Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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The policy section of the village pump is used to discuss proposed policies and guidelines and changes to existing policies and guidelines.
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Please see this FAQ page for a list of frequent proposals and the responses to them.

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Should the +reviewer bit be removed from inactive reviewers?[edit]

This RfC has closed with a consensus against revoking the reviewer right from inactive reviewers. The userright does not have a high requirement, editors having the right and not using it cause no issues for the encyclopedia, and the Pending Changes log is rarely backlogged so it wouldn't be unsurprising for the right not to be used all that often. Sam Walton (talk) 23:12, 16 December 2014 (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.

There are currently 6215 reviewers, most of which have not made any reviews or edits to pages under pending changes protection in the last month or so. I'd like to suggest that reviewers who have not made any reviews for a month can have their reviewer bit removed by any sysop. There are a number of reasons for this, including the fact the flag is a common victim of hat collecting; Introducing a timeout, like we have for sysop, should hopefully reduce this. Also, this should better indicate who is actually responding to the requests, and if level 2 is ever rolled out, it shows who is actively using the user right, so who the people to approach are.
--Mdann52talk to me! 16:35, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
Happy editing, L235-Talk Ping when replying 16:40, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

TL;DR: proposal changed to 6 months of inactivity needed, and I'd like people to reconsider oppose opinions. Wall of text: I'd like to change the proposal a bit. I'd like the proposal to be removal if there are no reviews in 6 months. Also, re. no hatshopping seen: then you've never seen WP:PERM/PCR when it's busy- people request it, use it for a couple of days, then never use it again. It's not useful at all for reviewers that don't actually review anything. Also, I'm quite frustrated by what I feel is bandwagoning- people see an almost-empty support section and a quite lengthy oppose section, and have a bias towards opposing and unintentionally don't consider the merits of the proposal. It irks me that if Mdann and I had put down supports "as co-author" the proposal would be in a different direction right now. That was a bit harsh, sorry, but it gets the point across. --L235-Talk Ping when replying 05:09, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Discussion (reviewers)[edit]

When reviewer first became available, it was handed out without request to around 5000 users (mostly by Courcelles [1]), this is where most of the "never reviewed reviewers" came from. –xenotalk 17:37, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

That's correct. Why should we keep these reviewers that aren't interested? --L235-Talk Ping when replying 17:59, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) @Xeno: I'm not so sure. I've reviewed the logs for a number of accounts with reviewer permission (both recently granted and who have had it for a while), and most of these have never used it (or rarely have used it). User rights should only be granted if they are going to be used, not just so people have something in case it is useful one day. --Mdann52talk to me! 18:02, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
Just more of an observation than anything. If the proposal carries, admins should probably stop handing it out without request. –xenotalk 18:06, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

@Biblioworm: I agree on many points. Reviewer doesn't give you any possibility for abuse, that's true. One consideration here is hatshopping. This proposal would a) reduce the number of hatshoppers with the reviewer permission, and b) increase the rate of reviews as the hatshoppers that are interested in keeping the flag review pending changes. --L235-Talk Ping when replying 17:59, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

  • I would be willing to support the removal of the flag for inactivity, however, 1 month is way too short of a time period. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 21:26, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
    • I'm afraid six months is still too short. Let me make it clear what I would support. I would support removal of the bit from editors who were put in the group more than three months ago without requesting it and have never used it and or users who haven't used it in over a year. The main reason I would support it is to make {{NUMBERINGROUP:Reviewer}} more accurate as to the number of actual reviewers. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 17:09, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Reviewers rights are granted liberally to trusted users regardless of whether they may use it or not because we didn't want this to be a closed system, and also because of PC2, for which there's no general consensus but which is used on occasion. There's no hatshopper issue, most of those users didn't even request it. Cenarium (talk) 22:01, 16 November 2014 (UTC)

Support (reviewers)[edit]

  1. Per the nom. I'd recommend a more liberal timespan like six months. Chris Troutman (talk) 00:46, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  2. Sorta I support removal after 1 year of complete inactivity; it is very easy to request back if someone who has left the project returns in the future. — xaosflux Talk 05:19, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  3. Sorta. I would say that if someone has been inactive edit-wise for over a year or more then it would probably be a good idea to remove permissions. Why? Because notability guidelines change and we can't automatically guarantee that the absentee reviewer would be aware of how much rules have changed- especially if they were from some of the "wild and wooly" times of Wikipedia. Even if the guidelines haven't had some sort of dramatic change, being gone for a year or more could have a negative impact on how well they remember those notability guidelines or some of the other pertinent guidelines of Wikipedia (BLP, etc). It's not like it's requesting adminship, so it's not that hard to get back and this way we'd ensure that they refreshed themselves on the basic guidelines of Wikipedia. Now if they are active but haven't used their reviewer status, then that's sorta debatable. I suppose that what we could do is just ask them after a few years if they want to continue using it- and more importantly, ask them why they haven't used it. I think that one of the biggest issues here is to try to find out why people aren't using their reviewer permissions and what we can do to improve the chances of them using it. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 04:27, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
    I think one of the reasons is that there just aren't that many opportunities to use it. I don't head over to Special:PendingChanges that much at all (just review now and again when they appear on my watchlist), but right now there's only four articles in the list. At least there's no backlog! Putting more pages under pending changes seems to be a good idea, we can obviously cope with it. Dylanfromthenorth (talk) 05:13, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
    Right now, pending changes is only approved for use in fairly limited circumstances - vandalism/disruption from anon/new users that is frequent enough to be considered "persistent", but not so frequent that semi-protection would be a better option. Mr.Z-man 14:05, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  4. Sort of weakly support, exactly like Xaosflux says. All advanced flags should presumably follow the same rules as the admin bit: If you are 100% inactive (not just inactive on pages requiring that particular flag) for at least one year, then you should probably (I guess) lose the reviewer flag. I don't think that this is hugely important, however. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:13, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  5. Support. Use it or (after 6 months of not) loose it. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 15:30, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

Oppose (reviewers)[edit]

  1. Oppose. The admin bit is only removed after a year of inactivity because it can be very dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands. Sure, the reviewer permission gives you the ability to approve edits and edit PC protected pages without being reviewed, but it is not a dangerous tool. Besides, suppose a reviewer goes on an extended vacation or is busy doing other things on WP. Doing this would just make things unnecessarily complicated. --Biblioworm 17:27, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  2. Oppose - (IMO) No real need to remove, unless "extra drama" is needed. Mlpearc (open channel) 17:33, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  3. Oppose. Accepting reviewer permission does not imply the editor will start watching pages that are not already on his/her watchlist. If there are few or no pages on the reviewer's watchlist with pending changes activated, naturally the reviewer will not have much occasion to use the permission. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:30, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  4. Oppose per Jc3s5h. This seems to be a solution in search of a problem. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 18:57, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  5. Oppose The OP states "There are a number of reasons for this,..." (justifications for the proposal). They have provided a single, IMO rather weak reason. If there are further reasons the OP might like to share them in detail. Otherwise it has no merit. Leaky Caldron 19:13, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  6. Oppose. Even the most active of editors sometimes go inactive for months, either for RL commitments or wikibreaks. Forcing them to reapply when they return adds an extra layer of bureaucracy and creates unnecessary work for the admin corps. Altamel (talk) 20:09, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
  7. Oppose. Why would we want to remove it? To make it harder for volunteers to do volunteer work? I can't fathom why this would be a good idea. Kaldari (talk) 00:46, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  8. Oppose. Not everybody edits in every single month, let alone does reviews, and implementing this will greatly reduce the number of reviewers to pass pending changes requests, thereby causing more backlogs. Reviewer permission does not imply that the user will be reviewing pages 24/7. Finally, one can't go rogue with the reviewer permission like they can with admin permission; a wrong review can quickly be undone by any autoconfirmed user, while if a block is mistakenly placed, another admin has to come along and unblock. Epicgenius (talk) 00:48, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
    Still oppose with six months. I'd like to see at least a year of total inactivity (not reviewing inactivity; I mean, zero edits in a year) to remove this right. Epicgenius (talk) 16:49, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  9. Oppose. I've no idea what we'd gain by removing it from people. If there was a finite number we were able to give out, then maybe, but there isn't a finite number of reviewer permissions. I can well imagine that editors/reviewers like to focus on one type of edit for a good while, then another type etc etc, and those phases could last for any amount of time. I know I do; sometimes I'll be focussing on referencing articles, sometimes on NPP, sometime in AfD, or whatever. Dylanfromthenorth (talk) 01:08, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  10. Oppose What others have said above is very true. Additionally, compared to recent changes and new pages, the amount of work needed for PC reviewing is magnitudes lower, and reviewers sometimes may not have any pending change to review. And 1 month is way too short, IMO. Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 04:36, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
    Thanks for changing the proposal. 6 months is indeed better. But anyway, L235, you really should consider our reason given for the opposes before blaming bandwagon. Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 10:12, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  11. Oppose This is a solution in search of a problem. If wikipedia had a problem with mass vandalism caused by sleeper PC-approved users, then sure, but there's no utility to be gained by putting an expiry on the tool as a rule. Deadbeef 07:20, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  12. Oppose Sometimes a whole month goes by without anything to review. Hawkeye7 (talk) 08:14, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  13. Oppose - Hat collecting is an "issue", but I wouldn't say it rises to the level of a "problem" that warrants the creation of a new process and more work for admins. Also note that the inactivity requirement for sysop doesn't require actually using the tools, just making an edit every 12 months. If we're going to do this (and I don't think we should), using a stricter standard than for sysop doesn't make any sense. Mr.Z-man 15:45, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  14. Oppose per Mr.Z-man. Ncmvocalist (talk) 15:53, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  15. Oppose - Not everyone edits in a month and if everyone needs to take breaks and whatnot It's going to be a pain in the arse!, All in all IMHO this'll create more crap instead of less. –Davey2010(talk) 16:42, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  16. OpposeLittle use in removing this bit from people even after long inactivity. Admin bits can be abused or accounts can get compromised and can really damage the wiki. A reviewer bit getting compromised? I'd be more concerned about vandals finding out about the backlinks feature of Twinkle, tbh rather than this. Oppose. Tutelary (talk) 23:14, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  17. Oppose — I hope the fact that I'm a long-term reviewer doesn't weigh heavily against me here, considering the fact that I haven't done very many reviews (and none in at least a year). I just don't see the point of revoking access to this user right. It's not really the type of tool that's easily abused; you click a button and approve an edit. It also allows you to contribute to PC-protected pages without having to have your every contribution scrutinized beforehand. "Hat collecting" is a ridiculous reason to strip people of advanced permissions; if you are unable to prove that they can't be trusted with them, then why bother complaining? To offset accusations of "bandwagoning", I didn't even read past the first paragraph before I knew that I'd be against this proposal. My opinion here would remain the same if I were the last man on Earth Wikipedia holding it. Kurtis (talk) 17:21, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  18. OpposeThis is just more trouble than its worth. Unlike with admins, there is no real benefit to removing reviewer rights from everyone who is inactive. Doing so will just waste our admins' time and prevent them from doing more important work. Additionally, what about infrequent reviewers or users who go on long hiatuses? I imagine many people with the reviewer right fall into these category, and it seems silly to remove rights from people who are positively, if infrequently, contributing. Spirit of Eagle (talk) 03:44, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  19. Oppose- there does not appear to be a problem in need of solving here. So what if inactive users have the reviewer bit? Reyk YO! 07:36, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  20. Oppose - Pointless bureaucracy, trying to solve a problem that is nonexistent is always a bad idea anyway. Lukeno94 (tell Luke off here) 17:33, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  21. Oppose As has been noted by many others, no case has been presented that makes it clear that these users having an unused low-level userright causes harm. Should we remove autoconfirmed status from anyone who has not edited a semi-protected page in six months? Should we remove rollback from users who don't use it? Of course not, because it doesn't accomplish anything. Neither would this. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:57, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  22. Oppose - a solution looking for a problem. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 07:33, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  23. Oppose - There are only about a dozen pages at Special:PendingChanges awaiting review, and you are going to disparage some six thousand reviewers as "hat collectors" because there aren't enough pages to go around for all of them to review? Maybe the problem is that the process for configuring pending changes settings doesn't configure enough pages? There's about one page on my watchlist that's so configured, and half the time I can just revert it, which doesn't require the hat, which is why I haven't bothered to ask for it. Wbm1058 (talk) 16:38, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
  24. Oppose - pointless work, and no real advantage. HÆDOreply 03:33, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
  25. Oppose I fail to recognize the problem which this proposal would solve. I think the asserted problem is lack of uniformity in the process of maintaining user rights, but this is not recognized problem and I see no argument in this proposal which describes it as troublesome in this case. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:10, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
  26. Oppose Mostly harmless. Should only be removed if there's evidence of abuse. NE Ent 02:55, 22 November 2014 (UTC)
  27. Oppose Why do we even need to remove their reviewer privileges? It is a total waste of time. What outcome would this have on Wikipedia anyway? The people might be taking a small break. When they come back, they will be distraught to find no reviewer privileges. If we used a robot, that would be faster, but it makes no sense. We need all of the reviewers we can get, anyway. EMachine03 (talk) 22:56, 24 November 2014 (UTC)
  28. Oppose Reviewer is only a small indication of trust. Not much havoc could result from a compromised reviewer account. Even though I strongly supported the sysop timeout, the potential damage here is just too low to justify removal. To me it's a flag that's more similar to autoconfirmed than any kind of sysop level permission. Gigs (talk) 18:28, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  29. Oppose No sign of there being a problem here to be solved - for example, it would make more sense to remove all permissions to use varying fonts, AFAICT, or require special flags to add images to articles, each of which would seem a far bigger "problem" than has been presented here. Collect (talk) 18:47, 26 November 2014 (UTC) .
  30. Oppose We de-sysop administrators for inactivity as a safety issue, not a punitive one. An authorized user gaining access to the administrator tools is far more dangerous than one that gains access to pending changes review. Therefore I don't see much of a need to stir up drama by removing reviewer tools, in which case we may as well have over user rights, like rollbacker and template editor, removed for inactivity as well. We don't need more drama, do we? --I am k6ka Talk to me! See what I have done 14:46, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
  31. Oppose per WP:VOLUNTEER and even if inactive, we'd still have a pool of reviewers that could become active any time and help if they so choose. --lTopGunl (talk) 16:22, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
  32. Oppose I see no issue that needs to be "fixed" here. Irondome (talk) 22:25, 3 December 2014 (UTC)
  33. Oppose Why should an infrequently-used (rather innocuous) capability be taken away from a user? What would be next, removing the ability to edit articles if none have been edited in the past six months? --R. S. Shaw (talk) 01:08, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
  34. Oppose as a solution in search of a problem, as a proposal that would replace a problem that isn't a problem with a problem that is a problem, because it would create an unnecessary bureaucratic overhead, and because you can't actually do any damage with reviewer rights. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 22:57, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Other comments (reviewers)[edit]

