Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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Encourage use of "watcher" in place of "stalker" on talk pages[edit]

This idea stems from a discussion at the harassment policy regarding the possibly offensive use of "stalk", "stalking", "stalker" when talking about people on Wikipedia. It was decided several years ago to mark the WP:STALK shortcut historical due to the potential for offending users, and since the change there has been a note there advising editors that it should not be used.

Many of you who have edited user talk pages in the past have seen the {{talk page stalker}} template used as a neutral indicator that a comment is not from the owner of the talk page but from someone else who watches the page. The template links to Wikipedia:Talk page stalker which explains the template's use, and there are several related templates and userboxes floating around the project for this purpose. Recently, User:NeilN created a new template {{talk page watcher}} to allow the use of a similar template without needing to use the terminology that some users find offensive (and others have stated they find confusing). That template has been nominated for deletiondiscussion and that seems to be resulting in a snowball keep, with several commenters saying they prefer the new template over the old. That indicates to me that there is consensus to adopt this change (stalker -> watcher) across the project, and I would like to test that here.

I propose that in the project-side context of an editor who participates in discussions on other users' talk pages ([formerly] a "talk page stalker"), "watcher" should replace or be preferred to "stalker" in any place it occurs on the project.

This proposal includes:

This proposal does not include changes to the existing {{talk page stalker}} template such as changing its wording or redirecting it to the new template - it is transcluded nearly 10,000 times and changes to it will break things. Some users will want to continue using those templates or won't know about this change - they should be discouraged but not forcibly prevented from using it.

Cheerfully submitted; Ivanvector (talk) 21:47, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

  • (watching) Support - NQ (talk) 22:45, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Weak support. Providing that both terms can be used at editors discretion, as appears to be the case. However see my comment downthread suggesting Talk Page Helper Irondome (talk) 22:50, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support Seems perfectly sensible. Sam Walton (talk) 22:53, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose This is like trying to rename notability again. I don't see why we should get rid of this terminology, provided that a less potentially-offensive template is available for situations (newbies or otherwise) where it would be inappropriate - it was for this reason I !voted keep at the TfD. It's only a humour page, and changing this would detract from that. BethNaught (talk) 22:56, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
    • There's no "getting rid" of any terminology, just encouraging a less ambiguous usage. Sam Walton (talk) 23:15, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment It was my understanding of the above that the essay (which is great) will still stand? After it does say "sometimes termed "watcher".." in the essay. Im hoping that can be left untouched, maybe a few tweaks to the banner headline? My vote depends on this and the level of "encouragement" to switch. I hope this is not PC related stuff.. Irondome (talk) 23:03, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose I dont have a problem with an alternate template if users want to use it, but it should point to Wikipedia:Talk page stalker rather than creating a parallel universe. The TPS page makes it clear about the use of the term and I see no reason to make any changes. MilborneOne (talk) 23:07, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
    User:MilborneOne, the proposal would be to rename talk page stalker to talk page watcher. There would be no parallel universe, just the same one with a slightly different name. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 00:35, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
    Happy to for watcher template to link to stalker but I dont see any reason to rename anything. MilborneOne (talk) 20:56, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Ehhhhh... - Stalking is bad (m'kay?), but each way of fixing this I can see leaves something broken. The "other related changes that may be required" would have also been better left implied under WP:COMMONSENSE, since having it explicitly stated could be misconstrued as a borderline carte blanche. Ian.thomson (talk) 23:41, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
    Allow me to explicitly state here that carte blanche was and is not my intent. I simply thought I would probably miss something if I tried to list every change that would be necessary. Of course common sense is implied. Sorry for the confusion. Ivanvector (talk) 02:11, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support {{talk page stalker}} can be misleading and confusing. Users could misinterpret that as offensive. (talk) 23:43, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose Wikipedia cant please everyone, "watcher" is too broad in meaning. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 23:52, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Regarding the essay (replying to several comments above): to be clear, the intent is to keep but modify Wikipedia:Talk page stalker by seriously downplaying the use of "talk page stalker" on that page, but not removing it completely because people are obviously used to it, and hopefully not changing the meaning of the essay. The idea is not to cluebat users into enforcing the change; regarding the "level of encouragement", the idea is limited to creating a sort of "new normal" by making changes to the essay. To that end I've created a draft of what it could look like; please have a look at User:Ivanvector/Talk page watcher. I think I've done a decent job of downplaying "stalker" while maintaining the jaguar analogy, and I think this fits in better with the theme of our other "wikifauna" pages (like WP:WikiGryphon, WP:WikiOgre, WP:WikiGnome, etc).

    As for redirecting {{talk page watcher}}, if no changes are made to the essay then redirecting there defeats the purpose of eliminating the reference to "stalking" in the template. If there is no consensus to modify the essay, I would prefer if the watcher template redirected somewhere else, like Help:Watching pages, or a new essay for this purpose.

    And regarding political correctness, yes this is a form of that. There are users here (new and established) who have experienced criminal stalking online and in real life, and who find the idea of people "stalking" their user spaces hostile and intimidating. We should be sensitive to that, and it's not difficult for us to be sensitive to that by making this change. There are other users who simply find "talk page stalking" confusing, and this also helps that. Ivanvector (talk) 02:08, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

  • As I recall, the "TPW" template was actually created at either my request, or the request of Durova; while she and I disagreed on many things, we both agreed that the "stalker" terminology was inappropriate, intimidating, and a few other descriptors that I'll leave out. Stalking is a serious thing, and concerns about personal safety and internet stalking have often been cited as reasons that women or people with a personal history of being stalked do not participate on Wikipedia. The use of the term "talk page stalker" is just one more example of the systemic biases found on this project. Risker (talk) 02:38, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
    But one can choose to be a stalker if one wishes, is that correct? Irondome (talk) 02:56, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
    Irondome, I don't know if you intended it that way, but that has to be one of the creepiest things anyone has ever said to me on Wikipedia. Why in heaven's name would I wish to be a stalker? I've just finished saying that stalking is a serious and potentially frightening thing. Risker (talk) 03:15, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
    I meant the traditional usage of the term as is used on WP, obviously. Irondome (talk) 03:18, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
    Thank you for proving my point. It's incredibly creepy to suggest to someone who points out the offensiveness of the term "stalker" that they could be a stalker if they wanted. Risker (talk) 03:53, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
    I have proved nothing. I merely wished clarification that if some users wish to use the old WP terminology, they would be allowed to. I am beginning to be irritated by your usage of the term "creepy". This dialogue appears to be saying more about your mindset than mine, which is merely in the spirit of inquiry. Let us get this straight at this point so we can have a constructive discourse. Regards Irondome (talk) 04:02, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
    That isn't what you asked, Irondome; you personalized the question to me. There are neutral third-person pronouns that are standard usage for questions that are not intended for a specific individual. As to language, it evolves. This project long ago deprecated the term "wikistalking" because of the very negative connotations attached to the term "stalking". Terms to describe black people that were commonly used and accepted for generations today would practically brand the speaker/writer as a racist. I think we should all be getting past that. Sorry you don't like the word creepy; I'm using fairly mild descriptors here, but if you'd like we could try "threatening" or "menacing" or "sinister". Risker (talk) 04:13, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
    No I did not. This may be a transatlantic language issue. "You" in UK English often means "one", as in "so you can use an Oystercard at weekends" (forgive the inane example). It was not aimed at you specifically. Please grasp that.Irondome (talk) 04:21, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Irondome, Risker: I am not proposing changing the {{talk page stalker}} template. It is used frequently and has been used many times in the past; removing it or changing its wording would be needlessly disruptive and could make many old conversations lose their meanings. I would support eventually marking it historical along the lines of WP:STALK in the spirit of this proposal (but never deleting it), but I think that is very unlikely to gain consensus at this time, and should be a future discussion. So yes, you would be allowed to use it. Ivanvector (talk) 14:57, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

