User talk:Gavin.collins

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your message re list inclusion

I have responded to the message you left on my talk page. We can continue the conversation there if you wish. Blueboar (talk) 13:24, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

I will bring it here, and that way I can read it later. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 13:48, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

List inclusion

I am suprised that you believe it to be OK to concoct lists simply because they are loosely assoicated or categorised with a notable topic in flagrant contradiction with WP:NOTINHERITED. You are an experienced editor, and should know that articles are written based on coverage that addresses a topic directly and in detail, not split again into lists with more minutiae of detail, with each split normally lowering the level of notability. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:57, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

Where in the world did you get the idea that I "believe it is OK to concoct lists simply because they are loosely associated or categorized with a notable topic in flagrant contradiction with WP:NOTINHERITED"? I certainly do not believe that. I totally agree with you that lists need to be based on coverage that addresses the topic directly and in detail. However... I do believe is that it is possible to split overly long list articles into two or more sub-articles with the exact same topic. If you have an overly long list, I think it is absolutely OK to break that list into two sub-articles that are organized in logical and standard ways... say alphabetically... one sub-article listing the people who's names start with A-M, and another for N-Z.
Or to put this in terms of an actual topic that is currently considered notable ... NRHP buildings. A List of NRHP buildings would be overly long. In this case of buildings, it is logical and standard to organize the topic by location. So it is OK to split the list into sub-lists, each covering those buildings in a given State. We have not changed the topic of the sub-lists by doing this. I would agree that best practice would be to re-establish notability on all the resulting sub-pages... which, with a little editing, can be done by cutting and pasting the lede from the original overly long list into each of the split sub-lists... however I understand the argument that as long as notability is established at the main article, we are not required to do so on the sub-pages.
That said, we also need to recognize that lists can be split up inappropriately... in ways that do result in a change of topic. List of Masonic NRHP buildings would not be an appropriate way to subdivide List of NRHP buildings, as it adds a new, non-standard element that changes the topic away from being about just NRHP buildings. Adding the word "Masonic" adds a non-standard twist to the things that results in a new topic. So... to keep such an article, we would need to establish that there were sources that discuss (directly and in detail) the topic of an NRHP building that is Masonic.
Hope all this clarifies my take on all this. Blueboar (talk) 13:22, 16 September 2010 (UTC)
I can't say I have much experience of compiling large lists, but in theory there is no need to split them, but if they are, I question why:
  1. If there is a good reason to include the entire "List of NRHP buildings", I would suggest to you that it is because (a) it has been published by a reliable source, and (b) because it is a notable list refered to by commentators who are interested in it. I suspect the reason why it has not been transcribed into Wikipedia is it would be a copyright violation.
  2. I put it to you that the creation of sub-lists based on the NRHP masterlist is highly questionable. The masterlist may well be notable, but it would be difficult to establish whether segments of it were notable in their own right.
  3. Going back to my original point, I fail to see how splitting notable lists into sub-lists with more minutiae of detail, with each split normally lowering the level of notability is of any benefit. A good analogy would be to cut a map into smaller and smaller pieces, until the useful purpose of the original is entirely lost.
  4. Adding the label "Masonic" to the sub-list is just a fig leaf used to hide the the fact that it is synthesis. You might argue that assembling components from various sources is not synthesis, but I would argue that unless the source is a published list, then there is no evidence that the sources should be assembled in the form of a list.
An analogy would be assembling a car out scrap parts and labeling it as a "new design", rather than building it out of new parts designed for the purpose. The problem with your apporach is that is difficult to prove that if a list is not original research, or that it has not been plagiarised. And I would have thought you would consider that to be an important issue. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 14:33, 16 September 2010 (UTC)
"in theory there is no need to split them"... perhaps, but in practice there is. Take a look at the lists that have been compiled by the NRHP project. There are thousands of buildings that are NRHP designated. If they tried to list of all of the buildings that are NRHP designated in one list, it would be gigantic. It makes perfect sense to split the information up into sub-lists organized at the State (or even county) level. The topic (buildings with NRHP designation) is exactly the same for all of the sub-lists. The fact that one sub-list covers the topic for Ohio, while another covers the topic for Idaho does not change the topic... or its notability. Blueboar (talk) 15:00, 16 September 2010 (UTC)
Maybe the inclusion of the NRHP list is a mistake, even in part. I can't see the evidence that a segment of the NRHP list is notable, but I can understand why a segment, for say Ohio, would fail WP:NOT#DIR. Rather than create lists that conflict with content policy, it would be better to use the NRHP as a basis for a much more useful category. Going back to my map analogy, I fail to see how spliting list into sub-lists with more minutiae of detail, with each split normally lowering the level of notability is useful, unless you think that using Wikipedia as a mirror site of the the NRHP is useful. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:15, 16 September 2010 (UTC)


Hey, Gavin. I was thinking about ambiguity, and your relationship to it. It seems as if you are strongly motivated to eliminate ambiguity, possibly believing, as many do, that this is an unqualified good in itself. This led me to think of how the great rabbis, in arguing Talmud, would go to heroic lengths to preserve an ambiguity. A reason for this is that an ambiguity left space for judgment, for people of good will to decide for themselves whether a thing which may be good or bad to do, depending on circumstances, should be done this time. I found this fascinating, when I first learned about it, because I'd never thought of ambiguity as other than something to be eliminated. I don't know whether it's a new perspective to you, but perhaps you'll find it interesting. —chaos5023 (talk) 18:34, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

I have no problem with ambiguity. It is a scientific fact, after all. I have a problem with people claiming a topic in the absence of evidence, but that is not related ambiguity. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:44, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Going beyond just one article

Bewleys Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin used to be a Masonic school. You can just about make out the Masonic motif in the top left pediment.

Gavin, You may be able to make your point at the List inclusion RfC clearer if you broaden the example beyond just List of Masonic buildings... and including the other "buildings associated with fraternal organization X" (see: List of Elks buildings, List of Knights of Columbus buildings, List of Knights of Pythias buildings and List of Odd Fellows buildings). If you can point to the same problem(s) existing in a range of articles, it may be easier for others to identify what the problem is. The discussion stops being about one article, and can be shifted to a generalized discussion about "List of Ys connected to X", with multiple examples. Blueboar (talk) 14:50, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

I have taken this example from you. It is a good example of a topic that is neither verifiable, nor notable, because a Masonic building is almost a meaningless term: it can include a lodge, a temple, a hospital, a school or...even a hotel. It illustrates perfectly why the idea that "List of X" is notable because X is notable does not work for this list. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:44, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I don't think it is a good example of that. In the case of "Masonic buildings", (and these other lists of "buildings associated with fraternal order Y") we don't actually have a "List of X" is notable because X is notable situation... because we have not established that X is notable in the first place. We don't actually have a notable parent topic... there are no existing parent articles on "Masonic buildings" or "Elks buildings" or "Knights of Columbus buildings".
Furthermore, without such parent articles, we are not really talking about a simple "List of X" situation. The topics of these "buildings associated with fraternal order X" lists rest on combining two topics: "Notable buildings" and "Fraternal order X". Thus they take the more complex "List of Y associated with X" form, and not the simpler "List of X" form. Blueboar (talk) 19:05, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Looking at List of Elks buildings, I can see that this list is more likely to have been published, because if I understand correctly, they are owned by one organisation (Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks) and hence such a list is likely to have been published, if only in self-published form, so my guess is that it is probably not a madeup list. That puts it in a slightly different category from "Masonic builings", which in the absence of a published defintion, is probably best described as a high-school essay topic. In the absence of any notability, the "List of Elks buildings" probably fails WP:NOT#DIR in the same way a "List of Walmart stores" would fail it too. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:03, 20 September 2010 (UTC)


PLEASE email me. And yes I am shouting. --Mike Cline (talk) 13:26, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

If you have anything to say, say it here. Many thanks. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 14:05, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

New articles in TF Accounting

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Hello, Gavin.collins. You have new messages at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Business/Accountancy_task_force#I.27ll_start_four_FASBs.
You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

--Sulmues (talk) 15:11, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

Still trying to understand your POV on lists

Gavin... take a look at User:Blueboar/drafts - Foobaria... for the sake of discussion assume that the sources are all reliable, and that Foobaria was a real kingdom. Would this article be acceptable under your view of notability, OR etc.?

It is not clear what the topic is, so I have changed it[1] to make it clear that it is not disimilar to Monarchy of the United Kingdom rather than List of British monarchs. Although it is made up of disparate sources, it is not OR. Each king is clearly a separate subtopic, and not a member of a list. The article looks list like, but that is just formatting, for the article topic is not about a list per se. This could be a perfectly reliable and notable topic for inclusion in Wikipedia as a standalone article. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:41, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
OK... so basically, with a few tweeks, you think the article would be fine. Now... suppose it gets edited... so that it looks the way it does now (see the new version at the above drafts page). Same text that you approved... same references... only instead of each King being discussed in a separate section, it is in bullet point format. Is this version OK? Blueboar (talk) 23:48, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
The example you have created is trying to get around having to verify whether the kings are being presented as seperate sub-topics (as before) or as a single list topic. The key is the statement "There have been four Kings of Foobaria since the foundation of the Kingdom in 1900"[2]. If such a claim where to be made by a real world source, details of the four kings would normally follow - I can't imagine circumstances where they would not. I think you would agree it would be unlikely for a reliable source to say "There have been four Kings of Foobaria.." without actually naming them.
Once the source has declared there to be four kings, I would expect them to list them. From a Wikipedia persective, we could summarise the source as a list, or if the source is a list, copy it in full. This list or information set would then be cited as a single source in article, to demonstrate the infomation is complete and reliable. We would not dilute or bastardise such a list with other sources, as that would invalidate the integrity of the information set implicit in the source.
It sounds a little complex when deconstructed, but using one source for lists is really common sense. If one source says "There have been four Kings of Foobaria.." and names them, then it makes sense to stick with that source. If we were to "cut and shut" a second source onto the first source, and the second source only named three kings, then the reliability of both statemetns would be fatally compromised. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 08:55, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
Interesting... Are you saying that the unsourced sentence OK before, but now isn't? Or did it need to be sourced in the previous version, and you just noticed it?
In any case... Let's say that the "Encyclopedia Foobaria" (2010 edition, so we know it is current) explicitly states that "There have been four Kings of Foobaria since the Kingdom's founding." But, contrary to your expectation, it does not list who they are. Is this still a "cut and shut" situation? Blueboar (talk) 12:14, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I was not looking for evidence of a list int he first version, because the article treated the kings as seperate sub-topics. But in retrospect, it should have been sourced, as it is quite an important statement of fact.
It seems counter intuative to me that if a source went to the effort of counting the kings, but not nameing. In any case...assuming this to be the case, it is still starting to look like a cut and shut situation. If one source said there were 4 kings, and another source names 4 kings, you would not think there would be a problem (Fram's argument). But if the 4 kings named by the two different sources happen to be different, then you can see my point that a "cut and shut" list is just not reliable. Fram would argue that with 4 kings, that is unlikely, but for longer lists with inherent conflicts between sorurcs and defintion, this is not true.
The key assumption that the reader will make is that a list is a single information set that can be relied upon by default. For homemade lists such as List of Irish monarchs, there is actually a lot of POV disputes that renders them entirely unreliable. The only way to overcome POV disputes between editors about conflicting defintions and sources is to have one list source. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 12:52, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
But if the 4 kings named by the two different sources happen to be different... in this case, we don't have that situation. The fact that there were 4 Kings is verified. Their names and biographical details are verified, and no sources claims that any other person was King, other than the one's we talk about. Given this... is the revised article acceptable? Blueboar (talk) 14:49, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
The fact that there were 4 Kings is not verified unless it is shown to be the case by the source, so my point is valid. If the "Encyclopedia Foobaria" did not say which 4 kings it was refering to, then we have a "cut and shut" list, because there is a risk that the two sources may be different, and for longer lists going back into the mists of time, this is likely to be the case. For instance, it is disputed whether Egbert of Wessex was the first king of England.
If the "Encyclopedia Foobaria" did list the kings, then we could use that list, but if the first king of Foobaria is disuputed by some sources then making up our own list is not a good idea. It is the role of editors to cite the source of a published, not make them up as a proxy. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:11, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I could, somewhat, see your point when there actually is a disagreement among sources ... but in my example you are assuming a disagreement that does not exist. Assume that the facts as presented are completely uncontested.... that all reliable sources agree that there have been four (and only four) Kings, and that their names are as stated. Given this lack of dispute, is my article acceptable or not? Blueboar (talk) 15:42, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I understand what you are trying to do, but your approach is still synthesis - you are trying to make up a list in the absence of a published source. You are relying on a trite generalisation ("the facts as presented are completely uncontested") that does not apply in every case to justify your actions. You trying to construct a list ("List of kings of Foobar") when the sources don't support this directly. As a result, the list is not verifiable.
Let me illustrate this with another trite example (mea culpa). I am an accountant, whose sad life involves adding up lists of numbers. The mortal sin of our profession is to assume, even with smallest list of numbers, that the content of the list adds up to the total. To avoid the category mistake of assuming that all totals add up to the content of the list, we create control totals to verify that total is correct and that the list is complete. What your "List of kings of Foobar" lacks is a published source (the equivalkent of a control total) to verify that the four kings who have been named should be in this list. Your assertion that this list "allegedly" does not need a published source because "that all reliable sources agree" is just your opinion (not truth), which is not verfiable from the sources cited in the article. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 16:20, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
you are trying to make up a list in the absence of a published source."... not so... I have written an article based upon several published sources. This is what every article on Wikipedia does.
But I think we can stop my experiment now... My goal was not really to convince you that "you are wrong"... it was more to see where we agreed and disagreed. What I was trying to do take an article from full sentence/paragraph format (which you seemed to accept), and step by step re-write it, ending up in listified format. My goal was to see where you started to object. If you had found my current version acceptable, my next step would have been to start trimming the paragraphs... until all that remained was the name and dates. Then I would have introduced a name change to "List of Kings of Foobaria". Since you balk at the first step (simply shifting the format from having separate sections to having bullet pointed paragraphs) I know the answer to my question. Our views overlap in a lot of areas ... but they definitely do not agree completely.
Thank you for taking the time to discuss this with me, and to go through this little experiment. Blueboar (talk) 14:16, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
If you do have lots of sources about a topic, then it is a waste of time trying to construct a list article around them, as the list format can act as a constraint, and hinders composition compared with prose. I don't see how taking them away proves anything, as it goes in the opposite direction to that which the compilation of articles goes: start small -> become bigger. In the real world, your example might start as list and end up as an article, not the other way around. I think Bus Stop's criticism has some merit, for you have tested my ideas regarding published lists with almost unbeleiveably complex and counter intuative examples. I think you just need to accept that published lists as both a source and a topic, and you will understand your own views better, and maybe understand why publication is needed to identify the existence of a list topic.
However, your tests have helped me too, in particular with my response to Reyk[3]. It is a shame that you cannot see the merit of my argument in full, because I can see no merit in the vicarious relationship between "List of X" and topic/cateory "X", as by this measure, List of Masonic buildings is a notable topic, even though I think we are agreed that Masonic building is not a recognised architectural term that exists in the real world. Masonic motifs, maybe, but Masonic buildings, no. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 14:43, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