  • If most of the reviewers don't want to review... that says something about how the community views the entire review process. Is (perhaps) the idea a well intended, but failed experiment? Blueboar (talk) 19:20, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
Your first sentence appears to be a non-sequitur. Review is in my experience used for what is on your watch list, and several articles may have multiple reviewers watching but its not a race. Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:17, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
It's more like reviewers don't have much to review, which is a good thing. The backlog is well under control, so on that count this experiment, as you say, is a success. Cenarium (talk) 21:41, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
I'd like to see pending changes used more often but the community only seems willing to apply PC1 (or PC2) for editor behavior issues rather than preventative content protection. Chris Troutman (talk) 00:54, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Not in my case; my recent requests for protection have been for PC, for articles that aren't really getting semi-protection levels of vandalism, but where the vandalism isn't being caught very quickly, and it is happening at least once every couple of days, on fairly high traffic pages. Both were granted, as well. Lukeno94 (tell Luke off here) 19:52, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I'd like to see more pending changes applied to articles as well, especially the extremely popular articles that are vandalized, spam edited, or similarly unhelpfully edited at least once a month. (By this I mean that it's not spam, personal attacks, or vandalism, but people writing in obviously non-usable content along the lines of what you'd read on a fan page or rumor site. You know, the stuff that is almost always inevitably reverted when it's caught.) I know that when I was just getting started with editing I would get very, very frustrated with pages like this and get even more frustrated when the pages would get semi'd but not really protected because the problem editors knew how to get around semi protections. I still get frustrated with those, I must admit. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 04:32, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
    • There are probably at least hundreds of thousands of pages where non-usable content is added at least once a month. It would be too contentious (just adopting pending changes is one of the most contentious decision en.wikipedia ever made). It would also risk bogging down the entire system because reviewers would no longer have clear cut criteria, resulting in huge backlogs. This looks more like flagged revs than pending changes, and consensus has always been strongly against flagged revs. I think the only potential extensions are targeted proposals like Wikipedia:Pending changes blocks. Cenarium (talk) 05:39, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • As one of the people who helped push the decision on whether to use PC over the finish line after it had been stuck in limbo for several years I have to say it was always the consensus in every discussion I can recall that the reviewer right should be easy to get. In practice (at WP:PERM) it seems it is generally just slightly harder to get than rollback. The reason is that it has as little potential for causing real harm as rollback does. If someone is mis-using this tool, by all means, yank it back, but there is no need to take it away from users just because they aren't using it. If hat collectors think this very low-level tool gives them some sort of prestige that is their problem, there's no need to do anything about it. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:03, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
    • Yep, that was one of the big selling points we used to help get it passed, that it wouldn't be a closed group and that most any sane editor could probably get the permission. Gigs (talk) 18:31, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment as one of those give the pending changes right without my knowledge or my asking for it, the biggest reason for my not using it was that I didn't know I had it. It was a surprise when I did discover I had it; but once I knew I had it I have used it. Perhaps the best way to get those with this right to use it, would be a message to all who have it that they do and how to use it, and that when it is handed out without the user asking for it for them to receive the same message. Rather than restricting the right maybe the best thing to do is to go in the other direction, grant it automatically (in the same way autoconfirmed is) for everybody, with for example, a registered account of over a year, 1800 edits and no blocks. With it remaining in the remit of admins to grant when the automatic criteria have not been met--KTo288 (talk) 07:58, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
    • With regard to not knowing about it, now the echo extension notifies in case of change of usergroups. I don't think that a mass message would be much appreciated at this point. There has been proposals to grant it automatically after some criteria are met but they failed. They were all made before actual implementation though, as far as I'm aware, and my guess is that a new proposal now may be much more likely to gain consensus. Cenarium (talk) 21:39, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
      • I don't know, the backlog always stays so low, people would probably argue that auto granting isn't really necessary. I personally wouldn't care either way. Don't think it's needed but wouldn't care if it was put in place. Gigs (talk) 17:10, 15 December 2014 (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.

When consensus screws thing up real bad[edit]

Anyone who has constructive ideas (note: not a rehash of negatives, please!) is welcome to comment here. I was told that this ("Accuracy versus consensus") was not the right place to get input on it. --SergeWoodzing (talk) 19:10, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

It's not really a question of accuracy vs. consensus... it's more a question of what is accurate in English vs. what is accurate in various Scandinavian languages. The English language sources spell the subject's name one way, while Scandinavian sources spell it another way. Since this is the English language version of Wikipedia, we follow the English language sources. Blueboar (talk) 20:12, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
I appreciate your interest and attempt to reply, but you've taken a sloppy look and missed the point. It's not at all question of spelling but of two different names, as different as Edward (Edvard in Swedish and German) versus Howard (Howard in Swedish and German) or as Blueboar versus Bluebear. (See all the other relevant examples I also gave please!) I asked that irrelevant arguments like yours not be rehashed. Spelling is irrelevant here. My name is correctly spelled Sergio in Spanish and Sergius in Latin (those are legitimate exonyms), but Serde or Serve or Serke in no language. If a Serke Woodzing exists anywhere, in any country, in any language, that is not me. Get it? --SergeWoodzing (talk) 00:34, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
Duplications stricken - see here! --SergeWoodzing (talk) 00:41, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
You seem to be forum shopping at Wikipedia:Teahouse/Questions#Accuracy versus consensus and now here. There is already plenty of discussion at Talk:Hedwig of Holstein where it belongs. Please don't forum shop, and don't disparage disagreeing editors or try to ban them from discussing the issue. They have the right to participate. Your excessive bolding is also annoying. If you want support for your case then I suggest trying to find some reliable English sources for the spelling instead of keep arguing that we should ignore consensus and spelling in English sources. PrimeHunter (talk) 04:10, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
"Now here"!? I've struck just about the whole thing and referred the matter on to exactly the page you pointed out! Didn't you notice? What "how here"? I was also specifically referred here from the Teahouse. Didn't you notice that either? I have every right to ask people not to discuss matters that obviously are irrelevant to a discussion I started and to try to get them to focus on the issue. I also have the right to use bold type to remind errant people of what the issue actually is, when they comment without having read. Since the issue is not a matter of spelling - didn't you notice that either? - I'll have to chalk your unhelpful, issue-disregarding and condescending lecture up to what the Swedes call blåskontot. ask: why lecture? Why not contribute something constructive? --SergeWoodzing (talk) 12:15, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
PS PrimeHunter versus Prime Hunnter would be a spelling issue. PrimeHunter versus PrimePunter would be an issue of two different names. That's what this is all about. --SergeWoodzing (talk) 12:22, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
The Teahouse post said "If you wish to propose a change to Wikipedia's policies or procedures, the Village pump is the place to go". You don't appear to be proposing a change to the policies Wikipedia:Article titles#Use commonly recognizable names or Wikipedia:Consensus. You want a specific article moved. That discussion belongs on the talk page of the article. If I was notable and was generally called PrimePunter in reliable English sources then that's what a Wikipedia article should probably call me, with a remark that my Wikipedia username is PrimeHunter. Similar to the opening line already mentioning the German name you want. You don't have the right to decide that our naming policy about common English names is irrelevant and that people must not refer to it in a naming discussion. And you don't define what "the issue" is and control the discussion just because you started it. PrimeHunter (talk) 18:34, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
I do not understand or support your personal opinions about discussions, nor why you think you have the right to order me around like a dictator as if you owned Wikipedia. To me it's very important that we don't all waste a lot of time and energy discussing irrelevant things. Clouding the issue is a destructive discussion tactic, not a constructive one. It's more destructive than me reminding people to discuss a certain issue in a discussion I started, or you doing that too, if you don't want your debate inflated and ruined by virtual filibustering. If someone starts a discussion on a certain issue I would always try to be considerate to everyone involved by discussing that issue, not a lot of things that I would like to steer the discussion away to, but that are not what the discussion is about. It's a matter of consideration, not of what you or anyone else feels I am allowed to do in a discussion I started. You don't make the rules all on your own, and neither do I. If people are considerate, and discuss ethically, we never need to argue about things like this. --SergeWoodzing (talk) 20:50, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