That's how I interpreted your proposal, Ivanvector; while I believe the usage should be deprecated, I don't think it is necessary to go through and eradicate the historic uses any more than we eradicated the use of the term 'wikistalker' those many years ago. The continued use of such templates and terminology will become progressively less socially acceptable, as is the norm for archaic language. Risker (talk) 15:21, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
@Risker: The TPW template was actually created by me a couple days ago based on Template_talk:Talk_page_stalker. I don't think there's any community consensus to stop using TPS entirely but if there was, it should be fairly easy to get a bot to subst all the occurrences of tps (keeping the original wording) and then deactivating the template. --NeilN talk to me 18:46, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
@NeilN:, this "Talk Page Watcher" template has been on my talk page since 2008. Risker (talk) 18:56, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
Ah, I thought you were referring to the {{tpw}} template. --NeilN talk to me 19:02, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support. Agree with Risker that "stalker" is likely to be needlessly inflammatory to a non-trivial subset of our readers / editors. In the real world, stalking is no joke, and we don't need to trivialize the real world problem by using the same terminology in a benign context. I fully support efforts to deemphasize the term "stalker" and emphasize other terminology such as "talk page watcher". If individuals want to continue to refer to "stalkers" / "stalking", then that is on them, but in terms of the community's documentation and recommended templates, we can strive to be more inclusive. Dragons flight (talk) 03:05, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
    Do we have direct evidence that there is a direct correlation between the use of the term "stalking" on WP and editor recruitment and/or retention? Irondome (talk) 03:13, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Most users of reasonable intelligence should be able to see the joke in the old template. We should remove every bit of humour on this site just because some hypothetical person might misconstrue this VERY common use of the term (how often do people talk about FB stalking?). We can't and shouldn't try to please everyone and we can't help it if some people are so literal and thin-skinned they'll get offended. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie | Say Shalom! 7 Adar 5775 03:46, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
    Umm. When people talk about Facebook stalking, they usually mean it in a very creepy way as in "I was Facebook stalking my ex-girlfriend" or "My ex-boyfriend has been stalking me all over Facebook". It may have been a joking term at one point, but the world has long since moved on and recognized the problems with internet stalking behaviour. Risker (talk) 03:53, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
    Never heard it like that amongst New York, DC, or London, 20-somethings or teens. They always use it in the joking sense (which alway sounds weird to me and I never say it, but I understand what they're referring to). They talk about actual stalkers in a much different manner and unfortunately, many people I know have actual stalkers. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie | Say Shalom! 7 Adar 5775 15:10, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
    What you say is true, Risker, but in the context of Wikipedia we have different terms, wikihounding, harassment and others, for that meaning. A "talk page stalker" isn't generally a stalker, and Wikipedians are aware of that. But this is why I support using either template, because of differing situations eg with newbies. BethNaught (talk) 15:29, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
    BethNaught, the deprecation of the term "wikistalking" took place in 2007-08, specifically because it was a serious misuse of the term 'stalking'. One of the responses was for people who just really enjoy thumbing their noses at others to create the "talk page stalker" meme. It had little traction at first, but then people who didn't realise the history of having worked hard to normalize the definition of stalking on Wikipedia started seeing those cute little templates and thinking they were cool. And now Wikipedia has once again decontextualized a term that, to anyone outside of our little project, is pretty scary stuff. Stalking is not a good thing, and the same people who seem to proudly go around saying they're talk page stalkers would never want to associate themselves with other negative statements...for example, rapists, murderers, spousal abusers, revenge porn publishers... Risker (talk) 18:56, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support only the original proposal. Oppose any PC-deletion of {{talk page stalker}}. Briefly checking "What links here" for the template, it seems to be used most often between experienced editors, where such a misunderstanding about its intended meaning is very unlikely and the humour aspect should be clear enough. GermanJoe (talk) 05:37, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support in the name of clear communication, of saying what we mean using existing English. Users should not be required to learn alternate definitions of emotionally loaded words to function in this environment. Besides, the use of "stalker" to mean something innocuous makes light of a very serious issue. Some subjects are not suitable for wordplay. (I'm generally opposed to PC, but for me that doesn't mean a black-and-white rejection of all sensitivity to the effect of words. That's the proper domain of stand-up comics, not Wikipedia.) As for precisely what I'm supporting, my preference would be complete elimination, but I support any step in that direction. ―Mandruss  06:25, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support. The lede of our own article on Stalking says: "Stalking is unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual or group toward another person. Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person or monitoring them. The word stalking is used, with some differing meanings, in psychology and psychiatry and also in some legal jurisdictions as a term for a criminal offense." If someone were to tell you in any other fora, "I'm stalking you", or were to tell another person that they were stalking you, this would be considered threatening and would be grounds to go to court and get a restraining order. If someone were to post on your Wikipedia talk page (either to you or in response to another editor there) that they were stalking you, you could go straight to court with a printout of the page and say, "see, your Honor, they admit to stalking me right there". We should avoid pushing our editors to use terminology that could potentially put them in legal jeopardy. bd2412 T 18:01, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm sure there is some MeatballWiki explanation for this phenomena, but it seems that as Wikipedia grows it is losing its sense of humor in an attempt to please everyone (which is difficult given the realistic interpretation of that statement). Which makes sense, but is disappointing all the same. I'd oppose this change, but I fear that it will ultimately, whether in this instance or another, be changed. To be clear, if you are the victim of honest and genuine stalking, please contact the authorities. If you are the recipient of a TPS template on your talk page, please do not contact the authorities. Killiondude (talk) 18:10, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support - To say that one is "stalking" another is an overtly hostile description of an activity, one that does not really convey the benign sense of what "your page happens to be on my watchlist, so I'm commenting here" is meant by the use of this template. Tarc (talk) 18:11, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose - This comes across as a Liberal guilt kind of change. Users self-brand themselves as talk page stalkers, and the connotation being imposed on the term here simply does not apply. Keep both templates and allow users to choose what they will. - Floydian τ ¢ 19:01, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
This proposal is actually for keeping both templates, so users will still be able to choose either one as they wish. Ivanvector (talk) 19:52, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support Partly because the previous oppose makes no sense, but really because naming it 'talk page watcher' is perfectly fine, as that's what it is about and the rest of the opposition seems to be based on the poor reasoning, 'we have to do it this way because, we have done it this way' Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:26, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support Supposed to neutral aren't? Well "watcher" is quite plainly more neutral than "stalker". Leaky Caldron 20:00, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Weak support My impression is that someone would describe him/herself as a "talk page stalker" to acknowledge the discomfort in a situation where a message would likely begin, "I hope you don't mind that I've been reading your talk page for some time now, but..." And when Wikipedia was a smaller place -- or at least hadn't suffered the chronic turnover it appears to experience in recent years -- & volunteers knew each other well enough to sense when someone might be joking, calling oneself a "talk page stalker" didn't have such a negative implication. (Sheesh, from a few threads I've read recently, there might be seriously creepy people amongst the established editors, & using the word "stalking" might be more accurate than some people may suspect.) Although I'm supporting the deprecation of the phrase "talk page stalker", I do so reluctantly because I'd prefer to not acknowledge that Wikipedia has changed in this way. -- llywrch (talk) 23:02, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
    A good point. If we use "stalker" for this purpose, what word would we use for the real thing? And how confusing would that be? And it's true that madness exists in the world, even (especially?) here at good ole Wikipedia. ―Mandruss  00:10, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
    What should we call the real thing? A wikicreep. But then some would complain that is being insulting & uncivil, even if it is the truth. -- llywrch (talk) 08:32, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
    I would complain that it would contain no information content beyond a very loaded social statement. See "clear communication, of saying what we mean using existing English", above. ―Mandruss  08:41, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose plain and simple WP:BIKESHEDing and a rose by any other name is still a rose. We're talking about people who stalk talk pages, not people who stalk users which should be directly reported via WP:911. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 00:16, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment Please note that users are confused by the terminology regardless of the debate over the appropriateness of the word stalker: here and here for example. Sam Walton (talk) 00:23, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support People can say "talk page stalker" all they want—no human rights are being infringed by this proposal. It's great that so many people have not been touched by stalking in real life, and so have no idea how creepy the term has become in the last decade, but the fact is that stalking really is a problem. I would favor deleting the pointless {{tps}} and {{tpw}} templates because they do nothing except add confusion for new users (who are the only people who need to see what the templates display). A newbie posts on someone's talk, and the response starts with gobbledygook with a link that has nothing to do with what is on the newbie's mind—how is that helpful? However, if the templates are used, "watcher" is the preferred term because it has no RL baggage, and correlates nicely with the "watch" link at the top of every page. Johnuniq (talk) 01:18, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment I would therefore propose the term Talk Page Helper. Watcher is "creepy" too. very Orwellian. It has connotations of mass-survelliance which are every bit as disturbing in the post-wikileaks era as stalker. I think helper is friendly, neutral, unambiguous and would cover all the above issues. We can create a suitable image for "helper" and it can add its place in the wikifauna. I would suggest a cartoon-like angelic figure. Something along those lines. Thoughts? Irondome (talk) 01:30, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support - Although {{tps}} fits my sense of humor, it's not a bad change, considering the millions of eyes viewing the project, it's not a stretch of the imagination that it could be frequently miss-interpreted. Mlpearc (open channel) 01:59, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support - If it were "watcher" now and we had an RfC to change it to "stalker", there would be 200 opposes. So, my twisted logic says support. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 02:13, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose as inconsequential. No need to make changes that have no functional effect. --Jayron32 02:24, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Aside from what Jayron says (with which I agree), you have the issue of watchlists: some people frequently participate at pages not on their watchlists (I often participate at WP:AN, but there isn't a single projectspace page on my watchlist, and I'm a frequent contributor at some users' talk pages, but aside from my own, I don't watch any userspace pages), and some people rarely or never participate at pages that are on their watchlists. If we want to be "encouraging a less ambiguous usage", we should use a term that isn't commonly used here already. If you want to rename the concept, use "lurker" or some form of it. Nyttend (talk) 12:41, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support deprecation of tps, but I like Nyttend's "lurker" suggestion better than "watcher". --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 14:35, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
    I fear that "lurker" carries much of the same connotation as "stalker". What about Irondome's suggestion of "helper" as an alternative? Personally I prefer "watcher" because it ties in with existing wiki functionality (watchlists) as Johnuniq pointed out. Also, one can interject a one-off comment on a talk page they stumble across without it being on their watchlist. I often do. Ivanvector (talk) 16:08, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
    Someone interjecting a one-off comment on a talk page they stumble across could hardly be described as a "stalker" or a "watcher"; more like an accidental tourist. bd2412 T 16:20, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
    Talk page tourist could be a possibility. Perhaps we could create a "WikiTourist" WikiFauna essay. Ivanvector (talk) 15:02, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