WP:AN discussion

Hello. This message is being sent to inform you that there currently is a discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard regarding an issue with which you may have been involved. The thread is "User:Gavin.collins. Stonewalling, intimidation, misrepresentation of policies".Thank you. Sjakkalle (Check!) 11:13, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

I am not aware of any such instances of this behaviour having been brought to my attention on this talk page. I think you know me to be an entirely reasonable, courteous and honest editor, so I am not sure why you would think these allegations to be true. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 11:50, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
You were notified of the RFC/U which this action resulted from (and which you clearly said you would not participate as you considered it an attack on yourself). --MASEM (t) 13:29, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
As I said to you before the RFC[4], if you have any genuine complaints about me, bring them to my attention directly and in detail (as I have done with regard to yourself et al.), don't beat around the bush. In my view, the fact that you did not bring any complaints to my attention before the RFC, nor that you could not be bothered to do so since, suggests to me that neither the RFC nor this new ANI thread was not started in good faith, but was started in order to "play to the crowd". So forgive me if I decline to attend the arena to watch the lions being fed, even though I am on the menu. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 13:44, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
People have brought their complaints about you to your talk page before to no avail. Only after that didn't work were you the subject of not one but three RfCs, exactly according to the rules of Wikipedia. The AN thread was started in good faith. That faith being that attempting to reach a consensus with you has not worked in the past therefore we have no reason to believe that it will be possible to reach one now. I would like to respectfully recommend that you state your case in the AN thread so that the Admin can consider it before making a decision. Seanr451 (talk) 17:55, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
When have you done that? --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:08, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

In case you haven't been following the discussion at AN/I, it was just noticed that some of your recent contributions could be considered copyvios -- although you sourced the text, you took it almost directly from the source. This would be a very good time to get involved with the discussion. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 13:59, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

On the contrary, this would be a very good time not to get involved. Better to take such accusations with a Pinch of salt. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 14:10, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
A pinch of salt is great when added to a bowl of soup... but you have to add it to the soup to get the benefit. In other words, an occasional comment by you would help your case... complete silence hurts it. You don't have to reply to each and every remark. Just the advice of a well wisher. Blueboar (talk) 14:25, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
As above, I would prefer not to be in the soup that gets fed to the lions, despite the honour of being on the menu. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 14:48, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Mentorship offer

It's pretty clear to me that some pretty nasty editing restrictions are going to be placed on you unless someone intervenes. I'd like to offer my services as a mentor/parole officer to monitor some milder editing restrictions and see if we can't get the community to accept that as a trial. We can talk about details if you can bring yourself to accept the concept. In terms of finding an admin to mentor you that generally agrees with your basic philosophies, I don't think you can do better than me, and, based on our interactions in the past, you should know that you can trust me to be reasonable. Let me know what you think.—Kww(talk) 15:52, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

I am not worried about what other editors say about me, other than an expression of their concerns on my talk page, where I am quick to apologise if I have offended anyone. I am not afraid of any threat of editing restrictions, simply because I don't think there is a case to answer for. What one editor calls "behaviour", I would characterise as a disagreement over policies and guidelines, and that is natural where I come from. If you think there is a problem, spit it out, and maybe we can agree on a reasonable course of action, including mentoring as you suggest. Do you think there is a problem? I am not convinced myself, but I am open to a second opinion. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 20:52, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Of the various charges made, the two that concern me are the accusations of copyright violations (and you should read over WP:AN#Many copyvios as well even if you don't want to respond there), and edit warring on policy pages. If we can come up with a concrete assurance that those behaviours will stop I think it will go a long way. Remember, WP:AN isn't like an RFC: if a consensus is reached there that editing restrictions are necessary, it has teeth. It won't matter whether you accept them or not, they are enforceable by editing blocks.—Kww(talk) 21:28, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Rather than deal with vague generalisations, is there a particular instance you are concerned about? --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 22:38, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Sorry if a wikilink to a discussion is somehow vague. How about this vs. this. Seems like a pretty clear copyright violation.—Kww(talk) 23:21, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Gavin, there are more, I just posted these to the AN discussion:
I really think you need to consider Kww's offer and engage in discussion. These appear to be very serious instances of plagiarism of copyrighted material--if you can offer any explanation as to why these edits are appropriate, please do so. --Nuujinn (talk) 00:16, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
As I have said before. There is no way I am going to join in with the bear baiting, nor am I willing to stick my head in a bear trap that has been set up to ensnare me in bad faith.
On the matter of copyright violation, these examples don't qualify as such because (a) the source is clearly cited, and (b) the citations are very brief and relative to the source, they are an insignificant portion, limited to a sentence, or a short paragraph. Wikipedia:Non-free content states that "Articles and other Wikipedia pages may, in accordance with the guideline, use brief verbatim textual excerpts from copyrighted media, properly attributed or cited to its original source or author".
I have been involved in similar discussions at Talk:Enron scandal#Recent changes. If I have cited a source, it is generally because the commentary, criticism and analysis it provides is worth including in this article, and the text itself is a summary of much longer discussion. There is no attempt reproduce these works per se, rather to make it clear that the statements of opinion are clearly attributable to their authors, whose own words cannot be bettered.
If you are still unhappy with this, I suggest we take specific cases to the talk pages of the articles concerned, where such a review would be useful. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 08:34, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
No, you misunderstand WP:NFC. It says, under "Text": "Copyrighted text that is used verbatim must be attributed with quotation marks or other standard notation, such as block quotes. Any alterations must be clearly marked, i.e. [brackets] for added text, an ellipsis (...) for removed text, and emphasis noted after the quotation as "(emphasis added)" or "(emphasis in the original)"." Quotations should be clearly marked as such, and they should serve to illustrate a particular point of an article, they should not comprise the bulk of an article. Sjakkalle (Check!) 08:49, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
I think you are alleging that it is a copyright violation because I "misunderstand" policy, but that is that is just a vague generalisation, and is just too roundabout. If you are still unhappy with this, I suggest we take specific cases to the talk pages of the articles concerned, where such a review would be useful. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:04, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
I have not said that the copyvios are because you "misunderstand" policy. I said these examples are copyright violations because you have copied a source verbatim, without marking it clearly as a quotation. The line from WP:NFC is very specific, and not a "vague generalisation". Sjakkalle (Check!) 09:09, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Gavin, none of this is about justice, it is all about trying to get you to change behavior that a good number of us find generally disruptive. The copyvio issues appear to be quite serious. Perhaps I see this as so serious an issue because I've taken a student to honor court for a similar infraction. Please, reconsider taking Kww's offer. --Nuujinn (talk) 11:47, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
These accusations are not in good faith. If you had had a problem with me in the past, you would have let me know, as I have let Sjakkalle know what I think his behaviour is about. If you want to tar and feather me with accusations of copyright infringement, that is your problem, not mine. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 12:08, 1 October 2010 (UTC)


I have indefenitely blocked you for serial copyright violations. We cannot just lift text from copyrighted sources without attribution in quotes.

I will unblock you (and authorize any other admin to do the same) if you recognize the problem and commit to helping to clean up the mess in Wikipedia:Contributor copyright investigations/20101001. Ucucha 12:38, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Having re-read the Wikipedia:Non-free content, it does appear that I have "misunderstood" policy as Sjakkalle has pointed out to me in relation to the correct notation that is need to avoid copyright violations, and I appologise to Sjakkalle for biting his head off and shall strike my in appropriate comments from the record[5]. WP:Plagiarism sums up the Non-free content policy as follows:
"If the external work is under standard copyright, then duplicating its text with little, or no, alteration into a Wikipedia article is usually a copyright violation, unless duplication is limited and clearly indicated in the article by quotation marks, or some other acceptable method (such as block quotations).
I appologise for this oversight. I am committed to rewriting offending citations where this is an issue, and I think most of these problems can be rectified with direct attribution where need be. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 13:52, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for the gracious apology which I accept, and for removing those comments on me earlier today. Ucucha indicated that recognition of the problem, and commitment to help clean up the mess would result in an unblock. Due to the post above, I believe that those criteria are met, and (the implicit) request for an unblock will be granted.
Note that discussion is still ongoing with regards to your conduct on various pages concerning notability and lists, and it does seem likely that you may be facing some editing restrictions in that area. I am not alone in having very strong differences with you over your current policy interpretations, the copyright issue merely came on top of the other issues.
I strongly recommend that you focus your attention on the articles listed at Wikipedia:Contributor copyright investigations/20101001, before engaging in further "wikipolitical" policy discussions. I believe there is a feeling that most of your "capital" on policy discussion pages has been spent, and working on repairing and building articles is one of the best ways to boost people's confidence in you. In addition, article writing is a far more enjoyable activity than discussing policy pages.
A tip on writing good prose using information from the sources (allowed and encouraged!) without using the phrasings of the source (which is only allowed as quotation, and should not make up the bulk of an article) is to:
  1. First study the material and learn what you can, and then
  2. close the book and write the paragraphs based on the knowledge you have gained.
The information you have learned and now write down to share with others will be nicely based on those sources you read, so requirements based on WP:V and WP:OR are fully met. If there really is a mistake, someone will probably quietly fix it at some point later. Since you are writing based on your understanding of the material, the text will wind up being in your own words. Writing based on your understanding the material has the added benefit of enabling you to write the material in a manner which is understandable to many more readers. (In comparison, academic journals are often incomprehensible to a layman.) When you are using multiple sources, things are even better, as your understanding of the material lets you draw information from the different sources so that you can create a coherent paragraph incorporating material from all of them. As long as you are not infusing this combination of sources with any new ideas, there is no violation of WP:SYNTH. Sometimes, this approach will lead to mistakes (e.g. adding a small remark which the sources don't really support), but those mistakes will usually be minor, and WP:BOLD and WP:IAR encourages you to do what you think best. Of course, you might need to check back with the sources so that you get the facts straight, and so that you add the references and citations correctly, but by then most of the work is already done.
Don't get too entangled with WP:SYNTH. That policy is meant to prohibit statements containing original ideas and original deductions about the subject, it was never meant to be a straightjacket to prevent editors from organizing the material in the manner they think will convey the information in the best possible fashion. WP:NOR prohibits original research, but it does not prohibit research or original writing.
Best wishes, Sjakkalle (Check!) 15:07, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
I think your examples might be a bit trite. If we take your own subject area (I presume this to be mathematics), I don't think it is possible to close the book, as you put it. The reason is simple: when expressing mathematical ideas, those ideas are going to be the same as primary source, or they are going to "wrong". When I say "the same", I don't just mean in substance (the idea or concept) but also the format (the notation used). Writing" based on your understanding the material" would lead to a bastardisation of the primary source. So I don't think your understanding of what a copyright violation is entirely correct. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 01:07, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Mentorship offer

The offer is still open. I'll look over Profession sometime today (it's morning for me as I write this).

I strongly suggest that we make this formal, and extend it to guiding any edits you make to policy articles. Doing that will go a long way towards defusing the situation you are in. I can understand why aspects of it strike you as being a witch hunt. Unfortunately, that doesn't matter much: after a witch has been burned at the stake, it doesn't matter much whether she was actually a witch.—Kww(talk) 16:23, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

I just really want to put in here that a lot of us villagers with torches and pitchforks very much value you and a lot of what you do, Gavin, and would love to see you just stop curdling Mrs. Smith's cow's milk, with no bonfire involved. A realistic option for mentorship like Kww is offering would be a joy and relief to many of the participants. —chaos5023 (talk) 16:27, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
That is relief, particularly in view of the fact that I am not a witch. I am happy to proceed with mentorship on Kww's terms. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 17:17, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Hi, Gavin. I've not been following what led to the sprawling thread on AN, but it's clear that you're in hot water. I'm glad to see you're taking Kevin up on his offer. For mentorship to work, the people have to be or become friends. If I can help in an informal way, you both are free to ping me. Don't forget that outraged villagers have never burned witches; they burn people. Take care, Jack Merridew 12:28, 4 October 2010 (UTC)


Don't take this the wrong way, but could you cast your mind back on the Profession article. Does the characteristics of a profession section contain a verbatim copy of Perks? I don't have the book, I was tempted to delete that section on presumption of copyvio (on the basis that if you did it with all the online sources, why not out of a book as well), but I have left it for now.--Elen of the Roads (talk) 18:45, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

I don't think so, because almost as soon as I added content, it tagged as original research[6]. Ever since then, I have been careful to stick very close to the original source material. I am hoping Kww can help me get the balance right. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 20:42, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Visualise someone doing a headslap at this point. That's exactly what I mean by this whole thing being caused by your view of OR, and not (as is usually the case in copyvios) to inflate the user's edit count. I checked the history of the article - when you first added the list you sourced it to Perks, but only for some entries. It was not tagged as OR, it was tagged with citation tags, although there was a suggestion on the talkpage that it was OR, and you said at that time that it was entirely sourced to Perks. Since then you have consistently reverted any attempt to paraphrase, eg replacing 'ethnic groups' with 'ethnic minorities', you yourself have added content and citations, but have not changed pre-existing wording. So I'm going to ask again - if I went and got a copy of Perks from the library and looked up that list, would I see the wording that is currently in the article?Elen of the Roads (talk) 21:00, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Visualise me doing a headslap at that point. What you would see is a summary of the points he made. That was why I could not say it was not original research for sure. It was my summary of what he wrote, and it was not good enough because (allegedly) I did not stick closely to the source. I know what original research is, but I could not prove that it was not. At this level of detial, it is a much finer line than you suppose. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 22:34, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I'm having the same problem with this article that Elen is: no access to the original. I'll have to get it from the library to render an opinion.—Kww(talk) 22:36, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
I ordered a copy today (price .01p + postage via amazon), but at the time, I borrowed it via the intra library lending system: it took 2 weeks to arrive. When the citations were challenged, the book had been returned, so I could not counter the allegation that it was original research. Ever since then, I have stuck closely to the text of all the sources I have ever cited. At this level of detail, it is impossible to write a summary of a source like Perks. In his writing, he cites the opinions of dozens of other academics, and any deviation from the original text can be used to support the accusation of original research, as was the case with the editor Peter Morell. I think he was upset that I had contributed to the article, as he had created the article Professionalisation. In retrospect, I ran into a bear trap; although Perks's work was grounded in the opinions of many academics, the list is highly controversial, and in retrospect, I should have quoted his work verbatim, but at the time, I thought a summary would suffice. The result was Morell used this opportunity to rubbish my contributions.
A good example of this is the article definition. At the time I added this definition[7], the article was entirely unsourced. This is a summary of how Perks described a profession at the start of his book, but I boiled down his first few pages into a defintion. It seems to me that whether you summarise or reproduce a source, you are dammed if you do and you are damned if you don't. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 23:03, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Can you point me at the discussions with Morell?—Kww(talk) 16:38, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
User talk:Gavin.collins/Archive 1#Professions and User talk:Gavin.collins/Archive 1#Offending edits removed. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 17:37, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the links Gavin. When I read it, it seems to me that Peter Morell is saying the opposite to how you are interpreting him. First he says many of the points (not all) are unsourced. Some of the points made seem unreferenced; for cleanup it requires some references...that means using more than one source. (my emphasis). He clarifies as of now it reads like original research that someone has just written out with just an odd ref here and there (my emphasis) scattered within the text body. So he's asking for more citations, not for you to change the text to exactly what it says in the source. He even clarifies it might not be necessary to do EVERY sentence (his emphasis).