Proposed change to Wikipedia's policy on naming biographies:

  • When it is obvious that an article has been given a name which is not that of the subject person, because of a small amount of English language sources through which that incorrect name has been spread on the Internet, WP:Common sense should prevail. No article should be given a name which is not based on facts as to the actual name of the subject person in his/her life or in history therafter. What a small amount of English language sources tell us is not a fact in every single case. --SergeWoodzing (talk) 21:03, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
The thing is... when the majority of English language sources use name "A"... common sense is for the English language Wikipedia to use name "A". And it is not at all "obvious" that name "B" is in some way more "correct" than name "A". Your campaign is directed at the wrong target. We reflect what the sources say. If you think they are "wrong", take it up with them... not us. Blueboar (talk) 21:51, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
The only real exceptions I can think of are extremely rare exceptions where there might exist only one or two English language sources about a topic which all use the variant name. Actually, in some such cases, I honestly could see saying that the sources are wrong, if, for instance, the publishers or writers or other reliable sources say that there was an error in the texts used. But in such cases, it would still be incumbent on the person hoping to ignore those English uses to verify such information as per WP:BURDEN. John Carter (talk) 02:34, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Support (naming biographies)[edit]

Oppose (naming biographies)[edit]

  1. as the proposal is to my eyes excessively long and to some degree redundant, and that there already exists a relevant policy, WP:COMMONNAME, which deals with these matters. John Carter (talk) 21:45, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
  2. Yup... WP:COMMONNAME deals with it well. Blueboar (talk) 21:52, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
  3. An editor shouldn't arbitrarily decide that it's "obvious" that all English sources are wrong and must be ignored. This is the English Wikipedia. WP:COMMONNAME is fine as it is. PrimeHunter (talk) 22:32, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
  4. This is a proposal to disregard verifiability in favor of "truth" (as determined – at best – via original research). "Contradict reliable sources when it seems obvious to you that they're wrong." is about as inconsistent with our core policy as possible. —David Levy 02:00, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Comments (naming biographies)[edit]

Is anyone interested in addressing the actual problem, touched upon by John Carter above (thank you!), or is everyone interested only in defending and perpetuating a system that makes such problems (albeit rarely) come up? Ergo, what do we do when an article has a name which we can agree (given enough interest!) is not correct, as in not factually associated with the subject person? Do we ignore the fact that the arcticle is incorrectly named? Did you all miss the words "small amount" in the proposal or did you just choose to ignore them? Constructive suggestions? --SergeWoodzing (talk) 00:56, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

The constructive suggestion is to find reliable English sources that say that the reliable sources upon which an article is based were actually in error as to the subject name. When all the English language sources call something a particular name, that is its name in English. Unless you can document in reliable sources that the subject, because of confusion or unfamiliarity, is actually supposed to be called something other than what the English language sources are calling it, then you are engaging in original research, pure and simple. Find sources that say other sources are wrong about the name, and people will begin to discuss whether a change can be justified. VanIsaacWScont 01:17, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
That would be fine in a few cases where the subject person is well known enough in English literature to be discussed like that. Obviously (to me), when unfortunate things like this (rarely) happen, that is never the case. Then what do we do, if we all agree that the name is wrong, based for example, on unanimous reliable sources in a language or two of the person's origin(s) where more has been written about h, whereas we only have a very few and questionable English texts with the wrong name? That's what I'm after. --SergeWoodzing (talk) 01:40, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
Well, that's just it: you're the only one that thinks the name is wrong. Aside from you, we actually all agree the exact opposite of what you are trying to claim, and policies like COMMONNAME are a codification of that same agreement by hundreds or even thousands of English Wikipedians for the last decade +. English Wikipedia names its articles on the basis of reliable English language sources, and will only consult non-English language sources when English language sources don't exist. When those English language sources say the name of an article subject is X, that is what our policies and long-standing consensus say our article needs to be titled, and it is immaterial if some other language sources or an editor happens to think the "correct" name is actually Y. When all English language sources call a subject X, that is it's name in English. Period. VanIsaacWScont 02:53, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't trust a Wikipedia editor to decide that there are too few English sources and that the native sources unanimously use another spelling. The whole proposal is based on your quest to change Hedwig to Helwig for a German-Swedish woman. I find many English sources for our current name Hedwig, and did you even try to search for native sources? I immediately found Hedwig in both Swedish and German sources, for example [2] and [3]. By the way, our German article de:Helvig von Holstein is older than the English article and has included the alternative name "auch Hedwig von Holstein" from the beginning. And if you keep claiming that every single use of Hedwig is "obviously wrong" by people who didn't know her only "real" name Helvig/Helwig then [4] is an interesting source. It's a Swedish folder with the same text in Swedish and English. The Swedish text says Helvig. The English (below the child photo) says Hedwig, and only Hedwig. PrimeHunter (talk) 22:28, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
So according to you, Hedwig is the English name form for Helwig, the same name. Mind blowing! No use to even discuss something like that. And it hasn't occurred to you that that the further spreading of this error through WP is exactlty what i'd like to try to prevent. It's been going on for years now. --SergeWoodzing (talk) 00:48, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
Wikipeida is not the place to right great wrongs. The fact is, even if all those English langauge sources are using the wrong name... it is not our job to correct them. We reflect the sources, we don't lead them. If the English language sources are wrong, take it up with the authors and publishers of those sources... convince academics to comment on the error in academic journals, and to start using the right name in their writing. Once that occurs, Wikipedia will quickly follow suit. but as long as the English language sources call her Hedwig, so will Wikipedia... the best we can do is note that Scandinavian sources call her Helwig. Blueboar (talk) 01:22, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
The discussion is about a particular 13th century woman called Hedwig of Holstein in some English sources. If Wikipedia says North Korea instead of "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" then it isn't a general claim that "North" means "Democratic People's Republic of". PrimeHunter (talk) 04:09, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

WP:UE policy covers this. There is further guidance at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English) specifically to this discussion No established usage in English-language sources. -- PBS (talk) 14:27, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Policy on nationality statements[edit]

Nationality is always a contentions topic. In accordance with the fundamental principles of WP it is important that we treat this subject neutrally in all articles. At present ther is no clear guidance on how to do this, and thus results in various regional and separatist group using WP as a promotional vehicle for their cause. It also results in squabbles and edit wars over who 'owns' the good and the great.

I think it would be beneficial to have a community-wide discusssion in order to provide policy guidance on this issue. The important thing is to keeep WP neutral and stop it being used to push any particular POV. What is the best way to start this process? Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:06, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

Could you give an example, even abstract, of what you mean by "various regional and separatist group using WP as a promotional vehicle" and neutral vs non-neutral treatment of nationality statements ? Neutral POV is always a concern, and there are policies for exactly that reason. WarKosign 11:02, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
One example of the kind of thing that I am talking about is the discusssion at Talk:James_Clerk_Maxwell#Nationality. Maxwell's nationality is listed as 'Scottish' which from an international or diplomatic perspective does not exist. All inhabitants of the UK have British nationality.
In my opinion, the problem is that the discusssion rapidly moves from the factual to arguments about personal self-identity and strong feelings of cultural, ethnic, and historical identity. Let me make it quite clear that I have no desire whatever to suppress any of that, only to prevent it from being expressed in a statement of nationality, especially in an infobox, where readers should expect something factual that takes a world view supported by official reliable sources. I would therefore propose that 'nationality' should only refer to an independent state recognised by the UN. This is a simple, non POV, easily undersood and enforced rule that gives a clear level of consistency for our readers. It does not in any way prevent cultural, ethnic, and historical identities from being expressed in articles.
Another example would be the nationality of Marie Curie. This is a more complicated case but sime simple rules, relating formal and verifiable facts would, in my opinion, help. 'Nationality' should be treated as a formal fact, decided by diplomatic status. Country of birth, self-identified geographgical home, places of residence, nationality of parents are all important facts but they are not 'nationality'. The problem is that everybody wants to 'own' the good and the great. Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:58, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
In most cases, self-identification is best. Where the nation no longer exists, I suggest we still use the term the person would have recognized as their nationality. Not just "current nation sovereign over the person's birthplace." Alexander the Great was Macedonian. Collect (talk) 12:18, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
Self-identification is a recipe for endless arguments. Where the subject is a national of an independent state, 'nationality' should be of that state. Other facts should be stated in context if supported by reliable sources. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:44, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
I think that your exaple contains several claims that are arguable and are very far from neutral point of view. Scottish people "are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland", which I believe makes them a nationality.Nationality "differs technically and legally from citizenship". A Scottsman living in the USA is likely to still declare his nationality as Scottish. Are you denying ethnic minorities living in exile their nationalities ? What about immigrants, does their nationality suddenly change ?
There is no single definition of nationality, so no matter how you propose to determine it, many people would disagree. It's a matter of reaching a (painful) consensus in each individual case.
In my opinion, self-identification is a good start in many cases. WarKosign 13:24, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
WarKosign, You have a point about ethic minorities, especially where they don't identify with the state that defines their nationality, and where their own state exists today. However, the issue that Martin has raised does not concern ethnic minorities, neither does it concern historical boundary changes, nor does it concern a subject who was uncomfortable with his official nationality. For your information as a side issue, most Scots are ethically indistinct from the English. Only the Gaelic Highlanders in the north west stand out as being in any way ethnically distinct from the rest of the population of Britain, and they are only a small minority within Scotland, albeit that aspects of their culture such as kilts, tartan, and bagpipes, have been adopted by the Lowlanders since the nineteenth century in order to forge a Scottish identity. Also, Martin is quite happy to have the subject described as Scottish in the main body of the text. He simply wants the nationality field in the info box to read correctly. At the moment it is wrong, firstly because in the time of the subject, the status of 'British citizen' did not exist. The subject was a 'British subject' and so the nationality field should read 'British' and not Scottish. (talk) 16:16, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
The best thing to do is walk away from the British -vs- English, Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish/Irish usage argument. I tried adopting British & United Kingdom to bios in the past & was unsuccessful. GoodDay (talk) 17:30, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

