Guy said, the consensus is to not include it when it doesn’t apply. And if the subject isn’t explicitly identified with a religion (or if he used to be identified with a religion but no longer is), it doesn’t apply. — (talk) 03:09, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break 008[edit]

I've come to this particular version of the discussion late, but I'd just like to give some thoughts based on a reading of the discussion so far:

  1. There seems to be some confusion over what the options mean. In particular, I don't think it was Guy's intention that option 2 would be limited to "atheist" or "agnostic". Those were two examples given, but the explanatory sub text says ""Religion = None (atheist)", "Religion = None (agnostic)", etc. So in other words this option does not make atheist or agnostic into a special case. They are the most obvious ones, but there could be other types of non-religion.
  2. A lot of the entries in "Omit parameter" say things like: "omit unless it is clearly and unambiguously applicable to the subject of the biography". I count in the region of 12 who follow that argument. I thought Guy had clearly stated that non-religion should only go in if clearly relevant and well sourced, so I don't think these !votes are very helpful. I personally agree that the type of a person's non-religion should be omitted entirely unless it is unambiguous, well referenced and important to them as a person. However there are a significant number of people where that is the case. Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins are frequently mentioned. What I find strange is that you can be as specific as you like about the particular branch of Christianity someone follows; for example, Ian Paisley is listed as Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. But apparently there is nothing interesting that can be said in the infobox about the specific type of non-religion that someone has, no matter how important to their lives and well documented it is.
  3. There is currently a significant majority for omitting the field entirely, although it is unclear whether it could be described as consensus, especially if you take out the dozen or so discussed above. After taking out 12 !votes there would currently be 44 !votes for omit, 22 !votes for the None (atheist) compromise, and 14 !votes for Religion: None. Clearly that is a strong majority for "omit", but with a large minority who disagree. I would personally tend to describe that as "no consensus", although clearly there might be a large swing one way or the other before the RFC closes. Unless global consensus is very clear I don't think we should be imposing a blanket style on every single article. If articles have found a form of words which suits them, I don't understand why it's necessary or helpful to override that where the global consensus is (at best) heavily disputed.
  4. I was a little surprised that the option of a new field has not been discussed. People do not like "Beliefs" because it is too vague. They particularly don't like replacing Religion with "Beliefs". However that does not exclude creating a new field with a specific enough name. For example, the field "Denomination" can be used to specify someone's religion more precisely. Why could there not be a new field to specify someone's non-religion more precisely? The main problem would seem to be creating a usable field name. "Non religious spiritual views" is not exactly snappy. Does anyone else have any suggestions? Or views on whether this is a workable option? --Merlinme (talk) 21:37, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Point #4 is a bad idea. Read Wikipedia:Lamest edit wars. Infoboxes are only for unambiguous information - Subcategorising this to even more vague and contestable issues is an incredibly bad idea. Public figures frequently attend more than one denomination of place of worship in their lives - this would nearly universally cause edit wars and add little/nothing to the minority of articles where there's a consensus for inclusion. -- Aronzak (talk) 02:21, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Regarding Point #4, perhaps there could be an added parameter which specifies religious or irreligious "Type"? It could be a subordinate parameter to "Religion" which could serve as both a specification of the type of religious affiliation of the individual (such as denomination, branch, sect, or movement), and for the type of irreligious affiliation of the individual (such as (a)theist, (a)gnostic, etc.). My concern with "Denomination" is that there aren't really irreligious denominations. The closest term I could find which is vague enough to permit flexibility but specific enough that it pertains to spiritual matters is a subordinate parameter called "type". It may not be the best suggestion, and I'd personally prefer the suggestion I proposed above, but at least it's better than silence. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 00:38, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Spouse parameter and surnames[edit]

A user on Talk:Bruce Jenner pointed out that some pages using {{Infobox person}} or similar templates have the spouse's name before marriage despite article titles being the married name. This does not seem to occur on all pages, but it occurs often (e.g., Barack Obama, Stephen Hawking).

I can find no discussion on this in the archives here or on WP:BIOG. There is no such guidelines for this format on this or any other related infobox. If anyone knows of past discussion where this pattern was decided by consensus, can you please point it to me? If so, the infobox template pages should be updated to reflect this. Or is this an informal rule of some manner?