When he gets on to the list of characteristics, he says maybe it can be condensed down and again referenced. You explained that the list was sourced to Perks, and Peter says I think the problem lies in generating such a wide perspective from only ONE source. There is no point in that whole section where Peter Morell says that he does not believe that you have not accurately regurgitated what Perk has said, or where he asks you to modify your text to make it read more like a copy of the original. All he does say is that you have not cited all 22 points to Perk

What he is saying is that he does not believe Perk offers the only view on this. I already have two (sources) which dismiss Perk's point about ethnicity and equal pay in professions, for example. What he's asking you to do is to look for more sources with different viewpoints, not to write out the entire text of Perk into the article. I am dismayed that the '22 points' which you regard as sacrosanct, is even in this article.

In other words, pretty much the opposite to how you took it.Elen of the Roads (talk) 18:39, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

I concur. Morell was concerned about it appearing to be OR, and the large block of text with a single citation. When you get the physical book, rework the citations to give a page for each of the 22 points, and all will be well on the WP:OR front. As for single sourcing, that is a legitimate concern. It appears from your discussion that Perks was summarizing multiple other people. Let's see how many of those are available online when you get the physical copy. From there, we can support each point with a distinct reference to a second source.—Kww(talk) 19:39, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Maybe I should have cited all of the sources that Perks cited - citations within citations, if you will. His list of characteristics of a profession drew on the work of many other researchers. I thought I had done a good job by citing Perks, as the article had no citations until I added him as a source. However, if you are suggesting I should have provided a citation for every line, this seems to me very onerous. This is just a generalisation, so when the book arrives next we can discuss the merits of Perks as a source directly. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 20:10, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
No, it's not generally considered pukka to cite the sources of your sources, with the exception of a straight lift of a quote, which you can sometimes get away with. The reason it's not approved is that you don't know if your source accurately reflects the other sources. When you can get away with it is if the source you have quotes huge chunks of the other sources - this is a practice in some history books which reproduce large chunks of historic sources that are otherwise unavailable. In those cases, you can safely extract your quote from the mass of information, and source it to the original using a quote-in-source citation, eg Reed, Virginia (May 16, 1847), "Letter to Mary Keyes", published in Stewart, pp. 348–362. (see the article Donner Party which uses this technique quite a bit because the key primary documents were first published in modern books about the subject.) There's an essay on sources and citations somewhere on Wikipedia - if I can recall what it is (or Kww or one of your other tps can), you might find it helpful to read it.
If I were to approach the Profession article with Perk in hand, I would have written something like....

In his book Foo, Perks (citation - this one needs to cite the entire book title, publisher, year etc etc) suggested a list of 22 attributes that defined a profession. His list combines previous research on the subject (citation - this should cite to the page where Perk summarises his sources. You could list them in the citation if you wanted, or make a footnote of them). The list comprises:

  • Foo: which Perks defines as..... (cite page). Fang concurs (cite other source that you have actually read), but Ftang excludes this from his list (cite other source that you have actually read)
  • Bar: bar is this definition. Perks noted that all of his sources included this (cite page)
  • Thud: the definition of thud is (cite page). More recently, Jumps et al has disagreed with the inclusion of thud as a definition of a profession (citation)
  • Crang: Perks defined crang as .....(cite page). However, with the growth of the internet, this term has been redefined as ..... (citation).
Or whatever. You can keep the list, but the text accompanying it must not be a verbatim copy of Perks. It must summarise Perks, and it can add any other information you have about that attribute in other people's lists. Elen of the Roads (talk) 09:41, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
That was the problem. It was not a verbatim copy of Perks. I could not demonstrate it was not original research. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 16:10, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
Firstly excellent, if it's not a vertbatim (or near verbatim) copy of Perks, it's not a copyvio so I can leave it in the article. Secondly, you are still misunderstanding what Peter Morell (and me and Kww) are saying. In the case of the list of 22, yes Kww (and Morell) want you to add a page citation to Perks for the extended text appended to each subject on the list. You said that Perks runs on for pages, and you have summarised it, therefore you need to show where you have sourced the material in each section of the list. Citation is how you show it's not OR, not copyright violation.Elen of the Roads (talk) 16:37, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
As a tps, I don't know if this is the essay User talk:Elen of the Roads had in mind, but it seems useful in this context: Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2009-04-13/Dispatches. Also, Gavin, please feel free to tell me to pound sand (I won't take offense if you do), but if you are concerned about what you are doing is OR or you feel you are accused of OR, by all means bring it up at the WP:ORN, getting others to take a look at your work is always a good idea. --Nuujinn (talk) 18:08, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
Thank you Nuujinn. I believe that may be what I was thinking of - even if it isn't, it's a cracking essay and Gavin would, I'm sure, find it extremely helpful to read it.Elen of the Roads (talk) 19:21, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
Just to clarify, my suggestion was to look at Perk's sources ourselves if they are easily accessible. If he says "So-and-so says y", we my be able to look at So-and-so's work ourselves and use it as a source. That reduces the problem of heavy reliance on a single source.—Kww(talk) 18:20, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
I think the point was that Perks is a summary of other sources. I also provided page references to his book and was still accused of not referencing the content. Also the I was not quoting Perks verbatim. That was why I could not prove it was not original research. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 22:35, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
Again, from reading Peter Morell's comments, the reason he was querying whether it was OR was manifestly not that it wasn't verbatim from Perk, because Morell could not have told whether it was or not - he not being in posession of said book. He specifically said that each entry in the list needed a citation, and you specifically said that would be too onerous - exactly the response you made to Kww above.Elen of the Roads (talk) 23:19, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't think that explains why he added his own views to the article[8] and then tagged every paragraph that did have a citation[9]. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 06:23, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Holy tag-bombing, Batman. —chaos5023 (talk) 06:41, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Concur, it was unreasonable. However, sorry to keep hammering on Gavin, but what he didn't want was for you to type verbatim chunks of Perk into Wikipedia. Have you read the item than Nuujinn linked yet? Elen of the Roads (talk) 09:03, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I think the point was that against such an onslaught, that would have been the only way to demonstrate that what I had written was not original research. I am not using this as an excuse, and I am sure I can find a workaround, perhaps using verbatim quotations, but with a more acceptable form of notation that makes this more transparent. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 10:02, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

With respect, I think that was the only way you thought you could deal with it. Not the only way it could have been dealt with. However, water under the bridge. Going forward, verbatim quotation even with appropriate notation is not the way forward. If you verbatim quote that much text from a copyright source, the copyvio team would be on to you anyway regardless of markup. It would simply be excessive. You need to follow the tack outlined above, summarise what the source is saying, and add a citation for each item. Ideally, we should find more than one source with stuff to say on each of the items - that's always better. You should ask Kww for more advice on this, and as someone else has said, you can always take it to the OR noticeboard if you are concerned.Elen of the Roads (talk) 11:18, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

That is just the point, I did follow the procedure outlined above and was heavily punished for it in the form of "Holy tag-bombing". In addition, my own summary was rewritten without reference to the original source. These issues will be addressed on the article talk page going forward. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 11:44, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I have now received the Perks in the post, so I will be starting a thread at Talk:Profession shortly with a view to cleaning up the article. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 22:21, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

Enron scandal

Hi Gavin, you'll have seen the content I had to delete in Accountancy because I could demonstrate that you were cutting sentences out of the sources and pasting them into the article, so I had to delete them all as copyvios. You have added a lot to Enron scandal but the sources mostly are not online. Could you confirm whether the text you added for each source in this article is mostly a straight reproduction of the original - I can see from the talk that this was mentioned at one point, although not very clearly. Did you carry on with your policy of more or less copying out the source into the article? --Elen of the Roads (talk) 11:44, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Most of the content will be very close to the original, as you fear. I know now it is a copyright violation to simply copy and paste content into articles, but I did summarise or modify the text, where necessary, so that all the sources formed a cohesive narrative.
On the other hand, I object to the wholesale deletion of this content, and I would ask you to adopt a more constructive approach than you have been using by modifying the text where you feel this is necessary. In fairness, it is going to be treaky for me to "fix" this article in exactly the way you want it to be. I know the guidelines are clear on these issues, but at the same time I will never know what goes on in your mind as to how you expect them to be applied, or which parts of the text are argreeable or disagreeable to you and why so.
To illustrate this, I would ask you to moderate your approach because I don't want to get into the situation I found myself in with Talk:Enron scandal#Recent changes, whereby I was having to make changes, but they still did not satisfy another editor ("can't win for the loosing"). --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 12:34, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm asking because I really don't want to do another hatchet job like I did on Accountancy, but I think I will have to if you cannot rewrite the sections in question, as I do not have access to the sources. You seem to take everything that everyone says very literally, and to be struggling because you feel the information you are being given is contradictory. I can see the problem you are having, but I am not sure how I can help to resolve it, as this is a woolly area.--Elen of the Roads (talk) 13:49, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't think the hatchet job you did on the Accountancy article was at all helpful, whereas tagging would be more effective and enourage other editors to participate while I work my way around. In fairness to me, I have provided direct links to the sources I have cited, which has helped you identify (and then delete) the copyvios in the first place. Simply deleting the sources is not my prefered route as the original sources are available to assist a rewrite. This would seem to me to be far more constructive approach. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 13:56, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
In fairness to me, the copyvios were so extensive that blanking the content was the only option I had (see here). You should be glad I didn't just tag the whole article for deletion. And I am going to have to do the same thing to your contributions to the Enron scandal article if you can't rewrite the text fairly sharpish, as in "in the next day or so." I've done you the courtesy of asking, instead of just carrying out a presumptive deletion, which I could have done. --Elen of the Roads (talk) 15:36, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I can't meet that kind of timetable, but thanks for asking anyway. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:53, 4 October 2010 (UTC)


Let me see if an example will help. If it doesn't, just collapse it or delete it - I shan't be offended.

Suppose you were writing an article on the book The Canal by Lee Rourke, and you wanted to include some information from book reviews. Here is the Guardian newspaper's review from their Not the Booker prize blog (which is a reliable source, as these are pieces that the paper has paid for). You might say

One reviewer has described it as "quite unlike any English language novel I can remember reading recently" (citation). or Sam Jordison in The Guardian described it as unlike any English language novel he had recently read (citation)

Either would be acceptable.

This would be acceptable:-

In a review in the Guardian, Sam Jordison described The Canal as a novel of ideas, comparing the novel's philosophical components to both Camus and Houllebecq, although he did not think Rourke had reached the standard of either. He felt that the story, which "force(d) his narrator out of most of his existential posing" was the most appealing element of the novel, together with the quality of the writing itself; and that despite criticisms, Rourke had "plenty to offer." (citation)

The following is not acceptable:-

In a review in the Guardian, Sam Jordison noted that many of The Canal's philosophical elements seemed a like Camus without the big ideas, or perhaps, Houllebecq without the bite. He considered that if readers want ennui, they are still better off sticking with French authors. This was not to say that Rourke did not have plenty to offer. Unusually for a novel of ideas, Jordison considered it was the story and the writing that most appealed in The Canal, together with the skill with which Rourke used his narrative to force his narrator out of most of his existential posing, which made much of the criticism moot. (citation)

Nor is this

In a review in the Guardian, Sam Jordison noted that "Many of The Canal's philosophical elements seemed a bit like Camus without the big ideas. Or perhaps, Houllebecq without the bite." In his opinion "if you want ennui, you're still better off sticking with the French." However "that's not to say that Rourke doesn't have plenty to offer. Unusually for a novel of ideas, it's the story and the writing that most appeal in The Canal. That and the skill with which Rourke uses his narrative to force his narrator out of most of his existential posing – and so render much of the criticism moot."(citation)

Does this make sense? Elen of the Roads (talk) 15:36, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

It does, although this type of long winded literary criticism is not my pigeon. The sources I am interested in provide the reader with sharp insights about a topic. For instance, in NGC 3603, I am looking for a sentence or two in as few words as possible, ideally better than anything I could write myself, i.e. the author said it so well the first time that it makes no sense to say it any differently. The research and compilation that went behind such an insight[10] is fully referenced in the article, and the reader can seek out the source of the insight if they wish. This sort of solid gold source provides the reader with an immediate understanding of the topic in words which would be labled as original research if they had not been taken directly from an external source. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 16:16, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
But it was a copyvio. Ucacha removed it, and Nuujinn refactored it to escape the plagiarism issue. If something is so pithy that you want to quote it, then quote it (as in the 'quite unlike any English language novel I can remember reading recently' above). However, you cannot write entire paragraphs that way. At the very least, use quote marks. At least that way, everyone is clear that it is a quote. Elen of the Roads (talk) 19:40, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
If it helps, remember that this is an encyclopedia. We summarize the key ideas on a topic but quotes are used sparingly. I respect that you're worried about going into the deep end of original research if you don't use a source word for word. But there's a difference between original research and just plain old research. Between summarizing someone else's insight versus adding your own. In copyright, you're allowed to copy the idea, but you're not allowed to copy the expression of that idea. It might help to distinguish between idea and expression. Do research to get at the overall idea, try to express it in your own words, and hope that consensus and discussion will correct you if you misinterpreted the idea or inserted your own POV. Shooterwalker (talk) 21:30, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
For the most part, I would say that not only do I want to copy the idea, but I want to copy the insightful expression of that idea. Going back to the example of NGC 3603, I can't find any evidence to support the opening statement that this group of stars can be characterised as an Open Cluster. This statement could be correct, but it is not from the "horses mouth", so to speak. On the other hand, I have found a sources that describe it as a globular cluster (Sher citing Herschel) and a starburst region (Harayama). I think it is these insights that are key to providing context to the reader. Nuujinn has simply watered it down to be less insightful than the original source, so I have restored to a form that is closer to the source[11]. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 01:39, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I sympathize. Some sources really say it well. And when you can pull out that one quote that sums it all up it's a great find. But keep in mind that this is an encyclopedia and direct quotes are used very sparingly. And when direct quotes are used, you have to remember quotation marks to avoid the appearance of plagiarism. The only way to thread the needle of avoiding copyright problems AND avoiding original research is to find a way to express *exactly* the author's idea but in your own words. (talk) 15:57, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I think that example is fine. Quotes of that length aren't a problem, and the article isn't dominated by them. Articles should not be a series of quotes, but they don't have to be religiously avoided.—Kww(talk) 16:02, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I think we have hit the nub of the problem here. In most cases, the insightful expression is what will be copyright (although referring to your comments above to Skjalle about maths, I don't think you can copyright a mathematical formula). If you have one pithy sentence with unique phrasing (such as 'quite unlike any English language novel I can remember reading recently' from the example above, you can go ahead and quote it verbatim, with appropriate citation. However, it has to be said that it should rarely be necessary to quote a scientist, unless they are saying something controversial, famous (eg 'God does not play dice'), or a new coinage (Norbert has termed this phenomenon "oscillating stability"). If someone is just relaying facts, they should not in general be quoted, no matter how nicely they say it.