(edit conflict)In any case, what is 'nationality'? Are you saying no one can be of Kurdish nationality, Scottish nationality, etc? We have an essay Wikipedia:Nationality of people from the United Kingdom. What do you think of it? You're going to have a hard time insisting that every UK citizen be called British. And how do you deal with dual nationality if you won't allow self-identification? I still identify with my home country, I wouldn't want a nationality foisted upon me. Dougweller (talk) 17:42, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

In the case that Martin is referring to, the subject is described as Scottish in the main text. Martin is not complaining about that. He simple wants the nationality field in the info box to read 'British'. Do you have any evidence that this particular subject would have objected to his official nationality? (talk) 18:44, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
If it's about a specific case, it's best to reach a consensus on the relevant talk page with people somewhat familiar with the subject. WarKosign 19:44, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

Dougweller, like it or not, like most people, you do have a nationality foisted upon you. If you have a passport it will be the nationality that is written on it, it will be the independent state to whose laws you are subject, or the country whose embassy you would usually go to if you got into trouble in a foreign country. You are free to describe yourself and self-identify in any way that you wish but your nationality is a simple matter of fact. I cannot, and do not, insist that every British national is decribed as 'British', just that their Nationality is stated as 'British'.

To counter the misinformation: "nationality" is nothing to do with "British". There is no "official nationality". There is no such thing as "British nationality". There is no mention of "British nationality" (or any nationality) in UK passports or on UK birth certificates. People are called "British citizen" on UK passports. Citizen means having the full rights of citizenship of the UK. The UK, since its establishment, and as currently established, is a union of nations. One of those nations is Scotland. So, by definition, it is possible for someone to be described as Scottish or of Scottish nationality. Also, but I could stand to be corrected on this, on birth certificates of persons born in the UK I think the particular royal coat-of-arms of the nation in question (be it Scotland, England, Wales, etc,) appears. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 15:46, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Tiptoe, I'm afraid you are wrong. British nationality is clearly defined in this government website British citizenship has been a sub-set of British nationality since 1983. (talk) 16:04, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
None of that is to do with the concept of "nationality" as expressed in this RfC, which is about being a member of a nation. There is no nation called Britain so there is no British nationality. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 16:27, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Tiptoes, The document in the link makes it quite clear that there is British nationality. (talk) 16:44, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
No, it simply uses the term, colloquially, to refer to citizenship. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 23:16, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

I am looking for a general policy[edit]

This is not just about a specific case it is about how to maintain a NPOV policy for Wikipedia. The probem with many bios is that various groups of editors want to try to claim ownership of the good and the great using the term 'nationality' (and maybe to disown certain less agreeable characters). In the example of Maxwell, he was born in Scotland to Scottish parents, educated in Edinburgh, Cambridge, Aberdeen and London, where he did his most important work. I do not think it is known how he self-identified. Now all that cannot posssibly be condensed into the name of a single country but at present, he is being 'claimed' by Scotland. I am not trying to claim him for England, London, or Britain; no one should be doing that. The details of such matters can be explained in the text but his nationality was 'British'. He was ultimately subject to the rule of the UK Parliament. Scotland has a separate legal system from the rest of the UK but, if the UK parliament had, for some reason, conscripted Maxwell to fight in a war. Maxwell would have had to do so. Had he had, say, French or German nationality he would not have had to fight.

The case of Marie Curie is still more complicated and regularly the subjecty of edit wars.

I am proposing that in all cases where reasonably practicable, the term 'nationality' should be reserved for the legal nationality of the subject based on the independent state to whose laws they are subject. The aim is to prevent the term from being abused as a means for various people to try to claim the good and the great for their own.

I propose to formulate the wording for a RfC to get the widest possible input from the WP community. Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:17, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

There are different definitions of nationality, different rules concerning how it is determined and how it can or cannot channge. A few examples:
  • Soviet subjects had an internal passport, with their nationality/ethnicity stated, and used for official or unofficial discriminaton by the authorities. The nationality of a child was of one of the parents, usally be parent's choice. There was no way to change the registration (except bribing a clerk).
  • Israel citizens had their ethnicity ("nation") stated in the ID cards, as plain "Jew" or "Arab" till 2005 and currently encoded (different number of asterisks for each nationality). For a child to be considered to be of Jewish nationality the mother has to be Jewish, I'm not sure if for other enthnic groups it is determined by the mother or the father. A person undergoing Conversion to Judaism under certain condition can change the registred nationality. Nationality of non-citizens and their relatives detrimes their ligibility for Israeli citizenship.
  • A person born to Dutch parents is considered Dutch national by the Dutch law. A child born to non-Dutch parents in Netherlands is normally not considered Dutch national.
  • A person born in the USA to parents of any nationality is considered an American national. "Americans do not equate their nationality with ethnicity, but with citizenship", therefore there are many Americans that are proud of their deverse enthnicity, such as Italian American, Chinese American, etc.
As you can see these laws are complicated, depend on many details and often conflict with each other, so I don't think there can be a simple policy in wikipedia to determine a person's nationality. WarKosign 18:06, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
I do not see as much of a problem as you do. Whatever the laws of a country on nationality those are the laws that we should apply.
I am not suggesting that we equate nationality with ethnicity, religion, self-identification or anything else. That is exectly my point. Nationality is determined by the laws of the countries of which a person may be a national. This is an objective criterion which does not depend on interpretation by editors here. As it is now, there is a continual clamour for ownership of the good and the great. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:24, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
In some cases giving the correct nationality of a subject might look incongruous but that can be explained in the text. That must surely be better than trying to sum up issues of birthplace, national identity, ethnicity, religion in just one term. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:27, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
I think you are confusing the nationality with citizenship. In many countries they are the same, in many others they are different.
Applying the laws: What is the nationality of a child born to a Dutch father and a Jewish mother in the USA who later repatriated to Israel ? Dutch, American or Jewish ? It is not up to us to determine the nationality in complicated cases, it is up to reliable sources (including the person in question themselves as a primary source) to tell us what the nationality is. WarKosign 19:41, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
I cannot answer your question but I can say for sure that there will be an answer, determined by the relevant laws of The Netherlands, US and Israel. Whatever those laws say is the nationality we must use in WP. It could be dual or triple or they might even be stateless but whatever it is it will be a matter of fact, not something that we as editors of an encyclopdia can make up. The person concerned cannot decide either, in many cases that may wish that they could but nationality is not decided by a person's feeelings or self identity, it is decided by the nationality laws of the relevant independent states.
My main point is this. If we use the international legal position to decide on what nationality to use there can be no arguments or edit warring it will just be a matter of fact. If we allow nationality to be decided by editors here, even by considering sources, or by the person concerned we have a recipe for endless conflict, and worse than that, we mislead our readers by giving them someone's interpretation of what nationality should be. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:29, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
It would be original research and therefore prohibited. Deciding whether and how the laws of different countries apply to specific people is the lawyer's and government clerk's job, and even they don't always agree. If we use our own judgement we mislead the readers even more, since then we would be giving our own interpretation of what nationality should be, and we are (mostly) not experts. See this article. WarKosign 08:53, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
It would be exactly the opposite, it would be determining a matter of fact. The legal nationality is determined by the laws of the coutries involved; no decisions by editors here are required.
In fact, any other method is OR. How exactly would you propose we decide on a person's nationality? Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:39, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
We do not decide, we represent reliable sources. If there is a contradiction between the sources, we represent all the POVs.
Please read WP:SYN carefully: If we have a source saying that people born to British parents in the UK are British, and another that says that X was born to British parents in the UK, it makes perfect sense to reach the conclusion that X is British - yet it is OR/SYN, therefore we do not do it. Instead we find a source that reaches this conclusion for us. WarKosign 20:46, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

The only original research relating to this debate, has been on the part of editor FF-UK who is using his own interpretation of census data in order to argue that British nationality no longer exists. British nationality does exist, and it is mentioned frequently on the news. I'm very disappointed that few editors have picked FF-UK up on what he is doing. He is using his own original research in order to push the political cause of burying British nationality. (talk) 20:12, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

IP, I know that you have been contributing to WP for only a few days, but before accusing anyone of using original research you should make sure that you understand what it means. You must also stick to the facts, as in other walk of life you must not lie or dissemble. Had you taken the trouble to find out about OR you would have understood that the policy applies to Articles only, it has no effect on Talk Pages. As my only contributions to the James Clerk Maxwell article have been three reverts (all over the last three months) of edits which have sought to change the long standing (eight years) entry for Maxwell's nationality as Scottish, then it is obvious that there is no OR involved on my part as I have contributed no new material whatsoever. As I have said, OR does not apply to talk pages, but in any case I have not used any OR in my talk contributions. I have certainly NOT argued that British nationality no longer exists! What I have done is to cite the results of the 2011 censuses in each of the nations of the UK to demonstrate that only a minority of UK citizens consider themselves to be British as opposed to English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish or some other nationality, this is fact as recorded in the census reports cited. I have also cited references to the fact that Scotland IS a nation, and there IS such a thing as Scottish nationality. By comparison, those who disagree with what I have written on the talk pages have not cited any references to the contrary. Proving that British nationality exists (which is not actually disputed by anyone as far as I know) is in no way a proof that other nationalities do not exist. I expect you to acknowledge what I have written here, and offer a full apology for your false accusations. You need to do this both here and on the other talk pages (including all the talk pages of other users) where you have made similar false accusations. You must undertake not to repeat such lies, and to ensure that your future contributions to WP are made in an honest manner, if you do not know something, do not make it up! FF-UK (talk) 14:47, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
IP, I know that you will have seen this by now as you have been busy editing. Why have you not had the decency to respond with your apology? FF-UK (talk) 20:21, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
I am actually disputing that British nationality exists in the way it is being presented here. The words British, British nationals, Briton, etc. are often used very loosely, but can anyone present official documents with the exact words "British nationality" on them? "British national" is not the same as "British nationality". Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 16:20, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
How about The British Nationality Act 1981 that defines all this in law. Bagunceiro (talk) 15:53, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Tiptoethrutheminefield, in what way do you think 'Nationality is being presented here? As the originator of this RfC, I mean it exactly as stated by Bagunceiro, the official nationality of a person. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:24, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
It does? Where? It refers a lot to "British citizenship", but the only uses of "British nationality" I found were titlees of acts of parliament. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 23:25, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

RfC (nationality)[edit]

How should we show the nationality of a person in WP? Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:02, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Please note that this RfC applies only to direct statements of nationality such as, 'The nationality of Joe Soap is XXX', or to the 'nationality' field in an infobox. It is not entended to apply to general descriptions in the text, such as 'The French scientist...'.