  • suggest T P Follower Leaky Caldron 16:39, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Follower is good. A la FB. Follower or helper both have more positive vibes. Irondome (talk) 16:55, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Support, though I prefer "follower" to "watcher". It would be good to avoid negativity and confusion that can result from using "stalker", even though most of the time it's fine in its context. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 01:10, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
    I've just noticed Nyttend's suggestion of "lurker", and I like that better than "follower", as it keeps the original humorous intent. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 01:16, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
This goes to the core of the issue however. It seems clear that "lurker" is hardly less acceptable in some quarters as "stalker". One person's perceived harmless terminology is another person's poison. This has been made amply clear upthread. I believe we should be now concentrating on finding other terms which are acceptable to all. I still have issues with watcher, even though it dovetails into watchlist, etc. It is an increasingly interesting dialogue. I still support the continued usage of the now (apparently) deprecated terms until they fall into obsolesence, where peer-pressure will create evolutionary change. The question is, should it be follower, helper, or some other new proposal yet to be made. Irondome (talk) 02:22, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
Based on how this discussion is going, maybe there's a case to be made for changing our own terminology as well. Not for this discussion, but maybe it would be worth talking about whether we want to change "watchers" and "watching pages" into "followers" and "following pages". The meaning of "following" in this context is very thoroughly ingrained in popular culture these days; it would be very unlikely to be misinterpreted. Just something to think about.
For the purpose of this discussion, I still prefer "watcher" to the other suggestions, if only because "watching" has a well-established meaning within Wikipedia. I also like "follower" for the reason I stated above - it's easily recognizable, even though we haven't typically used it here. I feel that we would have work to do to establish this usage for "helper" and "lurker", and "stalker" has been specifically rejected elsewhere, which is what this proposal is about. Ivanvector (talk) 15:31, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Feel free to stalk my talk page all you want, just like the other 147 people who are doing it, but I'll warn you now if you watch or follow me, I'll have to get a protection order against you. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 16:01, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Opposed -- What exactly are you trying to fix? What some people think is an offensive word? That's not reason enough to change things, if that's all you're proposing. Damotclese (talk) 15:47, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
    • (edit conflict × 2) Yes, and "don't offend users" is a fine rationale for such a change. This proposal is an extension of having already made this exact change in the harassment policy, and has been done before at WP:VANITY for the conflict of interest guideline. Even so, I am not proposing eliminating the word "stalker" everywhere on Wikipedia; there is more detail about this in my "regarding the essay" comment above. Ivanvector (talk) 16:24, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
    • Your question has already been answered, and the answer is not "what some people think is an offensive word". ―Mandruss  16:04, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
      • But it is "what some people think is an offensive word" and it is just an attempt to WP:CENSOR Wikipedia. Lurker, Watcher, and Follower are all just as offensive and "bad" as Stalker. The only one that isn't is "helper" and it's not accurate for what is happening. You could also suggest Liker (in the spirit of FaceBook), but I don't think that is really any better either. It's not broken, let's leave it as is. You want to use one of those other words, fine, you use the other word. You don't like a word used on your talk page, then put a note in your editnotice asking people to not use it because it makes you uncomfortable. I don't see anyone here in good faith that would object to that. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 16:21, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
        • There are no laws against lurking, watching, or following (except when put into very specific contexts not implied by the words alone), and no lives have been seriously damaged by any of those things. The word doesn't make me uncomfortable, and this is not about me or any one person in any case. You have completely missed the point of my argument and that of others. I'll say it for the third time, "clear communication, of saying what we mean using existing English". Stalking is not what we are describing and therefore it should not be the word we use. Would you defend a tongue-in-cheek use of "rapist" at Wikipedia? I'm certain many here would, since any restraint whatsoever in language is seen by them to be "censorship". No doubt they see a slippery slope that does not exist, omg if we do this what will be next?? The best alternative is a different question, and I don't have a strong opinion about that; most of the alternatives put forth would be a major improvement. ―Mandruss  12:59, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose: this is becoming ridiculous. I have pages I watch, lurk, observe, stumble across. Most I can comment on without being an intruder. So many words tossed about to keep from using what is a perfectly good term. (accidental tourist, intruder, lurker, peeper, observer, off-side comment). Please just let us use the talk page stalker template or not at will. I can decide just fine. Fylbecatulous talk 17:08, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support: Stalker is needlessly scary. Change to follower would be better. This template is a perfect example of why there are so few female wikipedians. (And yes I realize that there is probably one woman out there who will now post and say "but I'm female and I think its funny!", this doesn't make it ok.) WP should be neutral and welcoming.pschemp | talk 12:29, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
    • You really think follower is better? /sarcasm but I hope you get the point. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 16:06, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support - needless to say, (perhaps), {{tps}} pages should not be deleted, but merely redirected to the better title.--John Cline (talk) 06:53, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support per BD2412. -sche (talk) 18:28, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support - There's no harm in changing it. Saying it's BIKESHEDing or too minor is just dismissing the issue. If it's so minor, then changing it to accommodate others shouldn't bother anyone either. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 20:08, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Pointless, but whatever. This reminds me of a small(?) black rights group many years ago that demanded computer manufacturers change the terminology around "master" and "slave" drives because it offended them. Then, as now, the problem is not the terminology but the fact that people deliberately choose to assume the worst. The word is innocuous. People are dumb. Resolute 20:17, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose It's a bit of light wiki-humour, no need to take it so seriously. I find it quite funny and will continue to use it. EoRdE6(Come Talk to Me!) 20:18, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support the deletion or renaming, as appropriate, of all templates and pages that refer to it as "stalker". Certainly saying that you're stalking someone has a pointlessly chilling effect. --B (talk) 04:00, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
    • Well, what would you replace it with? follower, watcher, lurker all have the same effect. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 04:09, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment. I have been stalked, and although I don't panic or get particularly stressed when I read the word it is occasionally a slightly unpleasant reminder. That said, it's a legitimate word in the English language, and has broader meanings. It might be politer to avoid its usage in the case of stalking humans (as opposed to stalking deer). RomanSpa (talk) 11:23, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose – The proposed change has no effect that is necessary for the continuance of the function provided by this terminology, and hence should be opposed as frivolous. Frivolity should be discouraged, and hence I must put my boot down on this misguided proposal. As it happens, it is natural that words have multiple meanings, and that in the course of human discourse new meanings are applied to old words. Let nature take its course. There is no room for prescriptivism. The terminology was envisioned as "stalker", and that should remain. RGloucester 22:08, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
"The terminology was envisioned as stalker" (envisioned terminology? and so what?). It's rather prescriptivist to follow your "envisionings" apparently. Alanscottwalker (talk) 00:51, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose Solution in search of a problem. All of the proposed replacements, watch, follower, etc. have the same connotations as the original. KonveyorBelt 16:54, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Your claim is directly and clearly contradicted by the content of stalker, watcher, follower, lurker, etc. ―Mandruss  17:06, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Wiktionary tells a different story. wikt:watch says "The act of guarding and observing someone". wikt:lurk says "To remain concealed in order to ambush". wikt:follow says " To go after; to pursue". Any of these terms could be easily construed in the wrong way. KonveyorBelt 17:13, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I would disagree with the notion that Wiktionary, or any dictionary, compares with an encyclopedia when it comes to defining connotations of words. And I'm not aware of any anti-watching or anti-lurking laws, are you? ―Mandruss  17:15, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support, largely because Mandruss nailed it, especially Users should not be required to learn alternate definitions of emotionally loaded words to function in this environment. APerson (talk!) 13:17, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support What we mean when we use the terms in a neutral or positive sense is indeed what is commonly called "watching". I don't think "Lurking is as good a choice, at is has negative connotations also , e.g. "robbers lurking waiting for a victim" DGG ( talk ) 00:46, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support Per Mandruss (above). I have no especial love for the PC crowd, so any term that isn't a felony would be fine with me. Primergrey (talk) 05:38, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support per Mandruss. The word "watcher" strikes me as the clearest option that has been proposed, but "follower" and possibly "lurker" would also work. —Granger (talk · contribs) 21:28, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Meh unnecessary policy creep - we really don't need a policy on this. — xaosflux Talk 04:45, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. We're all adults here, and if we are so humor-impaired that we fail to see the humor involved in the "talk page stalker" template, and fail to see the difference between that and actual stalking/harassment, then perhaps we shouldn't be on Wikipedia. Softlavender (talk) 04:58, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I personally think that being "humor impaired", in this instance, indicates an inability to identify a situation where being hilarious might be creating a divisive environment. Primergrey (talk) 12:09, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose The word existed before the felony, and it continues to have many other uses apart from referring to a felony. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 05:05, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support That talk page stalker template is a little creepy and can be off-putting to new users. -- haminoon (talk) 07:09, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Support Mandruss said it better than I could've, and "watcher" is simply clearer and easier to understand. Also Wikipedia_talk:Harassment/Archive_1#Wikihounding. --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 21:08, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment I think lurker is better than stalker (because it is lurking not stalking) (to stalk prey one has to follow it not park on top of it). I think watcher and helper are less than helpful as they are not as descriptive or accurate as lurker. -- PBS (talk) 17:09, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment How about "Talk page aficionado"? It doesn't really mean anything, which is good, because descriptors which do have meaning must necessarily import the concept of surveillance. Risker makes a very good argument and Irondrome's criticism of it is misplaced because she actually hails from Toronto. (talk) 11:32, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
There is somewhat of a difference between surveillance and pursuit, and I think that the latter is implied by "stalker". I've stated my opinion about the other suggestions elsewhere in this thread (still slightly prefer "watcher" for purely technical reasons) but really as long as we're making an effort to reduce the use of "stalker" here then I'm happy. I'm also from Toronto, but I haven't had any reason to think that the encouragement of more neutral language is a particularly Toronto-centric idea. Ivanvector (talk) 15:32, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
My experience is that more good things come out of Toronto than from across the border. Here's another possibility: User talk:Mistress Selina Kyle the black banner across the top of the page. Before the lightbulb goes out I'm listing some alternatives in a way that will make it easy for editors to make their preferences known and easier for whoever closes this discussion.
  • Support, as per numerous others, but notably User:Mr. Stradivarius. When I first encountered the essay, I have to admit that the terminology, even if slightly humourous, was a bit off-putting. My preference is "follower", but "watcher", and to a lesser extent, "lurker", is fine too. Apologies for putting my comment here, but the introduction of the "voting on terms" list by the IP user broke the flow of the discussion a bit. Quinto Simmaco (talk) 22:51, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Strong Support from someone accused of being a stalker (all the way to arbcom) when in fact I was a insignificant observer/ watcher. If someone 'feels' watched, they sometimes feel 'stalked' and the situation escalates rapidly. Let us start down a notch by watching and it will take a little more effort to accuse some of stalking and then harrassing and then blocking and then banning.....   Bfpage |leave a message  22:07, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