However, I have reverted both yourself and Nuujinn on NGC 3603. In your case, you had added

According to Yohei Harayama, NGC 3603 "is one of the best examples of a starburst region...owing to its uniqueness in terms of the intrinsic properties such as the proximity, relatively low visual extinction, extreme compactness and brightness". However, what Harayama actually said was "Owing to its uniqueness in terms of the intrinsic properties such as the proximity,relatively low visual extinction of only AV = 4 􀀀 5 mag, and the extreme compactness and brightness, NGC 3603 is one of the most suitable Galactic templates of starburst phenomena in distant galaxies. Therefore, since its discovery more than a century ago,NGC 3603 has been intensively studied in many groups." He never says it is one of the best examples of a starburst region. If you quote someone, it must be verbatim. You cannot rewrite it and then claim it is a quote, you either quote or you paraphrase.

What Nuujinn added was According to Yohei Harayama, NGC 3603 has been subject to intense study for more than a century because it represents a unique combination proximity, low visual extinction, brightness and compactness. This is a problem, because the format "according to X" usually means there are alternate views which need to be expressed in the article: "according to Joe Shmoe in The Thunderer, backbench politicians privately expressed dismay, however a front bench spokesman said it was business as usual." That kind of thing. Whereas what Harayama says ought to be factual and not subject to dispute - NGC is a heavily studied starburst region, it has this combination of properties that make it of interest.

What I have changed it to is NGC 3603 has been subject to intense study as a starburst region for more than a century because it represents a unique combination of proximity, low visual extinction, brightness and compactness. It may not be the most scintillating prose, but it accurately reflects the source, and it accurately reflects the source as giving factual information.Elen of the Roads (talk) 16:23, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I think that's a good edit. I waivered on using "According to Yohei Harayama" but left it given the questions regarding copyvio, but your interpretation of the implications of using "according to x" make good sense to me. --Nuujinn (talk) 17:11, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Please don't use "According to ..." constructions unless the person has an article, as it doesn't enhance the reader's experience or understanding and is not in summary style. Abductive (reasoning) 19:30, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. According to Hoyle (or perhaps in this case Hoyle) is fine, but by and large "according to..." is only relevant if the 'to' is someone notable.Elen of the Roads (talk) 20:15, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Point and pun taken. (; --Nuujinn (talk) 22:51, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
  • NGC 3603 not a globular cluster in the usual sense of that phrase because they are large and very old while this cluster is young and small. For an example of source which calls it an open cluster, see Galaxies in the universe: an introduction. My impression of the general problem here is that you are looking for The Truth expressed in few words whereas an object of this sort is studied because it it is not perfectly understood and so the sources will tend to present different views of it over time. It is difficult to make sense of this if you are not well versed in the field. It's like trying to write an article about accounting standards when they keep changing because they are always imperfect. Colonel Warden (talk) 17:14, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Nice source. I feel it's always better to read several sources fully, and start by extracting the bits that everyone seems to agree on to make the basis of the text. You'll also have an idea of what the variations are, and what weight to give to them.Elen of the Roads (talk) 20:25, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
In answer to Colonel Warden, I think you have missed the significance of the source. It is not really important whether NGC 3603 is a globular cluster or not, it is the fact that Herschel had this insight back in 1847. The second point to note that the "source of the source" is David Sher (he whose observations of Sher 25 is named). I will never be able to find the truth, nor can the astronomers, because at this distance, it is just their considered opinion. I think as editors we can find good sources, knowing that, like Hershel, their opinions may be vindicated or rejected as more observations are made. I think we have to accept the statements expressed by sources, not a truth, but as valued opinions.
Likewise with Harayama, it his opinion that is interesting. I don't agree with Ellen's approach: something has been lost in summary.
What is more significant is the the report from Claire Bates which I have rewriten and restored[12]. I think we have to make more effort to preserve and stick close to the insightful opinions expressed by these sources. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 21:36, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Gavin, I'm afraid that very often something will be lost in a summary. Indeed, it seems to me that that is the nature of a summary. I think the value of a good summary here is the concision--the distillation of key ideas from sources in a manner that is readily understandable to those not already familiar with the topic. --Nuujinn (talk) 22:51, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Gavin, well done on rewriting, but I have removed the mention of Claire Bates and the Daily Mail in the text. Both are in the citation, that is quite enough. As discussed above, if Stephen Hawking had something to say, that would be worth mentioning his name, but a Daily Mail staff hack [13] not so much. In both this case and Harayama's case, they are not really giving opinions, they are giving facts. Elen of the Roads (talk) 23:24, 5 October 2010 (UTC)


It looks to me like you are making substantial progress on the copyright front. That means it's time to start addressing some of the controversies you have been involved in surrounding lists. As I've read over your comments, it seems that some of your stances regarding lists stem from the same misunderstanding of WP:OR that led to the copyright problems. Given that, I'd like to find out your current opinion. Let's take as an example one of your most controversial stances, the inclusion of Barack Obama in the List of Presidents of the United States. Given what you've been working on with copyrights, do you still feel that the inclusion was in any way inappropriate?—Kww(talk) 19:54, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

Personally, I don't think I have any misunderstanding about original research at all. I am guilty of copyright violation for sure, but I think that has more do with the desire to reproduce insightful sources, rather than loose the insight by badly summarising them, as I have (nearly) always provided citations for content that I have added to Wikipedia.
At the centre of what I understand lists to be is that they are both a "primary source" of information and a "topic" that can be notable in its own right. This seems to be an entirely new idea to Wikipedia, so it is natural that you might think my views to be a misunderstanding. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 22:19, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
I am going to have to probe deeper here. First, you didn't directly answer my question: do you still stand by your position that adding Barack Obama to List of Presidents of the United States was inappropriate? If you do, how do you feel about the fact that you are fairly isolated in that position?—Kww(talk) 22:38, 7 October 2010 (UTC)
I do stand my position, because adding a new source to a list is a form of adulteration or bastardisation of the original list source. The example you give of adding Obama to the List of Presidents of the United States is too trite to illustrate this point. A clearer illustration would be given by adding John Hanson to the list. As WhatamIdoing pointed out during the RFC[14], every list has a set of inclusion criteria, and bolting stuff on willy-nilly is not the right approach. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:17, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Still unpicking this. The inclusion of Hanson would appear to be supported by no reliable source. I can see that one would not wish to allow the possibility that someone could include him. Milhist have recently been through this with someone who kept trying to add wars on drugs/streetcrime etc to their lists of wars, and they concluded that tight, inclusion criteria (and sourced definitions) is definitely the way to go, and clear guidelines as to what constituted a reliable source (eg newspaper reports are not a reliable source for whether something is a war or not, as reporters and sub-editors use the term very loosely). But why is it necessary to have just one source for the entire list? Elen of the Roads (talk) 09:58, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
For precisely the reason you have given: "tight, inclusion criteria (and sourced definitions)" are what characterise lists. A "list topic" is a single discrete source of information, that not only has a list structure, but also inclusion criteria that have been defined by its author(s) to serve a particular purpose or express a certain opinion at a particular point in time and has been published as a list. Basically, if there John Hanson has not been included in a published "List of US Presidents", then he should not be in it, while the opposite would be true of Barak Obama. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 11:26, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Ah For your list of Presidents, or Nobel prizewinners, or Aldermen of the City of London, then I can see there might be one primary roll held somewhere which could provide the definitive source, so part of the definition of 'POTUS'would be 'and entered into the record at....' But that's just a lucky coincidence. For say List of wars in the 21st century there isn't going to be that kind of source. You can make a tight definition of what constitutes a war for the purpose of the list - and you can specify the definition to sources if neccessary. You can tightly control what constitutes an RS (eg no newspaper articles), specify what constitutes the 21st century, whether the war has to have started, started and finished, or just any part of it was happening in the 21st century. But this kind of list is an overview of the subject, a navigation aid to find Wikipedia articles. It lists all articles where reliable sources say it fits the definition.
WP:LSC says Future editors should not be left to guess about what or who should be included from the title of the page. Even if the selection criteria might seem obvious to you, an explicit standard is helpful to others. In cases where the membership criteria are subjective or likely to be disputed (for example, lists of unusual things or terrorist incidents), membership criteria should be based on reliable sources. Non-obvious characteristics of the list (for instance, regarding the list structure) should also be explained in the lead section.
Although I understand that there have been discussions about lists, nothing in the list guidelines say that lists must be sourced to one reference, or that the topic of a list needs to be the subject of one reference, although the topic must be notable. I do agree that we have lists on Wikipedia that are just nasty collections of random OR - this is usually down to whoever started the list not having a clear idea of what was actually supposed to go on the list. Elen of the Roads (talk) 13:16, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Whilst you are correct that nothing in the list guidelines say that lists must be sourced to one reference, I would go futher by stating there is nothing in the list guidelines that say how any content policy applies to lists, not just OR.
In my view, list that are just nasty collections of random OR are unpublished list topics, as only publication can provide evidence that a list topic exists in the real world.
Going back to your example of List of wars in the 21st century, which is similar to Blueboar's example, List of Masonic buildings: it is impossible to tell whether the list topic itself is original research (i.e. it has been made up) unless there is a published list in the real world to demonstrate that the topic has not been made up.
Furthermore, it is a logical premise that a list topic can ony become notable if it has been publsihed. If a list topic has never been published, then commentators will not have seen it, let alone having "noted" it in accordance with WP:GNG. For this reason, a list topic must be sourced to one reference or "source" document which has been commented on and become notable. In short, a published list is both a "source" and a "topic" in its own right. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 13:45, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Gavin, I think you are pushing this way beyond. WP:LISTPURP is very clear that lists in articlespace have two purposes, as a navigation aid, and to provide sorting information (by chronology, by location, by type etc). WP:SALAT says nothing about notability - instead it says only that lists should not be too general or too broad, or fall into the NOT category. In fact, it specifically says that lists are something that Wikipedia editors think up - because lists are primarily ways of organising sets of information, rather than being topics in their own right. There is no requirement that the list pre-exist - it would appear that it is supposed to be "made up".

Now this may mean that someone tries to start a list that cannot be sufficiently well specified List of stuff you can download or whose components are not notable List of my schoolmates or that cannot be reliably sourced List of lost works from the Library at Alexandria, and in all those cases it would be quite reasonable to challenge the list based on the existing guidelines. But there are no grounds for challenging a list on the basis that nobody has previously compiled a list. Lists are merely arrangements of information. They do become OR when you cannot source the components - in Blueboar's case, was it not rather List of Masonic Buildings of some important designation in the US (the equivalent to our Listed Building status, can't remember what it is) that he was objecting to, because he considers it would be OR to identify from one source that a building was Masonic, and from another that it had this heritage designation. I think you'll find that he has no problem with List of Masonic buildings, and indeed has contributed to it, even though there isn't one definitive list somewhere of all the Masonic buildings.Elen of the Roads (talk) 14:46, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