This has been a contentious and disputed topic on many talk pages. It is not clear at what level of independence and autonomy we can assign a nationality.


We should only allow 'nationality' to refer to an independent state. For current states we should only allow states which are Member states of the United Nations. Nationality should show the independent state to whose laws the person was/is subject. (Dual nationality should be stated as such) Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:02, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

As it seems that most of the respondents have not understood the proposal, let me make clear again that I am not referring to how we describe someone, that can be in a variety of ways (British, Cornish, European) and should, as always, be based on what is said in sources. I am talking about how we dirctlys state their nationality. In an infobox for example. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:47, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

Support (nationality)[edit]

  1. This policy avoids enless arguing and edit warring between separatist and other groups of editors. Details of the exact state of affair for issues such as ethnicity, religion, internal state or country, or self-identification can be described in the text but 'nationality' should be reserved for the independent state to whose laws the person was/is subject. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:02, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  2. GoodDay (talk) 13:43, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  3. (talk) 15:21, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  4. Wholehearted, strong support. For those who insist nationality is something subjective and "citizenship" is the correct term, perhaps we should change the word "nationality" to "citizenship" if that would appease them. The concept that we're trying to capture is which sovereign nation(s) the subject "belongs" to, not what they personally most identify with or anything of that ilk. WaggersTALK 13:01, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

Oppose (nationality)[edit]

  1. Oppose Nationality "differs technically and legally from citizenship". Some nationalities are shared by several states, some nation states have significant minorities of a different nationality, some nationalities do not have a national state at all. Enforcing wikipedia to have a a 1-to-1 relation between states and nationalities misrepresents the reality. More importantly, wikipedia represents the sources. If the sources say that a person has a certain nationality, this is what we report, whether this nationality has a state, and whether this state is recognized in any way by the UN. Writing anything contradicting reliable sources is WP:OR. WarKosign 13:26, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  2. Oppose Definition of Nationality: "The status of belonging to a particular nation". This RfC has been raised as a result of a lack of consensus on the nationality to be used for citizens of the UK, which is a union of several different nations. As the aforementioned WP article Nationality acknowledges, the meaning: is not defined by political borders or passport ownership and includes nations that lack an independent state (such as the Scots, Welsh, English, Basques, Kurds, Tamils, Hmong, Inuit and Māori). There is longstanding guidance on the subject at Wikipedia:Nationality of people from the United Kingdom. The 2011 UK census required people to state what national identity they regarded themselves as being: English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, or British (as well as non-UK identities), multiple identities were permitted. The results (England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland) showed that a minority of UK citizens regard themselves as British, either exclusively or in combination with another identity. The census demonstrates that the proposed policy would not be an appropriate solution in the case of the UK, and the existing practice should remain. One size does not fit all. FF-UK (talk) 15:48, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  3. I understand the frustration of people edit warring over whether somebody is British or Scottish, or Greek or Macedonian, but I don't believe this proposal is the answer. For a start, many article subjects were born, lived and died long before the UN was created. And it would be seriously jarring to have to arbitrarily confer on somebody who died 1000 years ago the 'nationality' of a state they could never have conceived of. My own suggestion would be accept that 'nationality' does not equal 'citizenship' and 'nation' does not equal 'nation state'. So for living and recently dead people, we can separately describe their nationality and citizenship. For long dead people, then a self-attributed nationality is probably the only sensible thing to give, and that might well be a nationality that no longer exists. -- chris_j_wood (talk) 16:17, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  4. Strongly oppose, if I were ever to have a WP article devoted to me then the only acceptable nationality would be Scottish, and do not assume that means I support the SNP, they are totally misguided. (talk) 17:10, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  5. I Agree with all the reasoning expressed above. I have come across a lot of arguments about Armenian nationality being placed in articles dealing with persons born it the Ottoman empire,, or having parents who were born in the Ottoman empire. Does an Ottoman-era Armenian cease being an Armenian when the land he was living in became the Turkish republic? Or is the father still an Armenian because he was born in 1910, but his son not an Armenian because he was born in 1940? What happens to Turk, Greeks, Armenians, Kurds, Arabs, etc., in this proposed "nationality to refer to an independent state" context? There are nations without independent states, there are nations divided between independent states, there are independent nation states, and there are independent states containing multiple nations. Having a fixed rule will not work because there are so many varying definitions of nationhood. The point of an article should be to tell the reader about the subject of that article, so in many cases it will be appropriate to describe a person's national identity by their nation rather than by their citizenship because nationality does not mean the same thing in multi-nation states as it does in single-nation states. Also, people can change their citizenship, and states, especially ones containing multiple nationalities, have a habit of vanishing from history. I think these things need to be decided on a case by case basis, but putting together some guidelines and precedents would also help things. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 17:05, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  6. Oppose: the issues of nationality, citizenship, ethnicity, race, and all the like are far to complex and nuanced for a single "one-size fits all" definition. Anything which says "Only people that meet XYZ conditions can claim ABC nationality" which are as broad as this fail to understand what a complex world this is, and this is a fundamentally bad idea for that reason. --Jayron32 17:14, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  7. Oppose There are too many definitions of nationality by too many sources for it to be a useful term. We should more specific terms like "citizen of", "born in" or "identifies as". CombatWombat42 (talk) 19:21, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  8. Oppose – "Nation" is a complicated word. It is best to avoid it altogether, as its multiple meanings make it useless in these types of contexts. RGloucester 21:57, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
    @RGloucester: On that basis would you support my suggestion (below, in the "Change the word" section) that we either remove Nationality from infoboxes or change it for the word Citizenship? WaggersTALK 15:43, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  9. Oppose because it isn't Wikipedia's job to try to redefine words for our own convenience. A ridiculous suggestion. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:51, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  10. Oppose We should follow the general Wikipedia principle. What do reliable sources say? If reliable sources call a person 'Kurdish', then Wikipedia should also describe the person as Kurdish, even though there is no country associated with that nationality. LK (talk) 10:02, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  11. As noted in following discussion. Collect (talk) 16:33, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
  12. Oppose Really awful idea, presumably based on a misunderstanding of the constitution of the UK. This is admittedly complex but it may be worth reading up on it before making any more suggestions like this one. --John (talk) 19:20, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
  13. Of course not. Nationality ain't "belonging" to a sovereign state. And the proposal is even worse than that because it suggests that the state (if modern) must be a UN member in order to receive recognition. Wow. Palestinians and Kosovars and Romani and First Nations people and Catalans and Kurds and ... etc. are already discriminated against enough. Red Slash 17:07, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
  14. Oppose Diktats such as this, works counter to common sense and consensus building. Anecdotally yes their does appear to be edit warring with regards to British/Scottish nationality e.g. Gerard Butler and Andy Murray, brought about because of the referendum earlier this year, however I expect this to abate once the passions awakened by this event dampen down. Even in those cases and in even cases where I would expect greater friction (e.g. Nikola Tesla, he's Austrian the successor state of the nation he was born in, Croatian the successor state of the territory that he was born in, Serbian since even though he was born in Croatian territory he was Orthodox and not Catholic, American the nation he emigrated to) the articles as they appear to the reader are sensible and coherent. Yes there may be conflict behind the scenes as an examination of the talk page, and hidden messages will show, however the articles will gravitate to a consensus that the majority of editors can agree on, and does not intrude into the reader's experience.--KTo288 (talk) 07:41, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
  15. Oppose This simply will not work. Nationality is complex and personal. Some BLPs would end up with nationalities that the subject expressly rejects. Also, if we are to restrict it in this way then we should equally insist that every nationality is cited. Is the exact citizenship of most people known? --Escape Orbit (Talk) 18:49, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
  16. Oppose This contradicts established Wikipedia policy, in particular WP:RS. "Nationality" of a person is whatever reliable sources say it is. Anything else is original research.Volunteer Marek (talk) 20:07, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
  17. Oppose arbitrary action which fails to comply with fundamental policies WP:V / WP:OR -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 21:44, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
  18. Oppose Frankly, given the whole discussion comes about from objection to discussing Scottishness as a nationality, it has a somewhat nasty, racist taste to it. Adam Cuerden (talk) 21:48, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
  19. Oppose These issues should be dealt with by consensus on relevant talk pages on a case by case basis using the best available RS. I take User:Volunteer Mareks approach on this as eminently sensible. Irondome (talk) 22:18, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Note - Please don't post Support or Oppose, as your 'votes' are already placed & numbered underneath the 'support'/'oppose' subsections. GoodDay (talk) 16:28, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
    • Note Historically People have always posted Support or Oppose even in sections labeled for that purpose. Just because it annoys one user dosn't mean you should stop doing it. You should stop doing it iff you want to. CombatWombat42 (talk) 16:36, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
      • Though, not using Support or Oppose encourages editors to express a detailed opinion rather than perhaps just giving a simple vote. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 03:22, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Discussion (nationality)[edit]

This is Forum shopping, see Wikipedia talk:Nationality of people from the United Kingdom#Where did it all go wrong?. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 15:30, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Where's the harm? There's only 2 possible results, here - 1) a consensus or 2) no consensus. GoodDay (talk) 16:02, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
It is not forum shopping at all. WP:Nationality of people from the United Kingdom has never been policy it is just an essay written by a small number of editors, with dissenting opinion suppressed. I am looking for wide community consensus not just for the UK but for all countries. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:09, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
I referred to a previously-started discussion, not an essay. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 23:28, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