Talk page aficionado

My choice. It imports the concept of enjoyment rather than surveillance. (talk) 11:49, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Proposal I think we should use "Talkpage voyeur", the French adds a touch of class that the pedestrian "watcher" doesn't have.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 22:56, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Talk page follower

Talk page helper

  • Support The best of the lot. Totally descriptive. Implies a friendly and proactive co-editor who is willing to help out on issues. Does exactly what it says on the tin, or can. Further, has no connotations of observation in any form. That is obviously a given. Irondome (talk) 00:18, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Talk page liker

Talk page lurker

Talk page observer

  • Support - descriptive and neutral. ―Mandruss  00:11, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Talk page prowler

Talk page stalker

Talk page tourist

Talk page watcher

Author (BLP) uses pen name to not be harassed is now being outed with "real name"[edit]

Argument has been wikilawyered to death (see her Talk page), we need a policy change. Acharya S uses a pen name so that she won't be harassed (like Gamergate). She is also known as D.M. Murdock, not by her "real name". Her preference has been stated on her forum and she has submitted requests to Wikimedia (OTRS ticket 2010010110011483) to stop using her "real name," which she denies is her real name. The source editors use for her "real name" uses it only because he is (in Acharya S's words) a "libeler" and is "full of bile". There is absolutely no reason to use her "real name". It's really unplesent having to deal with this and I'm sure Acharya S is not happy either. Today I was called a "personal crucader" for reverting The Name at another article (dif). Raquel Baranow (talk) 22:06, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