I think, if I may make so bold, that where you are going wrong is that you are reading 'list topic' or 'subject of the list' as only meaning the list itself - and so are thinking that there must somewhere be a list that forms the topic of the article. In fact, if you read everything to do with lists, it is clear that 'list topic' and 'subject of the list' can also mean 'the things that are on the list' or 'the thing that the list is about'. One of those three needs to be notable, I agree, but only one - the list itself List of signatories to the Declaration of Independence, the subject of the list List of Unix codes, or the entries that the list organises List of stations on the New York subway.Elen of the Roads (talk) 14:59, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree that I pushing the boundries in terms of what the existing guidelines on list say, but, as I said earlier, that is because the list guidelines have nothing to say about the mechanism by which content policy can be applied to lists, other to say that they do apply (somehow). In view, the only mechanism by which content policy can be applied to lists is if the list has been published, can be verified as an identifiable list topic that exists in the real world. After publication, a list topic may be subsequently found to be notable because commentators have read the published list. This mechanism not work with unpublished lists.
I agree with you that lists are merely arrangements of information where they are used for formatting, but once a list has been published, it is "transformed" into a list topic. My example is Luther's 95 Theses: it was just prose arranged in list form, but once it was published, it became a verifiable topic and subsequently a notable topic in its own right.
Think of this another way: if a prose article is made up from lots of sources, it is because the sources address the article topic ('the thing that the article is about') directly and in detail. The only source that addresses a list topic ('the list that the article is about') directly and in detail is the published list itself, or reliable sources that comment on its publication.
I may be mistaken, but if I say so myself, I think these are two robust proofs of concept. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:29, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
I think the problem with that last statement is that it bears no relationship to how Wikipedia works. You have to go with what the existing guidelines say. If they say nothing, then nothing applies. You agree yourself that you are 'pushing the boundaries'. In fact, you are "(taking) a hearse up that staircase,... broadwise, with the splinter-bar towards the wall and the door towards the balustrades[1]. Your view of an organisation of information being somehow 'transformed' into a list topic if someone publishes it is pure OR (you got a reference for that :)). Some lists are themselves notable - the Red List of endangered species for example (amd such notable lists should have an article about the list) - but in most cases it is what is on the list (eg Masonic buildings) that makes the list (eg List of Masonic buildings notable. It is not necessary under the Wikipedia guidelines to have a notable list (and even if a list is published, it may not be notable, publication =/= notability) if either the thing that the list is about or the things that are on the list are notable, and verifiable.
Wikipedia sees lists and categories as ways of organising information, not as objects in their own right. Reliable sources are needed to put something on the list or in the category, but it is not necessary to have one source that covers the list or category. That's what the guidelines say. Elen of the Roads (talk) 15:46, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Further to what Kww says below, you really do catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. If you really want to improve the 'pedia, take it slowly. There are a lot of people who feel that there are lists full of cruft which could be improved upon - even Mike Cline agrees with that. Aim for gradual improvement - make some proposals about specifying the list, or sourcing every element if it's not a list of bluelinks, suggest that the guidelines make clearer that either the things on the list or the overall subject must be verifiably notable (are the names of Eddie Stobart trucks actually notable?). If you did this, one at a time, you'd get support to gradually move lists forward. All you are doing at the moment is pissing people off to the extent that a bunch of them are asking for you to be topic banned :( --Elen of the Roads (talk) 20:18, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
I have conceded that I may be mistaken, but I am not taking a hearse up a staircase, for your comments do not disprove my view. On the contrary, your own idea that what is on the list that makes the list notable has been debunked, because notability is not inherited from one topic (the stuff mentioned in the list) to another (the list topic itself). The organisation of information in list form is indeed 'transformed' into a list topic when it is published, in the same way the organisation of information in into a book is 'transformed' when it is published: it becomes a verifiable topic worthy of being noted, but only after commentators have actually read it.
Masonic building is not a notable topic, so by your own argument, neither should List of Masonic buildings. In fact, Masonic building as a category does not exist in the real world, for it could cover anything from Masonic hospitals, to shops selling Masonic regalia, to Masonic schools converted to hotels; perhaps it includes bicycle sheds at the back of Masonic schools as well. In the real world, Masonic insignia, motifs or decorations might be a notable topic, but Masonic building is not; I appeal to your common sense to realise that when editors think they know what a Masonic building is, they don't really, they are actually referring to buildings with Masonic decoration. If I am pissing people off, it is because the emperor has no clothes.--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 00:02, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
No, Gavin, I'm really afraid that's not why.
"Notability is not inherited" is not a fundamental principle of Wikipedia which automatically controls in any situation which you can construe as relying on notability being inherited. It is an element of a popular essay, which includes it so as to highlight it as an argument which is typically found unconvincing when raised in a vacuum at AfD. In fact, there are cases written into guidelines where notability specifically is inherited, such as WP:NB criterion 3. "Notability is not inherited" is not a magic wand that makes WP:SALAT go away; sorry. —chaos5023 (talk) 00:17, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
While I would prefer to be in a behavioural discussion, I will point out that your interpretation of WP:NB is pretty odd. It's an argument against inherited notability, and the one exclusion it gives is of a character that certainly is independently notable with myriads of sources.—Kww(talk) 04:03, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
Huh. I don't really see how one reads a guideline that means that a book that is adapted into a notable film becomes notable on that basis alone, other than as contravening NOTINHERITED. —chaos5023 (talk) 05:24, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
Actually, it's extremely unlikely that a book that is adapted into a notable movie does not meet the general notability guideline. The "exceptions" from the not inherited principle are usually there to avoid discussions where there's no reasonable doubt that sources will exist if one bothers to search deeper than, for example, a simple Google search. Vyvyan Basterd (talk) 05:47, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
Oh, sure, it's going to be an odd case where NB#3 is actually needed. Nonetheless the language remains in place. —chaos5023 (talk) 05:57, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
I was reading number 3 from the table of contents, which deals with derivative articles. The sentence you are quoting begins with The book has been considered by reliable sources to have made a significant contribution to a notable motion picture, which isn't inheritance of notability: more than one reliable source has discussed the contribution of the novel to the movie. I'd suggest it's sloppy language, as it should read "reliable independent source".—Kww(talk) 06:05, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
Ah, I see. But yeah, it really kinda is. By that criterion, all that needs to be substantiated by sources is the relationship between the book and the film; the book doesn't need to receive the significant coverage called for by the GNG to satisfy NB#3. Which is another way of saying that the sources are being used to establish the link by which the book is inheriting notability from the film. The absence of the word "independent" is probably also not as accidental as you interpret it being. —chaos5023 (talk) 06:14, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────In list articles where the subject of the list, rather than the things on the list, is notable, it's not inherited notability. Lets say it was types of tweed). We have an article, it's notable, and we can see from the article that it contains a short list of tweeds, only one of which has an article. There are actually more than 20 types of tweed, but it is doubtful that more than one or two would be notable according to our modern, more stringent standards. (Harris tweed is notable because of its protected status and the requirements for its manufacture have caused it to be written about a lot as a craft manufacturing process, as well as coverage as an item of clothing.) In this case, a standalone list might be appropriate if the list became long and overwhelmed the article, or the head article became long also, so splitting on grounds of size would be desirable, but it wouldn't rely on inherited notability. The list would be still on the topic of Tweed, which we have already determined is notable.--Elen of the Roads (talk) 08:19, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes, and in that, you are maintaining the distinction between the article title, the article's content, and the article's topic. We have a need for a variety of types of pages, and a list is very similar in structure to a disambiguation page, and I would suggest that a well done list serves a similar purpose, primarily that of navigation to other articles with more complete coverage of the individual items on that list. In this respect a list serves the overall purpose of Wikipedia. --Nuujinn (talk) 12:41, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
A bluelink list is indeed very like a dab page, and the primary purpose of bluelink lists, index and outline type articles is to direct users to other articles. Where none of the components are notable, the purpose should be to collect up information about a notable subject in an organised manner to make it easy for people who want to read up on the subject.Elen of the Roads (talk) 12:51, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
I the idea that "List of X" is notable because topic "X" is notable has already been debunked. "Book about X" is not notable because topic "X" is notable, so why do you think notability of list topics can be inherited? It makes no sense. "List of X" has to notable in its own right, and that can only happen if it is published and subsequently "noted" in accordance with WP:GNG. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:05, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Gavin, some of these things are only established in your own mind. You really are beginning to sound alarmingly like a designer of a perpetual motion machine - in their case, there's a flaw in their logic, but it's well below the level of all the beautiful drawings and detailed text in the patent application, it's that they have abandoned the laws of thermodynamics. In your case, you are not allowing for the fact that Wikipedia rules work not by extrapolated logic, but by making statements based on a consensus of opinion. The consensus of opinion is that 'List of X' does not have to be notable in it's own right, and it is not necessary that there be a single published list with the same title. No amount of virtual flywheels are going to overcome this point - to get things to happen the way you want, you are going to have to find a way to change consensus. Elen of the Roads (talk) 12:32, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Elen, whether "these things are established in your own mind", or whether I "sound alarmingly like a designer of a perpetual motion machine", or "whether there is a flaw in my logic", or whether my statements are consensus or not", none of these statements have anything to do with the notability of lists. My argument stands and yours has been debunked. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 21:11, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Gavin, perhaps you could look at it this way. Perhaps you're right. I don't think you are, but perhaps you are. But decisions are made here on the basis of consensus, and that means being right is not enough, much in the same way as WP is oriented towards that which is verifiable rather than what is true. Even if you are right, you must convince others that you are right. And in disagreements where you are in the minority, there comes a point where to continue to press your point undermines your position. Merely reiterating your position, and repeating that you are right and most everyone else is wrong just alienates the very people you must convince for your position to prevail. To continually bring up the matter in new venues only exacerbates the problem. So to continue in same the manner as you have heretofore will very likely get you nowhere in your quest to change policy. --Nuujinn (talk) 22:02, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Just because my views are not held by the majority, that is not a reason not to express them, so I don't agree with you. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 07:24, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Hearse up a staircase

Thought we could do with a break in the discussion, just for editing purposes. I don't need to disprove your view, all I need to do is point to the existing rules. You're the person who is acting like Travis Bickle :):) Always remember that it's far more productive to try to persuade people that there is a problem with the existing rule, than it is to persuade them that they have understood it wrongly.

And if you are going to argue the toss with someone, it is always of the utmost importance that you listen to what they are saying and understand their take on things. You may not agree with it, but if you can't show that you understood it, it makes it far more difficult for the dialogue to continue. Take the example above. I offered two alternatives - that the thing the list was about is notable, or that the items on the list are themselves notable (and the list is an aid to navigation). It is the second alternative that is the case with List of Masonic buildings. The buildings on the list have to be notable, the vast bulk of the list is already bluelinked. By arguing that it fails the first test and ignoring the second, you make yourself look much less convincing.Elen of the Roads (talk) 08:19, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

I am listening, but the more you say how good the Emperor's new clothes look, you should consider the validity of your own arguments, rather than labelling me as Travis Bickle. The existing rules are quite clear: notability can only come about if a topic has been the subject of some form of commentary, and if a list has not been published, then it is not going to ever be notable. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:16, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
See above. Imagine I am Rita the meter maid, and I'm giving you a parking ticket for parking in the disabled bay without a blue badge (a credential issued in the UK that verifies that the holder is entitled to disabled parking). No amount of arguing that you are disabled, that you can evidence that you meet all the criteria for applying for a blue badge, that it is discrimination etc etc is going to move me. You wanna park here? Get the badge. Just as you have to conform to the local byelaws when parking a vehicle if you don't want a ticket, you have to conform to Wikipedia's rules if you want to edit successfully. So stop trying to convince me that I can't read what the document plainly says, and do start trying to convince me that it would be better for the 'pedia if we had a different approach to lists. You are pushing on an open door - there's some awful crap lists out there, that even a small amount of tightening up would eliminate, and a bit of compromising with other people, instead of arguing that they are all wrong and you are the only one who understands things, would get you a long way. Elen of the Roads (talk) 12:32, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Gavin's insistence on lists themselves being published as notable lists before Wikipedia can include them is entirely why he thinks lists can never be created or updated by compiling multiple sources (the Barack Obama/list of U.S. presidents problem), ultimately leaving only the option of copying them verbatim from a source. So his approach here is entirely a symptom of the underlying misinterpretation of WP:OR.

And how Gavin is handling this discussion is the same as Gavin has all throughout the list RFC, and I assume in other forums, over and over and over again. I and most others repeated that a list did not have to be notable as a list, that notability concerns were addressed by the list's relationship to notable topics. And Gavin repeated that we were committing a notability fallacy, in "violation" of WP:NOTINHERITED, by claiming that a list was notable by inheriting it from "other" topics. As Elen of the Roads said lists don't have to be notable as lists, Gavin's response that she's wrong because lists cannot inherit notability is completely nonresponsive. He has further based his point entirely upon his interpretation of one section of an essay regarding arguments often considered weak in deletion discussions, a section that does not address any kind of list, and a section that even expressly admits that there are exceptions.

So Kww, if you want to focus on behavior, there are quite a few issues raised in this thread completely apart from who is ultimately correct and believes in the better result for Wikipedia. Please address with Gavin his failure to actually read what people have written, his failure to engage with the hypotheticals and points others make, and his failure to properly characterize their other words, his failure to actually make his comments a substantive response rather than just a repetition of his own viewpoint, making his comment only a "response" in the sense that it was posted afterward. This failure of his, above all others, is what has made constructive discussion with him impossible. postdlf (talk) 17:09, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

In fairness to me, it seems that lots of editors have views about my behaviour as soon as I type in the word "notability of lists" into my browser. If you could stick with the subject of the discussion, an leave the personal attacks out of it, the discussion can be raised above the level of a mud slinging exercise. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 21:14, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
And, Kww, Gavin has now again illustrated one of the reasons why no one has been able to get him to acknowledge the problems with how he communicates: where he has read it (to my knowledge, he has ignored the most recent RFC and the AN/I post regarding his behavior), he dismisses such valid criticism of his discussion practices as "personal attacks" and "mud slinging." See also his comment here. Thus Gavin avoids dealing with the substance of this criticism. I wish you luck, Kww, in addressing those issues with him. postdlf (talk) 21:24, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
What is the substance of these criticism? That my ideas are bad and therefore invalid? I just don't buy into arguments that essentially personalise the debate. I can understand Postdlf's view that "lists can be created or updated by compiling multiple sources", because lists without implicit inclusion criteria are just a formatting exercise. But creating new list articles with inclusion criteria (i.e. articles about lists) from multiple sources has several problems, which I think even Postdlf would recognise:
  1. The lists have not been published in the real world, so the list topic is itself not verifiable;
  2. Since multiple sources can be sliced and diced in many ways, the same data set can be used to create lots of similar list topics (content forks);
  3. Lists compiled from multiple sources may be incomplete, and so are unreliable;
  4. Lists from multiple sources can be misused to advance a point of view not supported by the sources (e.g." List of Caucasian Presidents of the United States");
  5. Lists can be used as platforms for original research and synthesis, but multiple sources can be used to justify or mask this approach.
The problem with Postdlf analysis is that he is refusing to look at evidence before him, but merely to label me as being incapable of "constructive discussion". However, this is a double edged sword, and could equally apply to his own standpoint. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 07:45, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
No, I don't agree that #1 is true at all; I agree with #2 but don't think it's a problem, rather evidence of the flexibility of how information can be organized and indexed; I agree with #3 that lists can be incomplete, but not that this makes it unreliable unless they claim a completeness the sources do not support; #4 and #5 are true, but those are equally true of prose articles compiled from multiple sources, and reasons for caution that can be addressed by editors, not grounds for absolute prohibitions on compiling lists.

But again, my problems with your behavior, and everyone else's problems with your behavior, are not simply because we disagree with you. "What is the substance of this criticism?" you asked, with no apparent irony. You don't seem to read what anyone else writes (as I stated right above in this thread), even when you purport to be responding to someone. And you don't advance your argument; you just repeat a position. And you repeat your position as if it's objective fact when everyone else has stated they disagree with it. A bot could accomplish the same thing. It's really remarkable that you could be the sole person in a discussion repeating an opinion that everyone else has disavowed, have multiple people in that discussion tell you that you're not contributing constructively, have multiple RFCs started about your behavior that come out in an overwhelming consensus that there's a problem...and you still don't think you're doing anything wrong? An argument does not have merit simply because it's been said. Its only merit is in its ability to persuade people. Your continuing failure to do that should be reason to reevaluate your methods and statement of premises, rather than to behave like a bot and keep spitting out the same phrases.