According to this proposal, what should be written as the nationality of those born in states that are not members of the UN, such as Palestinians? I suppose this proposal would strip Pope Francis of his Argentinian nationality, even though it's unclear which one should be used, since Vatican is not a recognized UN member state and even if it was, "Vaticanian" is not a nationality. WarKosign 15:42, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Actually - Vatican City is a member of two of the oldest international organizations, which are now specifically agencies under the UN (ITC (1865 founded, Vatican City has been a member since 1929) - now ITU, and the UPU (founded 1874, Vatican City a member since 1929) (status disputed 1870 to 1929). It issues passports, has legates to other nations, and is a "nationality" by law. Sorry to break the example :) Collect (talk) 15:07, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  1. You are confusing citizenship and nationality. I never said there is no Vatican citizenship, only that there is no such nationality. There is no "Vatican nation", there are no "native Vaticanians". Everybody in Vatican were born elsewhere and have some other nationality, about half of them keep dual citizenship.
  2. The proposal as it was written was to include only nationalities of states which are members of the UN, which Vatican is not. WarKosign 15:26, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
I fear you elide the fact that the UN gives Vatican City "permanent observer status". Your standards would have said Switzerland was not a "nation" until 2002. And that Germany (BDR and DDR) were not "nations" until 1973, so people born in them had no "nationality." As that is clearly an absurd result, we accept that being a member of UN agencies indicates nationhood. Cheers. Collect (talk) 16:31, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Assuming you're replying to me - this is not my standard, I oppose the idea that UN has anything to do with a person's nationality. WarKosign 16:40, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
It is no different from 'Place of birth' in a few cases this might be difficult to determine from available sources, although there will be a factual answer, but is most cases determining nationality the way that I suggest will be quite straightforward. Allowing any group of people to claim to have their own nationality will not solve any problems. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:06, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but place of birth =/= nationality, and sovereign state of citizenship =/= nationality. A nation and a sovereign state are not identical concepts. Often enough they are, but there exist MANY times when a group of people are reliably (and justifiably) thought of as a "nation" and which are not identical in membership to "citizenship" within a sovereign state. The way you dismiss the situation by implying a lack of ingenuity on the part of people who meet that definition is problematic. When you say "Allowing any group of people to claim to have their own nationality..." makes it seem like any such claim cannot be in earnest, or that we as editors cannot adjudge the difference between an earnest, historical, and justfiable claim of non-state nationhood (by such groups as say the Iroquois, Tibet, Kurds, Basque) with those of people who clearly do not have such a valid claim (such as political stunts like Principality of Sealand or the like) misses the point. That's why we make earnest self-identification as the most important claim there can be. If a person earnestly identifies themselves as Spanish or Basque, we respect that identification, without making our own arbitrary distinctions about which kinds of ethnic identifications are valid, and which are not. --Jayron32 17:24, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Allowing smaller groups of people with less autonomy or independence (such as the Scots, Welsh, English, Basques, Kurds, Tamils, Hmong, Inuit and Māori) does not solve any problems. There will always be smaller groups within those groups which some individuals will want to identify with. Not all Scots are the same, are we to have Highlanders and Lowlanders and what about Essex man? It will be a never-ending conflict. All the states of the US, which is a federation have more right to nationhood than any of the groups mentioned above.
Please note that this is not an attempt to suppress the identity of anyone. People will still be able to be described as Scottish, Inuit, a London Boy, a Jew or whatever we like but in the text, where we can explain the reasons behind the description. The problem that we have in many articles are that groups are using 'nationality' as a way to claim ownership of the good and the great and to support various separatist movements. Let us just treat nationality like 'date of birth' or 'place of birth'. It should be a simple well-defined, easily verifed fact, not a political statement. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:26, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Just to be clear, I am not proposing that historical characters must be given nationalities based on current states, only that when current states are applicable that we use only independent states, not regions within them. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:33, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Have you noticed how many editors are raising complications that don't even arise in the case of James Laidlaw Maxwell? In most cases there won't be complications, such as have been raised, and when they do arise, they can be discussed individually on a needs be basis. (talk) 16:51, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Since you mentioned "most cases" I thought of China, 91% of the population are "Han Chinese", but there are ~112M people of 55 other nationalities. Even if the suggested criteria is correct for 64M citizens of the UK, it is wrong for double that many in China alone. WarKosign 17:17, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Well what about James Laidlaw Maxwell? It would be a great help if you could give us your opinion on a particular case. He was a British national under both the law of the time and the existing law. Would you describe his nationality as British or Scottish? Have a read about him please. (talk) 17:24, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
I couldn't find any sources giving his nationality/ethnicity, but since he was born in Scotland if I had to guess I would go with Scottish. The guess is of course unusable on WP. WarKosign 18:30, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

WarKosign, No need to guess. He was Scottish and British, and his nationality was British. (talk) 19:17, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

How do you know, are there reliable sources saying "James Laidlaw Maxwell was of British nationality" ? If you're concluding from some rules yourself, maybe you're correct, but it's WP:OR and is as useless as my guess. WarKosign 19:27, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Can I suggest we retire James Laidlaw Maxwell as an example for this discussion. I think he has long passed the point of usefulness for this discussion, which is in danger of becoming about the nationality of James Laidlaw Maxwell rather than how we deal with all the different nuances of nationality. -- chris_j_wood (talk) 10:16, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm afraid it was about him from the beginning. WarKosign 11:24, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Maybe I'm wrong here, but isn't the issue really about James Clerk Maxwell, not James Laidlaw Maxwell? The former is much more famous, therefore providing more opportunities to fight over what nationality he was.  :) The latter article doesn't even have an infobox, and I have seen discussions of what nationality should be stated in the infobox, so I'm thinking we are really talking about JCM. In my opinion, the sources seem to support the "nationality" of Scottish, though I would be in favor of doing away with the "nationality" parameter altogether (perhaps just for controversial cases) in favor of just saying where the person was born, resided and died. As for Pope Francis, I hope that part of the discussion is just a joke. He didn't stop being Argentinian just because he got a live-in job in another country. Neutron (talk) 00:54, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
From our readers' perspective[edit]

The most important thing from our readers' perspective is that they know what we mean; what verified fact we are informing them of. The proposed policy makes this quite clear; we are telling them the independent state to whose laws the person is subject.

There may be other meanings of the word 'nationality' in use but, if we go beyeond the proposed definition (which I believe is how the term is most commonly understood) how will our readers know what we are telling them? Do we show the smallest group that has ever claimed nationhood of which they are a member? Do we allow people to choose their own nationality by basing it on self-identification? Is it the group of people who claim ownership to this great person, or the group on whom we can foist ownership of the evil? Is it just promotion from some separatist movement? Maybe it just the consensus of the day? How are our readers to know what we are trying to tell them?

Ther may still be problems with the proposed definition if souces are not clear but at least our readers will know what we intend to tell them. I cannot think of any other definition of 'nationality' that is usable and having no definition of waht is to be put onto a field in an infobox makes the field completely pointless. The only other rational proposal is never to talk of 'nationality' at all.Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:22, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Nope - you aren't giving a 'verified fact' at all - instead, you are asserting that your particular definition of 'nationality' (which may not be shared by our readers) is the only correct one. Do I need to explain exactly how many Wikipedia policies that violates? AndyTheGrump (talk) 23:08, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
I am not asserting anything. Im only suggesting that, in Wikipedia article, we stick to a well-defined and easily verified meaning of the word, especially in infoboxes. If we do not do that then we cannot use the term at all. What can it possible mean if we are free to decribe a person born in France to French parents, who holds a French passport and has no dual nationality and has never been naturalsied into another nationality as having German nationality? Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:36, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Here are today's news items from the British Broadcasting Corporation. (British base jumper) (British businessman) (two British tourists) (missing British man). How many more of these do we need to convince some people here that British nationality does exist and that it is in widespread use? (talk) 19:14, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Martin Hogbin wrote: "The proposed policy makes this quite clear; we are telling them the independent state to whose laws the person is subject." Really? Surely a person is subject to the laws of the country of which they are a citizen, but also the jurisdiction they happen to be in at any point in time. An American in many US states can legitimately carry a pistol, but an American (other than one to whom special rights had been granted, such as the President's Secret Service bodyguard during a Presidential visit) who tries to carry a pistol in the UK is going to end up in jail, very rapidly, and for a long time. Any more woolly thoughts to offer to us Martin? FF-UK (talk) 01:24, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
IN BBC-speak, "British" = resident of the UK but not English (or at least not from the south of England). An "English athlete" is a successful athlete from England. A "British athlete" is a successful athlete from Scotland or Wales or Northern Ireland. A "British football fan" is an English football thug who has broken the law. A "British tourist" is a drunken English tourist abroad. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 15:50, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
How can I make this more clear? I am not referring to how we describe someone, 'British', 'Cornish', 'European' might all be valid and correct descriptions. I am only talking about specific claims of nationality, in an infobox under the 'nationality' field for example or if we were to say, 'this person's nationality is Cornish'.
The anonymous unsigned contribution above is a particularly unhelpful one, There is no question that describing a person who comes from Cornwall as Cornish is valid, as is describing a native of any European country as European, but Cornwall is a county, Europe is a continent, neither are, by any stretch of the imagination, nations. Therefore, neither can have a nationality attached to them. But, this is a straw man argument, no one, as far as I can tell, has suggested otherwise. What we should be concerned with is the nationality associated with those nations which are not independent, but nevertheless are clearly identifiable as nations, typically England, Scotland and Wales, and anywhere else with comparable characteristics. FF-UK (talk) 23:01, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I did forget to sign above. Who decides which are nations and which are something else; editors here? You have consistently failed to explain to me why Scotland, which is part of a Unitary state should have a nationality and Texas, which is a part of a Federation and which has a nationalist movement should not. You simple brush aside Cornish nationalism by saying they are 'just a county'. By what right do you make these decisions?Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:06, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
We use sources, I have provided sources for Scotland being a nation (eg the speech from former Prime minister Gordon Brown in defence of the union, and for Scottish being a nationality (the Lord Lyon King of Arms states: "this is the correct flag for all Scots or Scottish corporate bodies to fly to demonstrate their loyalty and their Scottish nationality." See I have also provided a source to explain to you why Texas cannot be considered a nation, the decision of the Supreme Court on that matter. "In the Constitution, the term "state" most frequently expresses the combined idea just noticed, of people, territory, and government. A "state," in the ordinary sense of the Constitution, is a political community of free citizens, occupying a territory of defined boundaries, and organized under a government sanctioned and limited by a written constitution, and established by the consent of the governed. It is the union of such states, under a common constitution, which forms the distinct and greater political unit which that Constitution designates as the United States, and makes of the people and states which compose it one people and one country." I have not seen any official sources from you which support your claims about Texas and Cornwall, and I would point out that the previously referenced England and Wales census reports that only a small minority, 14%, of the population of Cornwall claims Cornish national identity. Sources Martin Hogbin, sources. FF-UK (talk) 16:34, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Martin, you did not limit your initial proposal to just infoboxes, and many articles do not have infoboxes anyway. Maybe a direction to take would be to revise the text used in infoboxes, rework it so that there is not a connection made between citizenship and nationality. So someone in an infobox can be described as a citizen of Turkey can still also be called a Kurd, and so on. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 03:30, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Ahhh .. Sorry. I see things along those lines are being suggested below. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 03:33, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Change the word[edit]