There is a pretty good reason to use D. M. Murdock as well as Acharya S - namely that she uses both herself in her publications and website[1]. Reliable sources also connect the names. She clearly goes by both names by the internet and cannot expect wikipedia to use only one of them. Our policies cannot protect names that are already in the public knowledge and used in reliable sources.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 22:18, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
There's no objection to using D.M. Murdock it's (Redacted) that is not approved. Ian.thomson (below) is an involved editor. The "consensus" he talks about is essentially mob rule and wikilawyering. Raquel Baranow (talk) 22:42, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
I've made no edits to the article or even the article's talk page. I have commented on two of the RSN and BLPN discussions as an uninvolved editor. You just didn't like what I concluded, and it looks like that was because it didn't fit your apparent mission. There's a difference between wikilawyering and editing within the site's policies and guidelines. You have provided no evidence that guidelines or polices were misinterpreted to push a particular goal. If anything, your reference to WP:OUTING could be construed as wikilawyering. Ian.thomson (talk) 22:48, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
You have been involved with The Name here. As for wikilawyering: if you don't like the laws (or WP policies) change them . . . that's what I'm attempting to do. Raquel Baranow (talk) 00:23, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
The post you tried to link to still concerns the Christ Myth Theory article and how it handles academia's dismissal of Murdock's ideas. At no point did I comment on the name.
There's a difference between changing unjust laws and forum shopping to game the system at the behest of off-site collaborators. Ian.thomson (talk) 00:54, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I'll also note that you failed to notify anyone who actually was involved in the article of this discussion. I'll go and make my first post to the article's talk page to notify them. Ian.thomson (talk) 22:52, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict)The consensus on the talk page, at RSN, at BLPN (and not just that time) is that it's fine to include her name because it is included documented in RSs. This WP:FORUMSHOPPING and your overreliance on Murdock's blogs and forums do tend to support the idea that you're on a crusade to make the article fit Murdock's off-site demands for the article, instead of policy or consensus based concerns. Ian.thomson (talk) 22:27, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
As far as a whole policy goes, if we have the real name, we should include it. Wikipedia is supposed to be the sum of all human knowledge, full names included. However, there are exceptions to all rules (Ignore all rules?), and I think if the subject of an article wishes for something to be changed based off of harassment, rather than something criticising them but is well-sourced, then I think after a request to the Wikimedia foundation, that change, whatever it might be, should be changed. People have a right to privacy, it's a human right. She didn't sign that right away when she became a public figure by writing. No policy here needs to be made, it should be on a case by case basis. SamWilson989 (talk) 22:50, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
While there is a right to privacy, this isn't like publishing her home address or anything. The name is documented in reliable sources, and removing the name from our article and (if it were possible) all our mirrors would not really hide the information at all. Ian.thomson (talk) 23:03, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Although completely true, as now her name is on the internet, it will never leave, that isn't the issue here. She has explicitly asked her name not to be included on this website (doesn't matter about the rest of the internet) and so I believe quite firmly that she has the right to privacy and so we on this website should do what we can, adhering to the policies of BLP, and not include it on the article. It doesn't matter if the wikipedia mirrors show it, that's not what she's asked, she's asked it not be included here. SamWilson989 (talk) 23:08, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
I do not see how someone who is actively promoting her books and ideas through podcasts and websites is attempting to stay private on the web. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 23:22, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that's the point here, she's asked for her name not to be included. She doesn't include that name in her books, podcasts or website, so yes she's not a private person but to her, her name is. I cannot say I understand it myself, I'm just trying to interpret what I see into how this could possibly become something that needs to have a policy made about it, as that is the purpose of this discussion. SamWilson989 (talk) 23:37, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Just because something is suggested here doesn't mean a policy has to result from it, however. It could be dismissed as a continued WP:GAME by a tendentious editor who has repeatedly ignored clear consensus because it goes against her personal crusade.
The earlier comparison to Gamergate is flawed: the Gamergaters were spreading libel and real personal information (like home addresses), while this is just a first name that's documented in a variety of sources. The namedrop of Gamergate borders on a Reductio ad hitleram. Ian.thomson (talk) 23:46, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
I agree that just because something is suggested here it has to be implemneted, it's simply a discussion to see whether there should be a policy, or not. Sorry if I came across otherwise. SamWilson989 (talk) 23:55, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
A better example may be the Charlie Hebdo shooting, protecting Acharya S from religious fanatics. Raquel Baranow (talk) 20:17, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
So anyone who supports including the article is like a murderous terrorist? Ian.thomson (talk) 20:21, 14 March 2015 (UTC)

Generally speaking, if it's published, then we have no prohibition on including it. In fact it's very important that we don't allow such a request, because this project is supposed to adhere to neutral point of view and allowing individuals control over their own information here specifically violates that. If there was a reason to believe that this information represents some sort of real, serious threat to this person then I suppose we'd have cause to deal with it. But we are not the publisher of this information, we are just repeating reliable sources.

That being said, it seems in this case that the source is obviously not reliable. The source is a person making it their mission to discredit this author, and is thus not independent and not reliable. Particularly because the author insists that the information is not true, and because we don't have a better source, we should not be including this. The lede of WP:BLP says "be very firm about the use of high-quality sources", and "contentious material about living persons ... that is unsourced or poorly sourced ... should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion" (emphasis in original). Without a better, properly reliable source, this should be removed. Ivanvector (talk) 23:29, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

Yes, I'd agree that requests to exclude information should only be accepted if there is a threat of harassment or other issues surrounding that. SamWilson989 (talk) 23:37, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict)The source is on a mission to discredit the author according to the author. According to everyone else (including the RSN on it), the source is a reliable source that's on the broader topic of the Christ myth theory, which happens to address some of Murdock's ideas. Are we only allowed to cite sources that agree with Murdock now? Ian.thomson (talk) 23:46, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Ian makes an interesting point here. This could be seen, perhaps not unreasonably, at this point, to be an attempt at WP:GAME. Does BLP really apply selectively only to those works which the author him or herself has officially publicly discussed, or are they able to attempt to avoid negative discussion of their possibly less popular or supported works if they refuse to publicly acknowledge that they are the authors? Honestly, I cannot see that particular scenario having a "yes, they can do that" outcome, but it is possible, perhaps, that some other details are involved here. I haven't seen them though. John Carter (talk) 23:53, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
My point of view on this is that the dispute between the author (the subject) and the author of the source makes the source unreliable for this purpose, and the fact that there doesn't seem to be another source backing up the real name means that the sourcing is inadequate for the BLP policy. Of course the subject of a BLP does not get to cherrypick preferable sources, but if the information is reliable then there should be other sources available. If not, there's no harm to Wikipedia by not including it. Ivanvector (talk) 00:02, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Acharya S does not publish under the name "Dorothy". Raquel Baranow (talk) 00:23, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Furthermore, she is quoted on the blog, "I have been advised by LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES not to disclose ANY personal information, because I was the victim of VIOLENT CRIME that included the felonious abduction of my small child. So, any and all attempts at publicizing what is believed to be my real name will be construed as a form of TERRORISM and BULLYING." Raquel Baranow (talk) 22:43, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
She's not disclosing her name, secondary sources are. It's terrible that her child was abducted, but:
  • she provided no evidence that the violent crime was connected to her name being public knowledge
  • the name has been public knowledge for some time
  • WP:SELFPUB does not allow us to use self-published statements for self-serving claims (as this fear-mongering is)
  • repeating this public knowledge is no more terrorism than mentioning that Charlie Hebdo published cartoons antagonizing Muslims (drastically less so)
  • it's a bit of a slippery slope to say that imply repeating her publicly known name would lead to more crimes
  • if it's not her name (as she indirectly claims), and she is being threatened, she should by all means encourage the mistake to misdirect people
Ian.thomson (talk) 23:18, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that that evidence for the connecoitn between the name and the crime could be reasonably expected, nor that it is relevant. What is relevant to her is obviously that her online persona cannot be easily connected to her private identity. I think it makes sense to respect that under a "do no harm" provision. There is no weighty reason that I can see for including the name, but there is weighty reasons to exclude it.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 23:55, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
There are ten non-primary sources on this page that mention the name Dorothy. It is effectively public knowledge. Wikipedia repeating that public knowledge doesn't "expose" her further, her name is already not hidden. Ian.thomson (talk) 15:43, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

What policies could be easily changed[edit]

(edit conflict)* WP:BLPNAME: When the name of a private individual has not been widely disseminated or has been intentionally concealed, such as in certain court cases or occupations, it is often preferable to omit it, especially when doing so does not result in a significant loss of context. It has been argued that she is not a "private individual" but everything else fits perfectly.