It's especially remarkable that you would unilaterally insist to others that your interpretation of guidelines and policies is the only correct view, as if no one else has the ability to read. All after it's been clearly demonstrated that your interpretations were causing you to commit copyright infringement. Everyone has been hoping that would be an opportunity for self-reflection on your part. It still can be. postdlf (talk) 15:34, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

If you don't accept argument #1, then this helps to clarify our disagreement, but also it it is central to this discussion because the external validation of topics by reliable sources is the corner stone of WP:BURDEN.
I don't think our disagreement is a behavioural problem, just a disagreement about how WP:V applies to lists, and I can understand why such a disagreement could arise, because none of the list guidelines describe the mechanism by which a list topic can be verified. My understanding about how verifiablity applies to lists is "whether readers can check that material (e.g. a list) in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true".
Homemade lists are problematical from a verification point of view. Like any article that contravenes WP:NOT, it is possible to prove that a list's content is verifiable, but it is not possible to verify that the topic exists unless the list has been published before.
I could be mistaken (and freely admit it), but it seems to be that publication is key to understanding whether a list topic exists or not, because publication is the only direct and unambigious evidence that a list topic exists. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 08:11, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Behavioural discussion

I'm going to break out into a separate discussion. Elen of the Roads is having one debate with you and it's a valid one. I'll chime in on the topic for a moment: I think we have a serious problem with lists, and that our guidelines for when they are appropriate and when they are not are excessively loose and prone to abuse. I think we need to establish a reasonable guideline for establishing both when a list is worth having and the sourcing required to document that an individual item belongs on a list.

That said, the stance that you are taking on the topic has left you isolated. I believe that you are the only person that holds your stance. There's nothing specifically wrong with that: I believe things that put me in some very small minorities as well. Compare your stance, for example, to my stance that the amount of material derived from independent sources in an article must greatly exceed the material derived from the plot. In my mind, I'm clearly right: there's no reading of WP:V that can yield any other answer. Yet, my efforts to get articles deleted on that basis have invariably failed. When I bring it up in debates with fiction fans they act as if I'm a maniac, even though they can't marshal a single coherent defense. As a result, I argue this very gingerly. If I bring it up and get some people supporting it, I'll run with it. If I'm booed off the stage, I may continue debating, but I have no illusion that I'm going to get to override consensus based on the simple fact that I'm right. Occasionally, I succeed in getting a article improved based on it.

Note where that has gotten me: look over WP:Requests for adminship/Kww, WP:Requests for adminship/Kww 2, WP:Requests for adminship/Kww 3, and WP:Requests for adminship/Kww 4, and take a look at the change in overall tone, despite that fact that Kww 4 believes precisely the same things that Kww does. By arguing carefully and judiciously, I've gained people's respect for my opinions, and may some day actually accomplish my goals. At the very least, they trust my behaviour, and know that I will not start pressing the delete button and getting rid of articles just because I think they should go.

On the other hand, you've managed to alienate a section of the community that now won't listen to you at all about lists, which means that you've made it very difficult, if not impossible, for you to have significant influence over list guidelines. Do you see that you need to be less argumentative and less forceful if you want that to change?—Kww(talk) 17:56, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Just to say, totally irrelevantly, that I really want a badge that says "If you want to know the plot, read the damn book!" --Elen of the Roads (talk) 12:46, 9 October 2010 (UTC)
I think there are many issues to unbundle. Setting aside the validity of my views for a moment, I think everyone could do with a more friendly editing style, but that is a very sophisticated writing style. I come from the "I just want the facts, ma'am" school of correspondence, but in fairness to me, I think my form of expression is clear and direct, although some editors think this is "bluntness". I can read through the RFA's if you think it is worth it, but it might be more helpful if you point out where your style has changed. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:38, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
I think the point has passed you by. Not many are bothered by your bluntness, and I don't care much about them. It's the perceived deafness that gives everyone pause. When it's you against the world, you proceed to act as if the world doesn't matter. What I'm trying to get you to understand is that when it's you against the world, the world matters, even when it's wrong. You can't proceed to make edits that you know will be reverted and make arguments you know will fail. You need to learn to bide your time, argue when appropriate, and take advantage of situations when they arise. As it stands right now, you are the only person arguing that for a list to be notable, some outside source must have produced the identical list. Right or wrong, you've lost, and continuing to argue will only convince people that you are uncompromising, not that you have a point.—Kww(talk) 23:22, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Kww, I hope this has given you a clear idea of the problem, and I humbly submit that it's not Gavin's forthright arguing style that has got everyone set against him. I appreciate he may be feeling a little beleaguered by now, and I actually would not have blamed him had he said "@~$! you!" to my last post, as likening him to inventors of perpetual motion machines could be seen as insulting (not my intention, but I would withdraw that remark if asked). However, instead what he says is my argument stands and yours has been debunked]. Debunked? In what other universe is this true? This is a view of reality that is one pace to the side of the rest of us and, more seriously, it is an approach to the world that I would argue is incompatible with editing Wikipedia. What happens if at the end of a discussion in which everyone has concluded that X is the way to go, one person says "you have not proved your case, my argument stands and yours is debunked". And then that person proceeds to undo the consensus X and do Y. What happens? People hold an RFC/U, people go to ANI, there is an Arbcom case, the person gets topic banned, blocked, banned. It's not good, however you look at it. Maybe you can find a way to get Gavin to see this - I believe you're the one who worked the oracle with the copyvios. Otherwise, I can't see a way out of this. Elen of the Roads (talk) 22:40, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

I think the mechanism by which lists become notable has been debunked, and this is at the heart of the debate. Many editors have said (in so many words) that "List of X" is notable because topic "X" is notable, but I say this is a description of inherited notability in all but name, the reason being is that there is no evidence to support this view. Again, attacking me does not invalidate this agrument. Kindly note that I do not attack you as an editor; rather I disagree with your views. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 07:51, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Gavin, I understand that you think your case is watertight. However, you are one editor. No-one else agrees with you. Even if you were right, you've lost this argument. Can't you see that? Elen of the Roads (talk) 13:02, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
I think I understand part of what's going on here. My current conclusion, Gavin, is that you do not recognize any validity to what Wikipedia calls a "list article" at all — an "angle" or "view" on information the characteristics of which are defined by editors is anathema to you. What you see as valid is an article that happens to be about a list — i.e. there is some list in the world, like the Thomas Register or the National Register of Historic Places, which is notable under the GNG, so that should have an article. Confusion and hilarity ensue when you replace Wikipedia's concept of list articles with this, in your mind, and proceed to speak and act as if that were a done deal. Does this seem to be accurate? —chaos5023 (talk) 14:10, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
I disagree. Rather I read in deletion discussions about lists that the reason for deletion is unclear. Take List of chemical compounds with unusual names (nominated for the 4th time for deletion) for example. No one is clear as why or why not this list should feature in Wikipedia other than it components are notable. Confusion is rife, and rather than saying I have "lost the argument", I would say my views are at least clear. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 14:28, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Hmm. You seem to have coatracked my thought, there. Well, as may be; the "I disagree" at least is responsive. That deletion discussion is interesting; I see arguments near to your heart (that the topic is, surprising as it may be, a subject of publication in reliable sources) being treated as significant. I wonder if you find this encouraging. —chaos5023 (talk) 14:40, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Gavin, I agree with you 100%. Your views are incredibly clear. They are just completely out of sync with the great majority of the rest of the community. There is an element of Common Law in play here. There are 56,000 + lists in WP that by and large comply with current policies and guidelines. There is extraordinary precedent here that is by and large respected by the community. We all know you don't like or agree with that precedent, but you must acknowledge that it exists, and those who support it cannot be accused of not understanding current policy. All that KWW and ER are asking of you is that you acknowledge that your views on lists, no matter how strongly you believe in them, do not reflect current policy and practice and that accusing those of us who disagree with your views aren't doing so because we don't understand current practice or policy.--Mike Cline (talk) 15:34, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
In answer to Chaos, I agree with you, for what you describe as a "list article", I would consider an amalagam of sources arrranged as if it were a previously published list, that is not really a topic per se, and as such conflicts with Wikipedia content policies.
I think you have to be clear in your own mind what these "homebrew" lists are trying to achieve with the sources they contain. If editors compiling an amalgam of prose sources into a list, would you not concede that such sources would be better used if they were put into a prose article that provides more context than a list? I think the argument that you and Mike are trying to rest your arguments on is that, if we slice and dice enough sources and put them in a list, then "Hay presto!", a new list topic is created, and editors can create as many new list topics as they like ("The potential for creating lists is infinite" per WP:SALAT). My approach is the opposite: why create barebone lists at all, if a prose article can be fleshed out? Why use silk to make a pigs ear? Do you follow my meaning?
This really follows on to my other knockout reason why I think homemade lists don't cut the mustard. If you have an amalgam of sources that address the topic of, say, a series of chemical compounds, then why not write prose articles about these substances? The reason why you should do is, if the source address the topic of compound directly and in detail, then the sources be put into an article about these topics, not into a list topic which the sources are only loosely associated with, e.g. List of chemical compounds with unusual names. It seems to me that "genuine" list topic is only going to be the subject of sources that adddress it directly and in detail, namely the published list itself, and the sources that comment upon that list. It seems to me that homebrew lists are topics for which no primary source exists. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 17:18, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Gavin, you are the master of WP:DEADHORSE, a horse which is now in a complete state of putrifaction. We don't agree with your position, neither does the majority of the community. That's what you need to acknowledge. --Mike Cline (talk) 17:36, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Mike Cline—I "agree" with Gavin Collins. More importantly I firmly believe that it it is not he who has been all along beating a dead horse, but rather those arrayed against him. That is because those of you arrayed against him have been making of what could have been fruitful discussions the sort of tedium that has lead to the present impasse in which policy upgrading on article-creation sourcing has been derailed. Policy thus languishes, whereby progress could have been made in addressing issues that have not at all gone away. Bus stop (talk) 18:29, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Bus Stop, you have demonstrated that your voluminous agreement with Gavin is completely uncritical (being ignorant of the actual positions involved and finding them ridiculous until informed that Gavin holds them, at which point you turn to bizarre claims that asking to know what those positions are is an unfair persecution of Gavin). I do not consider you to be credible in this discussion. —chaos5023 (talk) 18:35, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Chaos5023—I think that some entities stand on inherently firmer footing on Wikipedia than other entities. Prose articles on stand-alone topics, well-defined in sources, are at the top of that hierarchy of entities that Wikipedia presents. Other entities and aspects of Wikipedia's panoply of editorial output are on far shakier ground. You cannot speak of Lists using the assumptions you bring to straightforward articles.
What I have noticed is the excruciating tedium that others have brought to these discussions. Gavin was not questioned on points that would have facilitated progress in these discussions; Gavin was questioned on minutia and diversions which only served to cause these discussions to grind to a standstill. And now Gavin is being blamed for wasting everyone's time, when it is those who were arrayed against him who deprived Wikipedia of the opportunity to make progress in revising sourcing-requirements and related guidelines. Bus stop (talk) 18:41, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
"You cannot speak of Lists using the assumptions you bring to straightforward articles." Oddly enough, this whole argument is based around Gavin doing precisely that :). However, I'm hoping we can move on from this to see if we can find a modified debating strategy that allows for more congenial discussion. Elen of the Roads (talk) 19:01, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
In fairness to Gavin, he's responding to my inquiries regarding his POV, not just holding forth because he feels like it. I suspect that some may feel I'm derailing a behavioral discussion by making those inquiries, but I'm kinda of the feeling that if we want somebody to change their behavior, it behooves us to try to understand it better; demanding behavioral change without that effort smacks of coercion rather than community. —chaos5023 (talk) 18:02, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, and this is his talk page, not a policy discussion. avin, for the sake of moving the discussion forward, would you be willing to provide a brief summary of what you believe Elen of the Roads is trying to tell you? --Nuujinn (talk) 19:45, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
In fairness to myself, I think this discussion about "behavioural" problems has been sidelined into a mudslinging match, and there also appear to be some form of "stonewalling competition" being run in parallel, just as Bus Stop describes. Everytime we discuss the notability of lists, that seems to be an opportunity for one or more editors to pile in with a personal attack, or with some assertion (usually backed up by a trite example) that "proves" a point.
For instance, I am quite shocked that the mudslinging that has gone on here by the likes of, Mike Cline or postdlf is continuing unchecked. If I had carried on like this, I would have been banned long ago, and with good justification. If we are going to discuss behaviour, then I would be most grateful if editors would do so with clean hands. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 08:45, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
I entirely agree that the discussion has degenerated to the extent that I have asked if the other contributors can cease. For my part, I was attempting to understand both your view and your style (rather than intending to argue with you), and am happy to strike anything you believe overstepped the mark. 'Hearse up a staircase' was intended to be witty, but I have had concerns since about likening you to a perpetual motion machine.

OK, everybody shut up! Thank you :)

This is not the place to rehash the argument about lists, and it's just getting acrimonious. If I could politely ask everyone else to please pause from weighing in for the moment, it might be helpful.

What I've been trying to do is to tease out what Gavin's position is and, more importantly, how he argues his case. Now, let's try a thought experiment Gavin (not everyone else yet please). List of countries by Nobel laureates per capita is was a steaming pile [15]. If all lists were like that, Gavin's campaign to get rid of them would be applauded by all. But the question is, what is the MINIMUM standard necessary to be absolutely certain that this list won't be kept? Does it already exist - I think it does, as I think WP:OR covers it. Could it be written better - perhaps. Could it be included in the guidelines for lists - certainly. So the question is, if you can only make a MINIMUM change to the relevant guidelines, what would it be?