If there has not been discussion on this yet, I would like to begin some here. Personally I don't see much reason to use the pre-marriage name of the spouse if the common name and/or article title is the post-marriage name. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 05:56, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Would appreciate any feedback before I begin changing them to the article titles. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 03:15, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't know about anyone else, but after Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive883#Possible canvassing and User talk:Philg88#ANI Closure I am reluctant to give you feedback on something like this. I predict that if you start making mass changes either way you are going to encounter a lot of resistance from people who object to such changes being made without them been notified of this discussion on the pages affected. You might want to try it on the Barack Obama page first and see how that works out for you. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:20, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
@Guy Macon: I was told I was wrong and trouted for it. I personally think it was excessive, but others disagree so I let it go. But to reply about the other page, I did make a post on the most relevant page I could think of: Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Biography#Spouse_parameter_and_surnames. I suspect I will change a few, people will engage in discussion, and perhaps an RfC on the issue if this has indeed not been discussed in the past. Perhaps I should put a few messages on a the article talk pages of the ones I linked above to spur discussion? EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 01:36, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
Per Guy Macon's suggestion, I made an edit on Barack Obama. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 18:30, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
Hi EvergreenFir, I am generally of the opinion that we should use the WP:COMMONNAME for the spouse field in the Infobox; this would be equivalent to the Article title for that spouse, where we have an article on them. I see no great benefit in using the pre-marriage name where it is not the common name; as this may not be recognisable to the reader, and is available on the first line of the lede of the linked article in any case. I do, however, share Guy Macon's concerns that there is likely to be some resistance either way; but that doesn't mean we shouldn't start. Hope this helps in some small way. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 22:33, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
  • No objections on Barack Obama. Going to boldly change a few more and specify in the template that it should be the COMMONNAME/article name used and not the pre-marriage name. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 16:33, 7 May 2015 (UTC)


Infobox person
Personal details
Born Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz
Spouse(s) Mirta Diaz-Balart (1948–55)
Dalia Soto del Valle (1980–present)
Religion None

At right is a clip from the userbox for Fidel Castro. He was baptised into the Roman Catholic church as a child and received much of his formative education at Jesuit Roman Catholic schools. We have him pigeonholed under Religion = None. What is the rationale for not including his former religion, but including a former wife? Moriori (talk) 21:51, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

I agree. The reader is here for information. Though this is an Infobox and space is limited we do not have to reduce all information on religion to one word. Bus stop (talk) 22:05, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't think anyone has ever objected to "Formerly X" after the None as long as it is sourced. Moriori should change it to "Religion = None (formerly Roman Catholic)" See below --Guy Macon (talk) 23:43, 26 April 2015‎
There is little need for truncated and cryptic messages even within the limitations of an Infobox. The reader is here for information. From where would you be deriving that Fidel Castro has no religion? Is a source asserting exactly that? I am not knowledgeable on the topic of Fidel Castro but I read in the article a more ambiguous relation between Castro and religion: Fidel Castro's religious beliefs have been a matter of some debate; he was baptized and raised a Roman Catholic but has commented that he is an atheist. He criticized use of the Bible to justify the oppression of women and Africans,[357] but commented that Christianity exhibited "a group of very humane precepts" which gave the world "ethical values" and a "sense of social justice", relating that "If people call me Christian, not from the standpoint of religion but from the standpoint of social vision, I declare that I am a Christian."[358] He has espoused the idea that Jesus Christ was a communist, citing the feeding of the 5000 and the story of Jesus and the rich young man as evidence.[359] That word "None" is doing the encyclopedia a disservice. That word "None" is too stingy with information. We can do better than that. We are here to serve the reader. Bus stop (talk) 23:59, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
How do you reconcile this opinion with the overwhelming consensus in the RfC above for leaving the religion parameter blank if the subject doesn't identify with a specific religion? --Guy Macon (talk) 00:39, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
This is exactly why such complexity does NOT belong in an infobox. Put it in the text instead of ascribing a one- or two-word answer to such a complex question. Let us rid ourselves of controversial, complex attributes in the infobox, and stick to simple subjects like birth date, spouse and children. Objective3000 (talk) 01:01, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Hear, hear. Religious beliefs are too fluid to be appropriately encapsulated in an infobox entry. — (talk) 01:15, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
I voted Omit above, and initiated this section as an example of why "this is exactly why such complexity does NOT belong in an infobox." Thank you for the phrase @Objective3000:. Moriori (talk) 01:29, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Excellent points. What I have never seen through all of this debate is anyone explaining exactly why we need to try to put such complex information into infoboxes. The closest I have seen are vague claims that users are so dimwitted that they will only read the infobox but not the article. That is the thinking of an advertising/PR agency (or a POV pusher -- they think much the same), not the thinking of an encyclopedia author. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:33, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
@Guy Macon: Please provide evidence to support your allegation of "vague claims that users are so dimwitted that they will only read the infobox but not the article", or strike it. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 21:49, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
Dimwitted may not be the correct word. Lazy or careless may work better. But, one editor said that religion should be specified in the infobox for voters. If voters would make a decision based upon an infobox, perhaps dimwitted fits. Or, an even worse descriptor.
Don’t get me wrong. I think there is a point to infoboxes. I think that an enormous number of people use them just to find out someone’s exact age, spouse, or other triviality; at times to settle an argument. All of which can be answered in a few characters. But, if someone thinks that religion is so simplistic, I feel they shouldn’t be editing an encyclopedia. Just my humble opinion. Objective3000 (talk) 00:45, 29 April 2015 (UTC)