  • WP:BLPPRIVACY: With identity theft a serious ongoing concern, people increasingly regard their full names and dates of birth as private. Wikipedia includes full names and dates of birth that have been widely published by reliable sources, or by sources linked to the subject such that it may reasonably be inferred that the subject does not object. The Name has NOT been widely published and the one source is contemptuous.
  • WP:Self Identification is kind of a stretch but the spirit and intent is good: Wikipedia's policy on biographies of living people says "the possibility of harm to living subjects must always be considered when exercising editorial judgment", and on 9 April 2009 the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees passed a resolution urging that special attention be paid to neutrality, verifiability and human dignity. (The rest has to do with gender identity.)AzureCitizen argues this policy on Acharya S's talk page here. Raquel Baranow (talk) 00:23, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
That last one is just an essay. It's not a policy that can be changed as it's not a policy to begin with. The only policy that is being discussed here and can be discussed is WP:BLP in general. Therefore only the first two links you gave should be discussed here. SamWilson989 (talk) 00:46, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Also, the Manual of Style states at MOS:IDENTITY that "Disputes over how to refer to a person or group are addressed by Wikipedia content policies, such as those on verifiability, and neutral point of view (and article titles when the term appears in the title of an article). When there is a discrepancy between the term most commonly used by reliable sources for a person or group and the term that person or group uses for themselves, Wikipedia should use the term that is most commonly used by reliable sources; if it isn't clear which is most used, use the term that the person or group uses." Therefore, we should be using reliable sources to decide which name to use in every case. It seems that there is clear policy here, and this isn't up for debate. On that case in question, there weren't reliable sources, so we used the term the person uses, as the policy states. There should be no policy change. SamWilson989 (talk) 00:48, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Why change Wikipedia policy when we can simply state that Acharya S' name is Dorothy M. Murdock as references by Maurice Casey ([2]) and numerous others; [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], and [11]. Thanks. Ism schism (talk) 01:54, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Agreed... Wikipedia should not "out" a person's real name... but if multiple reliable sources already report the person's name, then we are not "outing" the person by noting it ourselves. It's already "out". No need to change any policies. Blueboar (talk) 16:31, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Disagree: the basic human Right to privacy trumps all this. Raquel Baranow (talk) 22:45, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't think it does in all cases, but in this case it does since there is no overwhelming necessity to include the full name - which is not the name she is known under and it is not widely published, and which could conceivably bring her in danger.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 23:57, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Not here to Right Great Wrongs. The only salient question is whether "Dorothy" is widely published. If so, use it; if not, don't. Rhoark (talk) 00:13, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
Righting great wrongs and trying not to commit any are two different things.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 21:44, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
That's not many citations for someone's name! How many of those references were even cited? Maybe they got The Name from Wikipedia: Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons#Avoid_gossip_and_feedback_loops. Raquel Baranow (talk) 21:41, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
Ten sources aren't a lot? There are stable articles with fewer distinct sources than that! Also, your suggestion that any of them got the name from us is just grasping at straws unless you can provide evidence that the name was in the article before all of those sources were written. Ian.thomson (talk) 15:33, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
Under WP:BLPNAME, "private individual" refers to someone who is not a "public official." (We could define what is meant.) Raquel Baranow (talk) 22:43, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
It is defined. It says "notable public figure," not "official" (which carries inaccurate implications incorrectly more specific than "figure"). If we try to read it as "official," that means that we'll have to rename some of our articles on actors to "that person who played (character name) in (movie name)." "Notable" is already defined elsewhere. WP:BLPNAME also says that if an individual's name is already covered in multiple secondary sources (especially outside of news sources), then it's fine to include. Ian.thomson (talk) 23:05, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
So, are we changing policy to fit the desire of Acharya S? Or, is there a need to change a policy that doesn't work? Ism schism (talk) 01:19, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
If it wasn't Acharya S, we wouldn't have this problem, it wouldn't be an issue. I question why some people insist on putting The Name in the article knowing that Acharya S doesn't like it. Why do you use a fake name? Wikipedia has a policy about WP:Self Identification and Wikipedia respects that. What's so hard about respecting a person's name?! The current policy isn't working because for the past five years some people insist on including The Name to the article. Raquel Baranow (talk) 02:17, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
By some people you mean the many editors who have weighed in at RfC and multiple noticeboards and gained consensus which you disapprove of. WP:FORUMSHOP Capitalismojo (talk) 02:30, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
I was trying to be polite and assume good faith and not accuse someone of bad faith or bullying or harassment or hypocrisy etc. This is someone's name, they don't like it yet some people insist on calling Acharya S by a name she dislikes. It's childlike (name-calling), trolling, malicious behavior. Maurice Casey, one of the sources for The Name is (in the words of Acharya S) "full of bile" and "libelous". Some people dislike Acharya S because she's antichrist or anti-christian.
I know several people who disliked their name and had it changed. If you called them by their former name out of ignorance and they told you their new name and that they didn't like their former name yet you insisted on calling them their former name it's disrespectful. I once tried to nickname my sister "A.J." for her first and middle name, which she hated (she hated her middle name) it was horrible teasing on my part and now that I'm older (more mature) I realize my name-calling behavior was wrong. It's similar to calling someone who dislikes their former gender the opposite pronoun of their gender identity, which Wikipedia respects. Wikipedia should respect the name that someone prefers to use, whether they legally changed it (or underwent sex-change surgery) or not. Raquel Baranow (talk) 11:00, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes, but there is a difference between referring to someone by an undesired name, and simply mentioning that name in passing. I am all for respecting the desire of the subject by having the the title of the article be at Acharya S... and in that article, we should routinely refer to her by that pen name (we do this for many authors)... however, that does not mean we should not mention what her real name is. Wikipedia is not Censored. Her real name verifiable information, supported by multiple reliable sources. It's worth at least a parenthetical remark. Blueboar (talk) 12:54, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
Amanda Simpson was born a man, she's from Tucson (my current hometown) she changed her name and I'm sure I could find some reliable sources for her Real Name (it's not on her WP page) or I could go to the courthouse and find her name change or I could look through academic records. Now lets imagine she's a popular Christ myth theorist like Acharya S, someone puts her previous name up on Wikipedia and then spread it all around Christian apologist forums where it is picked up by scholars and published in their books. [This is exactly what happened to Acharya S in 2005 (yes, TEN years ago) and is in violation of several of the policies I mentioned below (especially, Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons#Avoid_gossip_and_feedback_loops). So Amanda Simpson is (rightly) protected on Wikipedia and Acharya S is not? Censor this?! Raquel Baranow (talk) 15:37, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
The reason Amanda Simpson's pre-transition name is not mentioned is because it doesn't appear in non-primary sources. Ian.thomson (talk) 15:47, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't believe that, I'll bet if I looked through the references in the WP article on Ms Simpson I could find mention of her birth name. Maybe even mention on a talk show or something. Raquel Baranow (talk) 15:54, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
Leelah Alcorn, Marja-Sisko Aalto, Barbra Amesbury, Nikki Araguz, Victoria Arellano, Nina Arsenault, April Ashley. That's just the "A's" in Category:Transgender and transsexual women. Their birth names are covered in secondary sources, and so are included in the articles (often in the first line). Ian.thomson (talk) 15:56, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
I was right, one of the refs on Ms Simpson's WP page did have her former name. I can also see in the article history that her birth name was added by an IP and was removed. A Google search of "Amanda Simpson" and her birth name turned up >500 sources -- one of the top sources was a right-wing muck-raking website. Maybe we should have a policy about adding transsexual (or is the proper word, transgendered) individual's birth names. I would suggest that if they are not noted by their former name (such as is the case for Acharya S's alleged birth name), it should be left out of the articles. Raquel Baranow (talk) 16:22, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
Nope... We shouldn't expose ("out") a transexual's birth name, but we can (and should) mention what the person's birth name was, when reliable secondary sources have already mentioned it. The same is true for authors who go by a pen name. We shouldn't try to dig up their real name (for one thing, doing so would be a violation of WP:No original research)... but if reliable secondary sources have already revealed the author's real name, then we can and should mention what it is. Blueboar (talk) 21:20, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
Why "should"? And what when that "should" is in conflict with another "should" namely that we should seek to cause no harm. Which "should" is weightier? And why? It seems to me that the only ethically viable argument is that the potential benefit of including the name is greater than the potential risk of doing so. I just don't actually see the potential benefit of including it. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 21:27, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
To answer my own point, WP:Gender identity, Common name can apply here too: When a subject changes names for any reason (even one unrelated to gender), Wikipedia rarely hesitates to make the change promptly if it is clear the new name will be the common name of the person going forward in time . . . . However, the old name should be kept as a re-direct if it is still a well-known name likely to be searched for by people unaware of the name change. In this case, the "old name" (i.e., the birth name) was never used professionally and is not likely to be searched. Raquel Baranow (talk) 20:25, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
User:Raquel Baranow do you understand the different between an article WP:TITLE and an article WP:LEAD?
If you understand the difference then to which does WP:FULLNAME apply? In ictu oculi (talk) 16:29, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
  • WP:BLPNAME: Read it over again, The Name is NOT widely published we can define widely published. There are thousands of Google results for "Acharya S" and "D M Murdock" and very few for the contested Name. Raquel Baranow (talk) 15:07, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
I wasn't aware that WP:RS had been rewritten to say that Google search results trump published books, because Ism schism has cited plenty of those.
Some people don't care what Murdock's views are, they're just opposed to the off-site collaboration to promote those views.
As for self-identification, we mention the birth name in those cases. Our article on Chelsea Manning says that she was born Bradley, and even has a pre-transition picture as the infobox picture. By that standard, it's totally fine to name the article Acharya S, refer to her as that or D.M. Murdoch throughout, but still list the name Dorothy Murdoch in the beginning. Ian.thomson (talk) 15:20, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
But wherein exactly lies the necessity to provide this piece of rather insignificant information the widespread publication of which may contribute to put the subject of the biography at risk of physical harm?·maunus · snunɐɯ· 15:25, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
By that argument, we should retitle the Selena Gomez article "the actress who played Alex Russo in Wizards of Waverly Place". If they are already at risk, they are already at risk, and Wikipedia is not demonstrably contributing further risk. The information is already public knowledge (ten sources is public knowledge). Ian.thomson (talk) 15:39, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
Has Selena Gomez requested that her name not be used or stopped using it herself in response to her stalker case? I find your argumentation to be quite ethically shaky, and not really in line with our BLP policy in general. We do have a responsibility that our articles do not harm the people we write about, and taking into consideration subjects' statements and wishes is part of meeting that responsibility.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 00:15, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
User:Maunus sorry, where do you get the impression that there is a stalker involved? I gained the impression last year that the issue was the critical reliable sources giving bio data on Acharya/Murdock's claims to have some scholarly background, wheras it appears a summer school in Greece is the only connection with the classical world?
Also all the books of Stellar Publishing are retailed as by D. M. Murdock so WP:FULLNAME is only supplying D[orothy], which is not revealing the name only repeating published academic sources for the full forname. In ictu oculi (talk) 16:46, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
  • WP:NICKNAME also covers pen names and mainly has to do with naming the article: The name used most often to refer to a person in reliable sources is generally the one that should be used as the article title, even if it is not their "real" name.... If people published under one or more pen names and/or their own name, the best known of these names is chosen. Could maybe be changed to omit real name under certain circumstances or after "article title" add: "and throughout the article". Could also add: "Pen names are often used for privacy reasons so if the "real" name is not widely used, be careful not to 'out' someone." Raquel Baranow (talk) 19:31, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
I repeat... we are not "outing" anyone... Acharya S's real name has already been "outed". There are multiple highly reliable sources that mention her real name. Also: We are not talking about re-naming an article... the article title should remain at Acharya S. No all this angst is over including (at most) one small sentence mentioning her real name in passing (and perhaps not even that... it could be done as a parenthetical).
  • no change to policy needed. no indication there is any actual issue. no indication that changing policies to please one individual would not create more problems than it "fixes". -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 01:17, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
  • A clarification for "courtesy" BLP issues might be in order. For example, we don't usually (NB usuallyalways) include the birth names of transgendered people who have changed their names socially, even if those names are easily available on the internet. This courtesy does not depend upon the legal status of the trans person's name. We also don't usually include the full names of Indian people, because it's normal in that culture to write "A.B. Kumar" rather than "Ajay Kumar", although the subject of a biography might have the full name given. It might be appropriate to explain which classes of people are protected under our idea of courtesy (legal names of trans people) and which ones aren't (crime victims, if this discussion is actually representative of the actual community POV). WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:07, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Conclusion: Jimmy Wales and Wikimedia on privacy in the New York Times[edit]