It's not a trick question, but I have an ulterior motive. I want to see if you could possibly adapt - even just as a thought experiment - to working by increment.--Elen of the Roads (talk) 18:52, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Note, one of the contributors to the article initially could not see the problem [16], but after a short conversation [17] has stripped all the OR out of the article [18] and decided that what's left might as well be placed in with an existing list. Elen of the Roads (talk) 23:48, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
My first question would be, what is the primary source of this list? The reason I ask is that I don't remember anything about the Nobel foundation awarding prizes to countries, or even recognising which country each laurate comes from or represents. It is possible that a list of nobel laurate's by country has been published, but I don't see such a list cited in this article. I can't prove that this list topic is made up, nor can I prove that its content is a synthesis, but on the other hand, I can't prove the opposite is true either. The knockout evidence that this is a notable list topic would be that the list has been published (not just as a BBC graphic), and that the list has been "noted" in accordance with WP:N. I don't see evidence of this, and I don't see any sources to support the leading statements in the list article that more or less define the list topic. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:43, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
I'd agree with you. The elements of the list aren't notable. Each Nobel laureate is notable and has an article of course, but this isn't a list of Nobel laureates. The BBC list of prizes by country is published - check the page, there's a link to download the spreadsheet. It's certainly reliable, but it does have a POV - it translates everything into modern countries, and invented its own rules about Poland and Belarus, people who were born in one country and won the prize while working in another, and group prizes. The Nobel foundation has a different list, with different rules.
So there is a query as to whether simply reproducing the BBC list is of any value. Then you add on that the creator of the article has obtained from a variety of sources figures for the 2010 population of the modern countries identified by the BBC, and divided the number of Nobel awards per country as defined by the BBC into the population as defined by a number of sources, mostly the CIA. It's classic OR
So how might we alter WP:SALAT to make it clear that this kind of list is not desirable? Elen of the Roads (talk) 20:31, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
My intial proposal at WT:SAL#Notability of lists has already been rejected, so I am not really sure how to take this further without being accused of "flogging a dead horse". --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 20:48, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Pad feet

FYI, I have been giving you as an example at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Pad feet and the spinoff discussion at WP:V. Colonel Warden (talk) 14:44, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

I don't see the topic as being notable myself, as there seems to be a complete lack of significant coverage at this time. There are probably thousands of terms used in furniture making, from decorations, embellishements and furniture features such as Duck feet that are not notable in their own right. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 17:25, 11 October 2010 (UTC)


Gavin, your continued harping at the list/notability RFC is becoming disruptive... please stop. We get it... you disagree with some of the proposals that have gained consensus, and you are disappointed that some of your views didn't gain consensus. There is no need to get pointy about it. It simply makes people even less likely to listen to you. Blueboar (talk) 17:56, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Consenus is a good thing, but it can't be used like a stick to beat down dissenting views. If you have a disagreement with my views, then address come up with solid arguments to persuade me that I am wrong. So far I have seen nothing to suggest that "List of X" is notable because "X" is notable actually makes any logical sense. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 08:32, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
Gavin, as experienced editors, our responsibility to WP is to ensure contributors understand and apply WP policies from the Consensus point of view. It is not our responsibility to spend extraordinary energy convincing dissenters why their views don’t mesh with community consensus. On the other hand dissenters, fully entitled to their views, have an obligation and responsibility to explain those views in a non-disruptive way. But once explained and understood, the community and individual contributors can choose to change their views or reject the views of the dissenter. Over the past months, it is evident that your explanations, to whatever level they have been understood, have not changed the views of the majority in the various discussions. Thus clear community consensus does not agree with your views on lists, notability, etc. I personally don’t believe Consensus is being cited to silence your dissent, but merely to point out that your continued lack of deference to Consensus in discussions is disruptive. And despite WP:IAR, WP doesn’t function well when civil disobedience it driving policy change. To that end, I am going to suggest, one more time, that for the time being, instead of inserting snippets of your views on Lists, notability, etc. into on-going discussions, you combine your views on these subjects into a comprehensive personal essay in your user space. Your responsibility in that essay would be to lay out your views and philosophies about what WP ought to be and how its policies should shape the encyclopedia. I believe it would be very interesting reading. More importantly it would not be disruptive and it would allow the community to evaluate your views in a manner that would not impede the day to day improvement of the encyclopedia—as many of us believe your current behavior does. Please consider this as an alternative to the status quo which it wearing thin. Thanks --Mike Cline (talk) 13:15, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, Mike, I won't take your bait. I have aleady set out my views on the lessons learnt from the RFC on lists, and they are there for all to read. They won't be going away anytime soon, so I suggest you read them and see how they stand up to your own opinions on the notability of list topics. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 13:45, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
Gavin, you need to develop an 'agree to differ' strategy. Being asked to modify your behaviour is not the same as being asked to give up your position. In this case, the rest of the family have voted to take their holiday at Mall of America, and unlike Paul Hennessy you do not get a casting vote, power of veto, or any other special dispensation that allows you to override that consensus and go somewhere else. No-one has to convince you that you are wrong. People have decided that something else is right. What you have got to do is find a way to agree to differ, or you're heading towards not being able to edit at all. Elen of the Roads (talk) 14:13, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
Agree to disagree is fine by me. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 14:19, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
Ok, that's positive. So how do you see yourself going about it. How will you modify the behaviour that seems to be annoying everyone (disrupting the closing of the RfC, still asking people to show how their view meets your requirements etc) in order to show that you are agreeing to differ. Elen of the Roads (talk) 15:20, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
No one is trying to beat down a dissenting view. I don't think there's a single person at the RFC who isn't aware of your opinion. But consensus is not unanimity. And consensus shouldn't be used as like stick so that one person can beat on everyone else until they give in or give up. As we see in many discussions, we eventually have to move forward. Shooterwalker (talk) 15:41, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
I think the consensus is capable of accomodating views that sit inside the existing framework of Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, and that is where my ideas sit. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 17:14, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
It's capable of it. But it doesn't have to. When you're one against the world... you can either try to realize that capability by reaching out and compromising. Or you can choose to sit in the margins. There's nothing wrong with being a voice in the margins by the way. But if you want to see what happens to that marginal voice who acts as though their views are policy I can show you the bodies. Trust me that there's other editors who want that fate for you. Not me though. I'm trying to help you... not warn you. Understand? Shooterwalker (talk) 19:36, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
But I am not one against the world. Wikipedia policies and guidelines were drawn up by many other editors wiser and more clever than myself. If my "dissenting" views run contrary to the spirit and practise of policy and guidelines in the same way that those of A Nobody or Pixelface did, then I would agree with you whole heartedly that I am a marginal voice. However, the idea put forward by Blueboar that lists inherit notability from other topics is a notability fallacy, and this has not been picked up in your summary. The idea that "List of X" notable because "X" is clearly a statement of inherited notability that is based on a convenient fiction that has been debunked a long time ago. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 02:50, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
Keep in mind that you just realized a few weeks ago that your idea of perfect "no original research" turned out to be full on copyright violation. Something else to keep in mind... A Nobody and Pixelface also believed they had policy on their side and that everyone else had misread or wikilawyered the policy to push an evil agenda. But interpretation of policy is whatever WP:CONSENSUS says it is. I'm not sure what else to say to you to make you understand how paramount WP:CONSENSUS is. You're so certain that you're right and everyone else is wrong. Just keep in mind that "everyone else" is the definition of a WP:CONSENSUS. And that same WP:CONSENSUS is holding an axe over your head. You can't afford to believe that grounding your views in policy is going to protect you from everyone else grounding their views in policy... including behavioral policies. Shooterwalker (talk) 07:51, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
Your personal attack on me does not invalidate my views on lists. You have expressed your views on lists already in the RFC summary, but mixing my mistake on copyright violation with lists is a cheap shot. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:06, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

One more pass

I haven't been a very active mentor the last few weeks, and that is partly because being a mentor requires that the person being mentored have an active desire to listen. I have to admit that I don't have that impression of you.

I'm very concerned over your recent edits where your actions were interpreted as portraying Shooterwalker's moves to get the RFC closed as a purely personal act on Shooterwalker's part. Leaving aside for the moment the questions of whether that was what you meant and whether or not you are right, don't you see that your edits were guaranteed to backfire? That there was no possible result other than you losing ground in the debate?—Kww(talk) 16:57, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

As I see it, the idea that "List of X" is notable because "X" is notable is an idea not support by policy and guidelines, and I have made this clear in the RFC. It seems this view is disputed, but then the notability of lists is a controversial subject area. In order to summarise the RFC, I would have thought it fair to agree to disagree, and in doing so at least acknowledge alternative views. However, to his credit, Shooterwalker did go to the effort to summarise the RFC, which is not a bad thing. I just thought I would bring it to his attention that I did not think his summary entirely representative of the discussions. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 17:13, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
I can understand that motivation. Do you understand that it backfired?—Kww(talk) 17:38, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
Not to interrupt... because Kww is trying to make an important point that warrants a thoughtful response. If it would make you feel better I would gladly acknowledge that you disagree. But what me and others are trying to show you is that it doesn't matter where we disagree. RFC is a method of dispute resolution. You're supposed to resolve a dispute by finding out where we agree. That's why the summary shows principles where we agree instead of wading into all those other contentious issues. And we should be thrilled that people largely agree that notability applies to lists! That's a huge step considering the number of people who thought lists were an exception to policies and guidelines about articles. That's the point: take what we agree on now and use it as a step to forge further agreements. I want you to understand that point too because I think that would make these RFCs much more productive. Not just for Wikipedia but for you too. Shooterwalker (talk) 19:44, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
At the end of the day, it is entirely Shooterwalker's decision to summarise the findings of the RFC in the way that he has done: I can't control that. He is quite right, it does not matter where or when we disagree, or whether the issues I have raised get included or excluded from the summary: its out of my hands at this point, as I can't be in all discussions all of the time. Shooterwalker might be thrilled that people largely agree that notability applies to lists. However, Blueboar's proposition that "List of X" is notable because "X" is notable is a de facto exemption from WP:N for lists in all but name, as it is an idea wholly reliant on the debunked argument outlined in WP:NOTINHERITED. This is the first bone of contention in the RFC, which Blueboar et al refuse to acknowledge, and is an issue Shooterwalker has not included in his summary.
At this point, I must return to the key point that I made about such an exemption for lists before the RFC began. When Masem suggested that consensus (in the form of AFD's) determines the notability of lists, I responded:
"...there is no evidence to suggest that the "List of Masonic buildings" is notable, and that is the only set of inclusion criteria in Wikipedia. If you want to propose an exemption for this list, why not make a formal proposal to this effect[19]."
I think it fair to say that no editor is going to put forward an exemption for lists: its an obvious way to get around the notability guideline. But as things stand, Blueboar's proposition is such an exemption in all but name, and this is the first problem that has to be addressed. However, this is old news, and to some extent a summary of the RFC has already been made in the discussion "Following on from the RFC".--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 02:40, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
Gavin, speaking as someone who has been booed off stage even louder than you've ever been and threatened with an indef block in the process, trust me when I say there's a time to stand firm and fight and a time to admit defeat, put your head down, walk away and find something else on Wikipedia to care about while you still have your pride, editing rights and dignity left. Now is such a time. Vyvyan Basterd (talk) 03:18, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Can you please focus on the question I'm asking? I don't care what you think about lists. I don't care when you think they are good ideas, bad ideas, whatever. That is not what I am discussing. What I am trying to point out was that your edits were guaranteed to move acceptance of your position backwards rather than forwards. Do you recognize that that is the case?—Kww(talk) 03:55, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Gavin. Notability doesn't apply to lists themselves, but to the topic of the list. Lists aren't like other pages. Lists exist for Information, Navigation and Development purposes. But even more important Gavin, is the fact that the reason you've had multiple RFC's and an AFD filed against you is that you ignore consensus, and aggravate others while doing so. You've got four people here, including myself (and even more on the RFC pages), who are telling you that you are wrong. Now, is there any chance whatsoever that you'll change your stance and work toward a consensus? Or is it your plan to stick to your definition forever, regardless of the wishes of other Wikipedians? Seanr451 (talk) 20:35, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
Please stop inserting comments (not just you, but others also). Kww is trying to get Gavin to respond: cross-chatter isn't helpful.Elen of the Roads (talk) 20:44, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
I am not sure the problem is altogether about me, if at all. In a normal discussion about the notability of topics, editors would weigh up the discussions in a fair, balanced and courteous way: those that are useful would be discussed, and those that are not are discarded. Now I am not claiming that my ideas are useful or should not be discarded, for I "think it possible that I may be mistaken" about my views. But there is something very dysfunctional about he way the discussion about the lists has taken place.
Instead of new ideas being discussed for their merits, it seems mine have been ignored in a systematic way. I can't account for this behaviour, but the way that I see things is that a lot of editors have invested a lot of effort in creating list topics that have no real world equivalent, and technically speaking, are not verifiable topics, but have been madeup because they seem plausible. Those editors recognise that my ideas are a serious threat to the "consensus", and are in no way to prepare to accept the paradigm shift that is about to take place with regard to the notability of lists. They are prepared to do anying to paint me and my ideas in a bad image.
Any editor that challenges the status quo on list is going to draw alot of opposition, and it is natural that various ad hominem attacks are a way of trying to stifle debate. Of course my views go against consensus, for my opinion is the dissenting viewpoint, but it should be fairly examined and accommodated as a matter of courtesy, if not as matter of process. The problem with ad hominem attacks is that they have nothing to do with lists per se; they are simply a rhetorical device for making my idea seem taboo. During this debate, I have been the frequent victim of multiple ad hominem attacks: so many in fact, that the RFC on lists can be used as a case study for such attacks in the future. Yet I do not recall making a single personal attack on any editor during the debate. What I have done is to set out my ideas in a clear fashion to demonstrate the merit and validity. I have no gripe about lists, but I do find it strange that so many weird or unpublished topics (e.g. List of Masonic buildings, List of Heroes characters should be so given the weight in an encyclopedia that is essentially about notable topics, when in fact little or nothing has been said about these topics in the real world.
I see Wikipedia on the threshold of being able to understand what these lists are about: whether they are about real world topics, or whether they just seemed like a a good idea at the time. For the time being, mine is the dissenting view, but this will change. For the time being, every attempt I make to discuss this issue will be labeled as "disruption", no matter what venue I choose.
This is the nature of being a dissenter: you are surrounded by people with different views than your own, and the treatment I will receive from them may not be courteous, fair or balanced as result. In this instance, I am reminded of the unofficial motto of the 101st Airborne Division: "We are the Airborne Division, we are supposed to be surrounded!". So in answer to Kww, no matter where I go with these ideas, or how I express them, they are going to be put in a bad light by my opponents. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 23:06, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
Unfortuately on Wikipedia, there is no right or wrong. Just as we've replaced a standard of truth with a standard of verifiability (for articles), we've replaced a standard of merit with a standard of consensus (for decisions). It's going to be hard for you to continue on Wikipedia if you believe the problem is the people who are surrounding you. Because there are editors who take a different tact than you when they're surrounded. The point: when I'm surrounded it doesn't matter if my ideas are actually better. The only courtesy I get is my right to believe my opinion, not my right to be validated or included. That's how consensus works. Shooterwalker (talk) 23:44, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

At this point, I no longer see any reason to believe that a mentor relationship with you will be fruitful for either of us.—Kww(talk) 00:02, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