Template:Infobox person#Parameters clearly states that the name= parameter is the "common name of person (defaults to article name if left blank)" - so when the common name and article name is firstname lastname, that is what should be shown in that parameter and the full name should be displayed in the separate birth_name=. This is also how it's used in practice, including on FA/GAs e.g. Bill Clinton - please can somebody confirm this to @FunkyCanute: who continues to edit disruptively contrary to this and is now throwing about unfounded accusations of "trolling". GiantSnowman 09:06, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

Bill Clinton's birth name was William Jefferson Blythe III; Harriette Emily Colenso's birth name, Harriette Emily Colenso. The birth name parameter is for when the birth name is different to the common name. In the former (Bill Clinton), it clearly is different; in the latter, obviously not. Given that I researched and created the article, and took it to DYK, it seems hardly appropriate to accuse me of disruptive editing. Any constructive additions you'd like to make to the article - there is much to add to it - would be highly appreciated. Many thanks, FunkyCanute (talk) 09:45, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
Again, if the common name of this person is 'Harriette Emily Colenso' then that is where the article should be located. The name= parameter should reflect the article title, not the subject's full/birth name. And yes you are disruptively editing when you a) revert without explanation; b) don't participate in talk page discussions; and c) accuse other editors of trolling. GiantSnowman 12:28, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
1. WP:MOS on article titles is firstname lastname. 2. infobox name= "defaults to" article name. However, the full name might be other than the article title. 3. birth_name is to be used when the name is different to the birth name. 4. Unlike Bill Clinton, the birth name is not different. 5. Harriette Emily Colenso is called Harriette Emily Colenso and there is no need to add extra lines. There is already an additional line for her nickname.
With regards to your accusation, 1. I did explain both on your talk page (some time ago) and in the edit reversion. 2. Your editing seemed to me to be trolling. Perhaps it wasn't, in which case, I retract it.
I would very much appreciate it if we could move on from this. Please? Thank you, FunkyCanute (talk) 13:50, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
Regarding article titles, read WP:AT - where does it say say article titles must be 'firstname lastname'? Clearly not the case as shown in practice by articles located at John F. Kennedy and William Henry Harrison etc. Again looking at Template:Infobox person#Parameters, birth_name= is the "Name at birth; only use if different from name" which applies here, given one is 'Harriette Colenso' and the other is 'Harriette Emily Colenso' - those, while variations of the same names, are still different. I'm happy to 'move on' from this when you a) stop your edit warring and/or b) admit you are wrong, stick to the actual usage of the infobox, and restore my edits. GiantSnowman 17:30, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
Harriette Emily Colenso is the full version of Harriette Colenso. It is not a different name. See WP:NCP#Standard format and variations, regarding biographical article titles, which clearly states: The "<First Name> <Last Name>" format applies to the majority of biographical articles on Wikipedia.
Please go and fight with someone else and let me spend time developing the article, which is about a fascinating woman: or perhaps spend some time researching her and expanding the article. Thanks, FunkyCanute (talk) 08:44, 20 May 2015 (UTC)