A few days ago, Jimbo and Lila Tretikov from the Wikimedia Foundation wrote an Op-Ed on privacy in the New York Times (over 400 comments) regarding a lawsuit they joined against the National Security Agency. In the essay they emphasise the importance of privacy to facilitate the free exchange of ideas, they call it "an essential right" protected by the Fourth Amendment: "It empowers us to read, write and communicate in confidence, without fear of persecution." They conclude, "knowledge flourishes where privacy is protected."

This is a no-brainer and essentially my conclusion (in regards to Acharya S) too. Raquel Baranow (talk) 19:52, 14 March 2015 (UTC)

It is however taken out of context and really has no relation to this issue at all.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 20:26, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
Agree with Maunus. If you want to invoke a "Jimbo says" defense, try asking Jimbo for his views about this specific issue... but please don't take something he said about a completely unrelated issue and quote it out of context. Blueboar (talk) 21:26, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Follow policy, follow sources - enough of this per "Of course the subject of a BLP does not get to cherrypick preferable sources, but if the information is reliable then there should be other sources available. If not, there's no harm to Wikipedia by not including it." per User:Ivanvector is correct, so since there are multiple sources then they should be included. It is possible that these multiple reliable sources will have a detrimental effect on the bio subject's credibility and income stream but otherwise can have no serious negative effect. ·maunus and Blueboar there are 2 RFCs open on the Talk:Acharya S page. In ictu oculi (talk) 19:53, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
I think there is sufficient doubt about the number of reliable sources and the potential harm that in this case we ought to err on the side of caution, and not on the side of slavishly following some literalist interpretation of policy.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 16:49, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
You inserted your comment above mine but I tend to agree. There's an apparent (or claimed by the subject) risk of harm, and having this information in the article doesn't really add anything that is vitally important to the topic. We should err on the side of privacy. But again, this doesn't require any changes to our policies. Ivanvector (talk) 17:41, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
What I said is absolutely correct: we do not cherrypick sources, and subjects of articles are not entitled to dictate what reliably-sourced information may or may not be included. However I have to say that this particular issue feels very icky, like a focused and sustained campaign of harassment directed against this author for her particular fringey views has found its way into Wikipedia, and I don't feel good about that at all. Although I don't think that any changes to our policies are advisable to accommodate this particular case, I'd be interested to hear what Jimbo has to say about it. And I'd be interested in hearing what Arbcom has to say about it, should it end up there. Ivanvector (talk) 20:20, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
User:Ivanvector It's clear that the author wishes to present both (a) WP:FULLNAME and (b) WP:RS like a focused and sustained campaign of "harassment" (the author's charge) directed against the author for her particular fringey views. But we have had other authors who've not wanted reliable sources used in their articles and have lobbied against it. What makes this author exempt from (a) WP:FULLNAME and (b) WP:RS ? Or put the other way round: Why do (a) WP:FULLNAME and (b) WP:RS not apply to this article? In ictu oculi (talk) 16:25, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