That is up to Kww, and I can understand his position. I was looking forward to working through some examples at the article Profession, but I admit this might be overly time consuming and might not appeal to him. However, if there is anything I can do to change his mind, then I am open to suggestion.
In answer to Shooterwalker, I agree there is no right or wrong in Wikipedia, but list topics, such as List of Presidents of the United States who knew a foreign language, that have no real world equivalent are not verifiable. I admit I could be wrong, but this seems to me to be how Wikipedia's policies and guidelines work, and it is clear to me a lot of editors don't like this clear and simple principle being described to them.--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:08, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Request to close RFC on Gavin.collins

FYI - Gavin. I have made a request to close the RFC currently open on you at [[20]] --Mike Cline (talk) 00:52, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

  • Mike, I am supprised you are notifying me of this, because you did not tell me about the RFC being drafted in the first place[21]. I did not participate in the RFC because of this, and I would advise other editors not to participate in an RFC unless they are given timely warning as a matter of courtesy, if not of process. However, I forgive you and I thank you for your courtesy in this instance. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:51, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
As I'm currently reading the RFC in order to possibly close it, I have to say that this was the wrong time to "cut off your nose to spite your face". Once you were made aware of the RFC, it was your responsibility to respond - claims of being snubbed no longer exist. I still believe that your response might go a long way against what appears to be pretty damning commentary. This is not a principle that you have even a short leg to stand on. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 20:36, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
  • I would just like to point out that Gavin's claim that he wasn't notified is simply not true. At the top of the his third RfC you can see it was created at 16:44, 14 September 2010. And according to this [22], notification was placed on Gavin's talk page a mere 5 minutes later. Seanr451 (talk) 22:17, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
    Gavin has built this idea that he wasn't notified out of not being included in the process of preliminary collaborative development of the RFC in userspace. Not that I would assign this position any validity. —chaos5023 (talk) 22:23, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
Absolutely zero validity, in fact. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 00:11, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Where I come from, everybody's views have validity. I don't know what is bothering you, but if you can spell this out without resorting to provocative personal attacks, that would be much appreciated. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 11:02, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Your view on an active RFC has 100% validity - hence I wonder why you fail to include you view. You have zero requirement or ability to comment on a draft RFC about you, and nor should you ever comment there. Wy do you fail to include your view on said RFC? (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 11:07, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
That is an interesting spin on your earlier comment: my views have "zero validity" on my talk page, but "100% validity" at an RFC. I am not sure I can make a cogent response to these conflicting statements.
In answer to your question, I think it important to maintain clear personal boundaries when it comes to disputes between editors. Not accepting personal attacks is one such boundry, another is courtesy, and another is mutual respect. If these personal boundries break down, subsequent discussion can degenerate into generalised mudslinging, which I think is what happened with the RFC's I have been the subject of. These RFC's have brought accusations that are too generalised to either prove or refute. As a generalisation, it is generally a good idea to avoid accusations based on generalisations, because I would end up being painted in a bad light whether I particiated or not.
With regard to the RFC, the lack of courtesy shown by not being notified of a draft being started is indicative of a lack of respect for myself, or at least that is my personal view (valid or not). Evidence support this view is indicated by the fact that if the proposers of the RFC were really interested in resolving their personal disagreements with me, they would have brought their pet peeves to this talk page first, and we could resolve them in an amicable way. Unfortunetly, that did not happen. I can only speculate why, but I think it has something to do with the inabilty of a group of editors (myself included) not being able to come to shared understanding of how notability applies to certain topics.
I am a reasonable editor, and I am confident when it comes to disputes (personal or editorial), a that shared understanding of the issues involved can be reached. But it can only come about in an atmosphere of mutual respect and courtesy.--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 11:42, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Pardon me for saying so, but what a gigantic load of BS. This is your third RFC. You were recently discussed at WP:AN. Your talkpage history shows that the issues were attempted to be dealt with. Where/when/how someone makes a draft of anything is none of your damned business. I personally draft articles offline, so what if the person had drafted their RFC offline? You have no ability, authority, or ethical reason to have any input into an RFC in draft mode. Stop acting like you're being hard done by; you failed to comment where it would have been in your best interest to comment. What a senseless choice no matter how much you try and play the martyr in the other direction. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 11:51, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
If you wish to engage in personal attacks on me, that is up to you. However, it does not invalidate my views, or give credence to yours. We will just have to agree to disagree. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 11:54, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Right, good advice is a personal attack. I'm not sure which part of what I said was a personal attack (after all, everything that is said as constructive criticism appears to be a personal attack to you). I don't agree to disagree - I'm sick of people who have a chance to defend themselves but don't, then bitch and whine about the results. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 11:59, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Gavin, would you agree to this?

Gavin, I posted this idea in the comments section of your current RFC/U [23]. There's not much support for the idea, but whatever support there is, exploring the idea depends entirely upon your response. Are you willing to discuss it?--Mike Cline (talk) 16:01, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Notice of issues re Gavin.collins at WP:AN

Hello. This message is being sent to inform you that there currently is a discussion at WP:AN regarding resolution of RFC/U 3. The thread is "Wikipedia:Administrators%27_noticeboard#Request_for_Administrator_resolution_of_Gavin.collins_RFC.2FU_and_other_issues".The discussion is about the topic Topic.Thank you. --Mike Cline (talk) 15:30, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

I have responded to the resolution[24], but if there are any further points I should address, let me know. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 17:21, 3 November 2010 (UTC)
It is encouraging that you have finally decided to weighin on the issues at hand. The Ostrich effect rarely works in a collaborative environment. It must be exceptionally clear to you that there is an array of editors and admins not pleased with your behavior on a wide variety of issues that want you banned from WP. At the risk of me offending them and as humbling it might be for you, I would ask that you seriously consider the topic ban approach I proposed in the RFC and most recently in the WP:AN discussion. I have no idea how the community will react if you chose to immediately accept such a ban and were willing to work with an uninvolved admin to work out the details. Its not an execution, but its pretty close to solitary confinement in lieu of execution. It may be too late, but I for one will support you should you unequivocally, and publically in the AN discussion, accept the principles I laid out in my recommendation and acknowledge to the community that you've erred. Someone quipped about there being no Last Chance policy in WP during the RFC. Even if there is no Last Chance policy, you must realize your options are thin and fragile. Let me know if I can help. Sincerely --Mike Cline (talk) 18:17, 3 November 2010 (UTC)
I think if you offer had been in good faith, you would have discussed it with me in the first instance on this talk page. Your so called "help" is actually nothing but generalised mudslinging. Clearly nothing I can say or do can alter the low opinion that you have of me, as I don't know why you want to accuse me of putting my head in the sand when I have already responded. Either we correspond with mutual respect, or you continue to attack me without good reason on your own. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 19:54, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

ANI Disucssion

The discussion is not that old yet, so consensus has some time to change, but a preliminary read based on the first 30-ish comments all being for banning or blocking you seems to be that you have exhausted the communities' patience.
I think that it would benefit you to consider a more stringent reform effort and discuss that in good faith on AN now. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 19:24, 3 November 2010 (UTC)
It will run and run if the last ANI thread is anything to go by, but if I can say can be accepted, then I have no defence, and thus I am damned if I do, and damned if I don't respond further. I can see a lot of people are annoyed with my participation in policy and guideline debates, but I can point to constructive and insightful ways I have contributed to many a discussion. I think a more even handed approach is needed if any sort of natural justice in these proceedings. I think you will agree that it is difficult, if not impossibl,e to correspond with the Wikipedia equivalent of a lynch mob. The situation is out of my hands at this time. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 19:48, 3 November 2010 (UTC)
It's not out of your hands. There's a few people who would go to bat for some kind of restricted editing which would give you a chance to redeem yourself. Your former mentor surely would. I would. I'm sure I could convince Mike Cline and Masem. Elen of the Roads and DGG are open to it. A few other editors have said they'd be open to it if you would only show some indication that you are willing to improve. But if you insist on interpreting the few remaining sympathetic and patient editors offering you advice as personal attacks, you stand zero chance. Shooterwalker (talk) 20:09, 3 November 2010 (UTC)]

Gavin this is excellent work and demonstrates that you can work with others and effectively create content. I would not like to see you banned entirely when you can contribute like this. If you would agree to strike that comment that Sarek objected to (accusing Mike of mudslinging), I would think an unblock request would be successful, so you can demonstrate that you are capable of working with people, rather than across them. Meanwhile, if you have anything that you want to add at AN, post it here and myself or one of the others watching will see it is added. Elen of the Roads (talk) 20:54, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

I understand your point about the lynch mob; we have a hard and unforgiving cutover when community patience gets to the point that a community ban proposal starts to succeed.
Unlike most situations where one is proposed, though, I think you have a lot of good edits and a chance to continue constructively going forwards. Kww's patience ran out, as has Sarek's, but Elen is here still trying to work with you, and I have come here to talk to you about it.
Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 22:18, 3 November 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, I wouldn't actually say it's too late. But you would have to put down the shovel and step away from the hole. —chaos5023 (talk) 22:20, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

November 2010

Stop x nuvola with clock.svg
You have been blocked from editing for a period of 24 hours for continuing to assume bad faith with editors who were trying to prevent this from happening. Once the block has expired, you are welcome to make useful contributions. If you would like to be unblocked, you may appeal this block by adding below this notice the text {{unblock|Your reason here}}, but you should read the guide to appealing blocks first. SarekOfVulcan (talk) 19:58, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

If you are refering to my response to Mike Cline as not being in good faith, then I would concur, but please consider that there is evidence to support this view: you should consider his motivation when he wrote the he was in "support of a sound thrashing for Gavin"[25].

Sometimes it is necessary to speak one's mind with candour, and I feel that an editor's talk page is a suitable forum in which we can be frank and honest with each other, so at the very least, I believe the correct venue for me to express my concerns about the lack of respect being shown to me. In fairness to Mike, I am sure this expression of a desire to exert physical punishment on me was a purely rhetorical device, but nonetheless, I view these comments and his subsequent "invitiation" ("Its not an execution, but its pretty close to solitary confinement in lieu of execution") as nothing but a thinly veiled expression of his personal annimosity for me. If I stand accused of being assuming bad faith, I plead guilty.

I am quite supprised that an administrator, such as SarekOfVulcan, should be seen to endorse such expressions of negative feelings for a fellow editor without at least discussing this issue with Mike Cline in tandem. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:40, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

Gavin, the paragraphs above display an utter irony that encapsulates in a strange way the primary issues the community has with your behavior. You absolutely know what WP:Consensus means and must clearly recognize situations where community consensus is antithetical to your positions. Yet you behave as they are not. You freely admit my comments contained rhetorical devices knowing full well how rhetorical phrases aid in the communication of points. Yet you ignored that and assumed my rhetoric was personal animosity toward you, using those assumptions to further your assumed position of being under attack from all sides. Your beliefs that my comments and outreach to you over the last year reflect a thinly veiled expression of his personal animosity for me could not be farther from the truth but we are well beyond that now. I am 62 years old but I remember my father’s sage advice: Son, I don’t care what they say about me, as long as they spell my name right. Gavin, you have always managed to spell my name correctly. For that, you have my appreciation. Gavin, you do not play well in collaborative environments. Best of luck to you.--Mike Cline (talk) 13:15, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
The point I was making was that if I had said I was in "support of a sound thrashing" for you or threatened you with the Wikipedia equivalent of "execution", or "solitary confinement in lieu of execution", I would have been blocked a long time ago, and with good cause. This language is way over the top, and I never heard of such rhetoric being used against me in all my living days...not in jest, not even by people who have taken a dislike to me. I once tackled a thief in a street, who naturally did not like take kindly to my intervention in his affairs, but aside from a few expletives, he never used such strongly language to express his dissatisfaction with my actions.
If you do have any personal issues about me, come clean and spit them out now, and then when we have resolved them, we should be able to correspond without the need to resort to such charged language. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 14:24, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
Matthew 23:24. postdlf (talk) 16:39, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
Gavin may have been better to read Matthew 7:3 (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 16:57, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
  • I have undone this block, per discussion at WP:ANI. It is important for the user to be afforded a chance to make a last minute response in case they want to try to avert being community banned, as seems to be the current direction of the discussion. Jehochman Talk 14:31, 4 November 2010 (UTC)


It seems likely at this point that you will soon have ample material with which to continue writing the story for yourself that you've been constructing, where you are a martyr to people's persecution or whatever. I'll interject here, before that continues, that if you're honest with yourself you'll eventually recognize that you are a martyr solely to your own inflexibility, especially since Kww worked hard to tell you, step-by-step, how to have exactly the Wikipolitics you do and not get voted off the island. —chaos5023 (talk) 22:08, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

Could you list those steps please, so that we both know what you are refering to? --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 10:01, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
It's unfair to say that I gave you a step by step approach. I did not do so. I did, however, begin the topic User talk:Gavin.collins#Behavioural discussion with general advice, terminated by a specific question: "Do you see that you need to be less argumentative and less forceful if you want that to change?" I do not see that I ever received a reply to that question, except in the sense that your actions answered it in the negative. When I tried again, I specifically asked "Leaving aside for the moment the questions of whether that was what you meant and whether or not you are right, don't you see that your edits were guaranteed to backfire? That there was no possible result other than you losing ground in the debate?" You sidestepped, explaining the motive, but not answering the question of whether you had sensed in advance that you were shooting yourself in the foot. I then followed with "Can you please focus on the question I'm asking? I don't care what you think about lists. I don't care when you think they are good ideas, bad ideas, whatever. That is not what I am discussing. What I am trying to point out was that your edits were guaranteed to move acceptance of your position backwards rather than forwards. Do you recognize that that is the case?", a question which generated three paragraphs of discussion about lists, and the statement that "no matter where I go with these ideas, or how I express them, they are going to be put in a bad light by my opponents". I can see how you might have thought that was an answer, but it wasn't. You have failed throughout to engage my basic line of questioning: when you know your action is only going to make things worse, why do it? Underlying that, of course, is the question "Are you able to exercise reasonable judgment about the consequences of your actions?"—Kww(talk) 13:33, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
I am sorry if I did not answer your questions in the way you wished. My answer is no, if you believe this to be the case, and the evidence suggests that you are entirely correct. I guess the answer is moot anyway, but that thank you for taking time out to consider my position in any case. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 08:04, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Site Ban

Per discussion at WP:AN you have been (are about to be) banned from Wikipedia.[26] If you want to add anything else to the conversation, please do so. Jehochman Talk 15:32, 4 November 2010 (UTC) and 18:11, 4 November 2010 (UTC)


With this edit, I hereby inform you that following a discussion on the Administrators' Noticeboard that you have been banned from editing Wikipedia. Please see my closing comments at the AN, especially as they relate the the standard offer. Courcelles 19:02, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

  1. ^ Dickens: "A Christmas Carol"