To most people, nationality and citizenship are interchangeable, and perhaps the word "nationality" was used originally when the original editors meant "citizenship". According to some in the discussion above, "nationality" is a fluffy, transient thing that an individual can seemingly make up and change on a whim. As such it can never be pinned down and perhaps doesn't belong in an encyclopaedic article about them unless their nationality is something that they're particularly known for. Citizenship is much more clear cut and definitive, and I suspect that's what the creators of {{Infobox Person}} and the like really meant when they used "nationality". So instead of quibbling about what "nationality" may or may not mean, let's settle on the meaning we want (something definitive, robust and reliably source-able) and use the word that best describes that concept. Let's drop "nationality" in favour of "citizenship" so we can stop the silly arguments. WaggersTALK 13:13, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

If it's about citizenship, I think there is very little to discuss. A person holding a British passport may consider/declare themselves to be Scottish, a Highlander, a Nairnshireman or anything else as they like while the fact of having a certain citizenship is official, registered and hard to dispute. Citizenship should not be limited to UN member states, since there are exceptions such as micronations. WarKosign 14:25, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
I contest that "to most people nationality and citizenship are interchangeable". For many people around the world, they would not consider their nationality to be simply the sovereign state they are official citizens of. Now, whether or not we want Wikipedia to report citizenship or nationality, both, neither, or some combination thereof, is an unrelated issue. But you CANNOT say that people consider the two concepts similar or identical. For you they may feel that way, but you can't demand that you're own personal perspective is universal. There are a multitude of perspectives on this... --Jayron32 14:47, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
I also don't agree that "to most people, nationality and citizenship are interchangeable", and don't have much to add to Jayron32's comment in that regard. Ncmvocalist (talk) 15:03, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
"Now, whether or not we want Wikipedia to report citizenship or nationality, both, neither, or some combination thereof, is an unrelated issue." - no, this is the very crux of the issue being discussed above. If we've been saying "nationality" when what we've meant is "citizenship" all along, we have a very straightforward way forward. On the other hand, if nationality is so ambiguous and poorly defined, it has no place in an infobox and we have another very straightforward way ahead. WaggersTALK 15:17, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
But what we mean is not necessarily citizenship, or necessarily nationality. It can be one, the other, both, or neither, depending on the context. Both citizenship and nationality can be important for understanding the biography of a person. So in some cases can ethnicity, race, gender, and a whole slew of other personal identifiers. Sometimes those traits are important, sometimes they are not, and sometimes more than one of them are, sometimes in different ways, and sometimes none of them are important. It isn't helpful to say "We report this one and only one personal characteristic, we report it all the time, and we don't report any of the others". THAT'S the big problem here. There is not a simple solution to this, because it is not a simple issue. People want it to be simple and organized and it just isn't. Wishing it were so doesn't make it so. --Jayron32 17:15, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Of couse life is not simple and no one is trying to make it so but we must be clear what we are telling pepole. If anyone would like to come up with an unambiguous term that we can use as a field in an infobox to indicated the independent state(s) to which a person belongs I would be more than happy to use it, and to delete the imbiguous and popularly misunderstood fields of 'Nationality' and 'Citizenship'. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:27, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

Why is there such a resistance to the usage of British or United Kingdom in the intros & infoboxes of so many UK bios? England, Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales make up the United Kingdom, so what's the problem? GoodDay (talk) 15:41, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

UK (and quite a few other states) make up the world, so why not say that your nationality is Earthian ? It's a matter of personal preference. If a UK citizen may decide to declare their nationality as British or as English/Scottish/Irish, both are equally fine since it's a personal matter of feeling belong to a nation. The citizenship is British in either case. WarKosign 15:55, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
But why is there resistance on Wikipedia to have British/United Kingdom in these articles? either in place of or along side English/England, Scottish/Scotland, Welsh/Wales & Northern Irish/Northern Ireland? GoodDay (talk) 15:59, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Nothing wrong with being British, if this is what a person calls themselves. WarKosign 16:04, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Why are we putting so much stock into what a person calls themselves? If one's a human & declares he/she's not a human, does that have to mean he/she isn't a human? These people who were born & live in the UK, are British, whether they like it or not. You can declare your red car is coloured blue, but it's still a red car. GoodDay (talk) 16:09, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Exactly! Nationality is something that is decided by the states with wich you have some kind of legal connection. In most cases it is very simple, you have the nationality of the independent state in which you are born and the same as your parents. In more complex cases the relevant nationality laws will decide but in all cases it is a matter of fact rather than something you can decide for yorself. That is the reason for wanting to define nationality in this way; we no longer need to have arguments about what someone called themselves or what someone else called them.
WarKosign, I think you are confusing nationality with ethnicity. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:26, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately, using 'citizenship' instead of 'nationality' does not help much. In the UK the situation regarding citizenship is quite complicated with citizenship being a sub-category of nationality, see British nationality. No dobt there are complications in many other countries. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:27, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── My answer to GoodDay's question is that the majority of people in the UK have long regarded themselves as belonging not to the UK, but to the constituent country of the UK from which they are from. As in other nations, national pride is a significant factor in the lives of many peoples and therefore the nation they identify with is also of significance. However, we do not need to speculate on this, there is hard data. In 2011, for the first time, quantitative data was gathered by the UK censuses which required people to state what national identity they regarded themselves as being: English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, or British (as well as non-UK identities), multiple identities were permitted. The results (England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland) showed that a only minority of UK citizens regard themselves as British, either exclusively or in combination with another identity. The majority identify themselves as belonging to their own constituent nation. The actual percentages vary, but are all in the region of 70% of English, Scottish and Welsh residents identifying themselves as English, Scottish or Welsh respectively (rather than British). The area with the highest percentage (just under 40%) of those identifying as British is Inner London, which the census analysis identifies as having a high proportion of immigrants, suggesting that immigrants are more likely than natives to identify as British. FF-UK (talk) 16:41, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

But, they're British. My concern is the resistance being shown here (at Wikipedia) by editors. Again, you declare yourself a Martian, but that doesn't make you a Martian. GoodDay (talk) 16:47, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
GoodDay, you may declare yourself a Martian if you wish, but I am English. FF-UK (talk) 16:52, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
You're British & there's nothing you can do about. But, this is Wikipedia & so yes, you certainly can (and are) doing something about :( GoodDay (talk) 17:04, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
It least, your nationality is 'British', FF-UK. You can describe yourself any way that you like. If people could change their nationality just by thinking of themselves differently there would not be a long fence with armed guards separating the US from Mexico. Mexicans would be able to say, 'I now consider myself to have US nationality' and just walk accrosss the border as US nationals. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:08, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

Jayron32, you say, 'nationality, citizenship, ethnicity, race, and all the like are far to complex and nuanced for a single "one-size fits all" definition'. You are absolutely correct, of course, that is exactly why I am trying to avoid doing this. Citizenship, ethnicity, race, and all the like should be discussed in the text, based, as always, on what sources say. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:03, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

So why should nationality be treated differently ? If anything in the list of attributes is relatively simple it's the citizenship - having a certain citizenship is a well-defined, documented and verifyable fact. WarKosign 18:13, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
WarKosign, if you can proove that you are correct in saying that, 'having a certain citizenship is a well-defined, documented and verifyable fact' we would have a simple solution; just give a person's citizenship and remove all reference to 'nationality' from infoboxes and direct statements, but I fear it may not be so simple, have a look at the British Nationality article, which shows that in at least one case it is more complicated. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:31, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Did you mean British nationality law ? The law is complex, but if we have a source saying that someone aquired a British citizenship at birth or at some later date - it's a simple statement that is not open to interpretation. WarKosign 20:41, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
See, now we're getting into language issue. What it means to be a "British national" is a specific and legally defined thing, in many ways in this one context in means what "citizenship" often means in other countries. It's a word choice here (one ensconced in law), however one can be both simultaneously a legally defined "British national" and also be Scottish. To imply that one must choose between one or the other, or that Wikipedia must only define people as one and ignore the other, is a major problem. Why must we be forced to make an artificial choice between the two: Cannot one be both a legal British national, and of Scottish nationality (or English or Welsh or Northern Irish)? Being one does not exclude being another at the same time. Ethnic classifications are not either-or propositions, and yet people seem to be demanding that they are. But back to the crux of the issue: What we're talking about is the use of the word "national" (nationality, etc.) in the specific context of the UK, and in the more specific context of this one law: But the existence of this law does NOT make us ignore the very real issues of nationality outside of the British context, nor does it make us ignore the very real issues of various ethnicities within the UK itself. Demanding that we ONLY classify people because one sovereign state uses one specific word (in a somewhat idiosyncratic way, I might add) is a bit off... --Jayron32 04:26, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for at least getting involved in a rational discussion but again you misunderstand me, I am not trying to classsify anyone. The idea that all people can be completely classified with a single term is obviously absurd and it is not what I am trying to do. I am talking about how we decide what to put in the 'Nationality' field in an infobox. The idea of an infobox is that it gives basic, simple, easily verified, facts about the person, and does not deal with compex isssues of self-identity or how you are considered to be by the rest of the world. Take, for example the, Place of birth' field in an infobox and consider the case of a man who was born in London at 6:00 in the evening but next tmorning was taken back to his home in Paris where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. In every respect, this man would be considered a Parisian and that would be a perfectly good description of him but the 'Place of birth' infobox field would have to show London, because that is where he was born. His ethnicity, self-identified group, how he was regarded by the world, legal nationality, place where he was best known, might all be different places, and these should all be mentioned in the text (based of course on what reliable sources say) but none of that can make his 'Place of birth' anything other than London.
If we treat the nationality field differently, how will our readers know, which paricular informal meaning of nationality WP editors have chosen for that person. All Im am suggesting is that we standardise the 'Nationality' filed in an infobox so that readers know what it is telling them. My only agenda is to keep WP factual and neutral. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:23, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
British nationality law "is the law of the United Kingdom that concerns citizenship". In the context of the article nationality and citizenship are used interchangeably. In other contexts the word nationality has other meanings, therefore we better stick to citizenship, which is unambiguous. One can be a British citizen ("national") and belong to the Scottish ethnic group ("nationalility"), there is no contradiction between the two affiliations except the confusion between the words. WarKosign 05:18, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Fairly obviously (the clue is in the name), British nationality law is the law of the United Kingdom that concerns citizenship of all the people who have British nationality. The British govenment clearly have no power to determine the citizenship of anyone else. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:30, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

Both |nationality= and |citizenship= have been available in that infobox since 2007 or so. If "nationality" is too difficult to source, or if you've got disputes between people who think that different levels of nations ought to count more than others, then stop using it, and put |citizenship= in the box instead.