My 2 cents is that we should not publish the name of an author if it is not covered in reliable sources. However in this case it appears it is covered in reliable sources. We are not revealing a secret, this is information that is already out there. We should not dismiss the content of reliable sources because the subject wishes to be presented in a certain way. Chillum 17:44, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

@Raquel Baranow: I redacted your earlier comment. To be clear for later readers, the argument appears to be that "D. M. Murdock" is also a pen name. (talk) 15:23, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

These refs associate the titles with the name forms: [12], [13], [14]. If she has an outing issue, it would seem to be with the publisher of her Croatian edition or the library who catalogued it. LeadSongDog come howl! 13:01, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
Sorry to be more than a little amused here. Is anyone supposing that the people who want to harm her cannot get her identity from non-Wikipedia source like the tens already posted above, all of them, I think found with simple google searches? May be we can also propose that we should exclude her real name because her enemies are indefinitely blocked from accessing those other sources, and virtual agents are following them in tandem with real life agents. The whole thing is a crooked United Nations conspiracy led by the Bishop of Outer Mongolia, because of the ancient cult of Gutentberg has an agenda to uphold the exclusivity of Encyclopedists. Dan Brown anyone? Aditya(talkcontribs) 17:58, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't think it's really a question of hiding information. I think it's a question about whether our values include Wikipedia:Don't be evil or not. If we have information of marginal interest or relevance, and we know that our inclusion of that information upsets an innocent BLP, then do we want to insist that it be included, or do we want to show some human compassion?
Put yourself in her shoes: Imagine that you had a young child, and that child was being harassed or even kidnapped because of your writing. The police told you to be careful about what was posted online. Some Wikipedian kept adding information that the police told you not to post online because "we (almost) always add this". Would you say, "Oh, those silly boys over at Wikipedia! I guess it's really harmless for one of the biggest websites in the world to post the information that the police said not to post online. It's only used as a reference for names, locations, and other basic facts by nearly every journalist who will write about my books—what harm could possibly result?" Or do you think that this situation might make you sad and afraid? WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:47, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
How are you suggesting we hide information that is easily found on the web? After all, it's the many reliable sources, found through searching the web and reading credible reliable scholarship, that inform us of Dorothy's name. There is nothing new being done with this. It's no secret, it's a well known and well documented fact. Thanks. Ism schism (talk) 23:41, 27 March 2015 (UTC)


Being discussed elsewhere, so please don't fragment the discussion by commenting here. Please go to WT:POLITICIAN to offer your opinions. Nyttend (talk) 05:02, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

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

Per this discussion on ANI, there is some recent interest in the WP:POLITICIAN policy, particularly regarding the argument that "members of state legislatures" are "likely to be notable". Granted, this is a guideline and not a strict policy, but there seems to be some dissent, on the grounds of the sheer number of such politicians. (Personally, I'm also unsure of the cultural neutrality of the phrasing national, state or provincial legislature.)

Thoughts? (talk) 15:30, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

I feel that unless there is enough coverage in secondary sources then the politician isn't notable. Merely being elected doesn't guarantee notability and there have been and are many unknown politicians that just run day to day routine activities for the state. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 15:34, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
NOTE: There is a parallel discussion on this subject going on at: Wikipedia talk:Notability (people)#WP:POLITICIAN Issue. As I said over there, I definitely do not feel that being elected to a state (or provincial) legislature should automatically infer "notability" on such politicians (i.e. WP:POLITICIAN #1) – they seem to me to be more akin to the "local" politicians mentioned in WP:POLITICIAN #3, and so should not necessarily be assumed to be "notable"... --IJBall (talk) 16:15, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Please centralize the discussion at Wikipedia talk:Notability (people)#WP:POLITICIAN Issue. Makes it easier to keep track of the discussion.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 17:04, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

Closing. Yes, I know that discussions often don't need to be closed, but closing this should prevent people from commenting here when they should go to WT:POLITICIAN instead. Nyttend (talk) 05:02, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

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

English Wikipedia Main page editing content[edit]

RFC for status of Wikipedia's "No Medical Advice" policy[edit]

An RFC which may affect the status of Wikipedia's "No Medical Advice" policy is located here please comment if this interests you. --Jayron32 16:32, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Checkuser and Oversight appointments 2015: Voting on the candidates[edit]

Following community consultation, the Arbitration Committee is now voting on appointments to the Checkuser and Oversight roles at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Motions. Comments are welcomed at that page.

For the Arbitration Committee;

Courcelles (talk) 19:26, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Direct link to wikidata entry in infoboxes[edit]

I propose that data in infoboxes (and elsewhere in articles) transcluded from wikidata should have a (+/-) which should be a direct link to the entry at wikidata. An example is from Hu wiki where population are from wikidata, and have a (+/-) - see hu:Lyon ("Teljes népesség" in infobox). Motivation: Its very diffucult to edit infboxes which transclude data from wikidata. First you have to figure out that the data are from wikidata, next you have to find the "Edit links" which description says "edit interlanguage links" (or press alt-g - but who knows that) below interwiki links, and next find the entry on wikidata, and then hope the data was from wikidata and not some tricky template data list. Christian75 (talk) 10:44, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

I propose the policy should be clarified, and a clear statement be placed in a suitable policy (such as WP:Verifiability that information that requires a citation should not be transcuded from WikiData because WikiData is not a reliable source. According to the "Verifiability" policy "all quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged" should be supported by a citation to a reliable source. It has long been the practice in Wikipedia that the citation must be provided in the same article in which the material appears; it is not acceptable to cite an unreliable source which contains a citation to a reliable source.Jc3s5h (talk) 15:11, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
That's a non sequitur. The fact that Wikidata is not a reliable source is irrelevant if a source can be provided either on Wikipedia in the context of the data or on Wikidata as part of the sourced statement. --Izno (talk) 17:45, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
Disagree with User:Izno. If a claim requires a citation to a source, the citation must be contained in the article; a citation in WikiData is not sufficient to support a Wikipedia article. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:06, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
Especially as WD is off-wiki for most WPs, and is filled by various WPs, even ones with dubious reputation. Once there is a tough regime of reliability for WD this may change, but not now. ♫ Sänger - Talk - superputsch must go 19:08, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
You seem only to be disagreeing with my suggestion that the data can be sourced on Wikidata (and not also on Wikipedia) and not the fact they you seem to be wrong in your initial assertion that anyone would use Wikidata as a a source to be cited and not simply what it should be used for, which is as a database of information. Cool! Glad we agree. :) --Izno (talk) 00:19, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

@Christian75: can you link to an example of an article on the English wikipedia that has this issue? I think this is an excellent idea, but this seems like more of a technical than a policy issue and suspect you'd get better comment in a different venue. The citation issue strikes me as a distraction; if anything data are more "verifiable" from wikidata where they're less likely to suffer from copy/paste errors, accidental edits, or undetected vandalism. Transcluding something from wikidata is not substantively different from typing it in yourself, except that it's less likely to be wrong. Opabinia regalis (talk) 20:15, 28 March 2015 (UTC)