Also, for the dispute at the essay, some people might like to read what the UK's government says at It appears that the Office of National Statistics believes that "Scottish" is properly considered a national identity rather than a nationality. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:26, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

One option worth considereing would be to insist on strict and authoritative sourcing for all statements of nationality or citizenship. By this I do not mean that we find in the book, 'Great inventors of Cornwall' as line saying, 'Joe Soap' was a Cornish chemist', or a book saying 'Fred Bloggs was a British statesman' but a clear and specific statement of nationality, for example 'Ola Nordmann had Norwegian nationality' or 'Ola Nordmann was a Norwegian national', or 'Unce Sam was a US citizen'. That would conform to the highest standards of WP and might resolve this dispute. Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:19, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
The problem with that is that such statements tend not to be made unless nationality and/or citizenship isn't 'obvious' - see how long it takes you to find an explicit statement that for example David Cameron is a British citizen... AndyTheGrump (talk) 11:25, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
So what do you suggest that we put in the infobox under 'nationality'? Do we just make something up? Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:21, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
I believe we should avoid the term "nationality" entirely , since it can mean either citizenship or ethnicity. We should use ethnicity and/or citizenship to describe people.
In case of a hypothetical Scottish UK citizen there is no argument that his ethnicity is Scottish and citizenship is British, while you can argue for a long time what his nationality is.
It works for ethnic minorities, a state with several different ethnic groups, an ethnicity split between several states, etc. I do not see a case that ethnicity/citizenship combo doesn't cover. Do you ?
"John Doe was a French musician with German citizenship who lived and worked in Italy". WarKosign 13:19, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
WarKosign, I agree with you that if there is no agreement on how to define nationality in an info box, then it should be abolished altogether as it becomes wide open to abuse. On a side note, there is no such thing as Scottish ethnicity. There is a major ethnic fault line running between the Highlands and the Lowlands, with the Highlanders being Irish and the Lowlanders being English. There is however a modern Scottish national identity. (talk) 17:15, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Frankly, infoboxes are supposed to be quick summaries of what's in the article. When the question of nationality or citizenship or ethnicity is complex or controversial so that it cannot be included in the infobox in a manner which is not controversial (in good faith, at least), misleading, incomplete, or excessively lengthy, then it should simply be left out and set out at reasonable length in the body of the article. That's not just true for nationality/citizenship, it's true for any information in an infobox. The summary nature of infoboxes far too often causes them to be battlegrounds and that's not good for the encyclopedia (or for those of us who work in dispute resolution). Anyone up for an attempt to include this concept at MOS:INFOBOX? Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 17:45, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
TransporterMan, I agree entirely. In the case that brought this matter here in the first place, the nationality field is being abused by Scottish separatists who are trying to usurp the sovereign British nationality with a subordinate Scottish nationality. The solution would appear to be to remove the nationality field altogether and to deal with the subject's origins in the main body of the text. (talk) 17:57, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Where does this nonsense about "abused by Scottish separatists" come from? Do you have one iota of evidence that this is a real issue? If not, then do not keep attempting to set it up as a straw man. FF-UK (talk) 17:57, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── IP why do you keep changing your identity? Yesterday you were posting as, before that it was, and you first became involved in this subject as These are all BT WiFi public hotspots. Are you doing this to confuse other WP editors? If not, then please register so that your identity becomes consistent. Thank you. FF-UK (talk) 17:57, 10 December 2014 (UTC),

This is just Unionist-ultras trying to remove any modern reference to English/Scottish/Welsh. It happens all over wikipedia, usally to Enlgish related articles. Nothing but modern politics wiggling it's way into wikipedia.-- (talk) 20:06, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

That statement from another BT WiFi hotspot IP is as groundless as the other IP's statement above. There is no evidence for either extreme and making such claims does not help rational discussion. FF-UK (talk) 20:35, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Of course there is evidence. Why do you think this discussion is so heated? And the proposal is not restricted just to the UK. Turkish "ultras" (to borrow the anon's word) have been for decades trying to remove any modern reference to Kurds or Armenians or Greeks in Turkish related articles. And Greek "ultras" do it for Greek or Cyprus related articles. And I'm sure Russian "ultras" do their bit too, and Albanians, .... the list is probably endless. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 03:40, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I haven't seen any Greek editors, even if misguided, that pursue this specific type of activity, related to suppression of national origins. Care to show some diffs about that? Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις 03:52, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Nobody was trying to suppress Scottish identity. The subject James Clerk Maxwell is described as Scottish in the lead, and nobody has been challenging that. Editor FF-UK is however suppressing the subject's British nationality in the info box by usurping it with a Scottish nationality, when no such sovereign nationality exists. The correct way to do it would be to have the subject described as Scottish in the lead and to have his nationality stated correctly as British in the info box. It would then be correct and balanced all round. (talk) 07:13, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Which meaning of the word "nationality" are you using, ethnicity or citizenship ? If we do not use the ambiguous word "nationality", there is far less dispute. "James Clerk Maxwell had Scottish ethnicity and British citizenship." Any objection ? WarKosign 08:04, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Warkosign, There was no such status as 'British citizen' in Maxwell's time. It only came into existence in 1983. Maxwell was a 'British national'. As regards Scottish ethnicity, there is no such thing. The Scottish Lowlanders, of which Maxwell was one, have English ethnicity. Maxwell is already described as Scottish in the main body of the text, and nobody is objecting. The objection is about usurping the sovereign nationality in the info box with 'Scottish nationality' which has no administrative signifance. If agreement can't be reached as regards the info box, then it's best to remove the nationality from the info box altogether, just as you suggest. That would leave Maxwell described as 'Scottish' in the main body of the text, in line with most modern sources. Nobody is objecting to describing Maxwell as Scottish. The objection is about the words 'British Citizen' and 'Scottish national'. (talk) 14:55, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Dear IP, Maxwell's relation with the UK was what is called citizenship today, therefore today we can say that he was a citizen. Maybe you are correct and at that time it was called being a national (as it is sometimes called today), but the term is ambiguous (could mean either citizenship or ethnicity) and the proposal is to use other, unambiguous terms instead.
According to this article the Scottish people "are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland", so how can you say there is no Scottish ethnicity ? WarKosign 15:16, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
You need to read up on your history of Scotland. There is no such thing as Scottish ethnicity. You'll find that the Lowlanders are English and the Highlanders are Irish, although that is perhaps somewhat of a simplification, because there has been a lot of mixing over the centuries. Even the great Scottish hero William Wallace was English. On the other matter, on what manner of reasoning can you deny that Maxwell has British nationality while claiming that he has Scottish nationality? British nationality, a term which is still in use today and about which there is legislation, is his sovereign nationality. See this website (talk) 17:34, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
That's a bad understanding of history, as it assumes that no ethnic group can ever change or evolve, that no new ethnic groups ever get created, old ethnicities die out, etc. What a strange way to think about the world, that all ethnic groups have existed statically since God created the earth, and haven't moved or changed or anything in all that time. Of course, modern Scots and modern Irish ethnic groups evolved from common ancestors, and the influence of the English and later Normans on Lowland/Southern Scottish people is well documented, but those historical truths doesn't mean that Scottish ethnicity doesn't exist. Of course it does. Else, we could claim that the English don't exist, because they're really just Northern Germans & Southern Danes, and we should just count the English as a subset of Danish nationality for that reason. That's self-evidently silly. Just as your assertion is. --Jayron32 18:39, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Jayron, An English speaking British ethnic group has evolved from all the various Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Dane inputs. There are still remnants in the Highlands and Islands, North Wales, and Northern Ireland, that are sufficiently different from the mainstream British ethnic grouping that they might be considered as culturally diverse, but even they are very much diluted from their original form, and well integrated into British society. There is no such a thing as Scottish ethnicity. Anybody who has ever worked amongst British people could tell you that Scots integrate perfectly, and that they are no more diverse from the Kent and Sussex man, than is the Scouser or the Geordie. Read Billy Connolly on the matter (talk) 00:21, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Billy Connolly is a funny man, but he's hardly an expert on the history of the Scottish people... --Jayron32 05:34, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Jayron32, The blending and creating of a new ethnic grouping that you are talking about above, took place in an all British context within the British Isles. It is not the case, as you seem to be implying, that a unique Scottish ethnicity emerged and diverged from the rest of the British Isles. It's true that in Victorian times, the Lowland Scots, while on the one hand becoming ever more closely integrated with the English, adopted aspects of the Gaelic Highland culture, such as the tartan, the kilts, and the bagpipes, but that is all very superficial in the context. If you check out some Lowland Scottish regiments such as The Royal Scots or the King's Own Scottish Borderers, you will discover that their history is not quite as Scottish as you would think. In fact they were never Scottish enough to be allowed to wear kilts. At Edinburgh Castle they always wore tartan trousers as opposed to kilts. (talk) 13:21, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
IP, as I have pointed out on article page, there is nothing anachronistic about stating Maxwell's citizenship as British. The word citizen is defined as "A legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized." which fully encompasses the situation as it stood in Maxwell's day. You cannot just ignore the proper meaning of a word to suit a desire to restrict its use. In the same way you do not need to redefine "nationality", it has a perfectly established meaning as "The status of belonging to a particular nation". With regard to the specific case of Scotland, we know that Scotland is a nation, and has been for over 1000 years. I have referred already to the former Prime Minister's speech which referred to: "whether Scotland is a nation; we are, yesterday, today, and tomorrow", that view is clearly shared by the current Prime minister who has said in a pre-referendum speech: "This is a decision that could break up our family of nations, and rip Scotland from the rest of the UK.". Even Simon Heffer, no fan of Scotland, repeatedly describes Scotland as a nation when writing in the Daily Mail! Note, none of these three eminent people could in any way be described as Scottish nationalists, but they all recognize the status of Scotland as a nation. The long standing status quo in the James Clerk Maxwell article properly and accurately represents Maxwell's status as a British Citizen (Subject) having Scottish nationality. These are facts, everything presented against the status quo is merely opinion unsupported by relevant sources. The boxes in question are "Nationality" (nowhere in the template information is that defined as having the restricted meaning of "sovereign nationality") and "Citizenship" (nowhere in the template information is that defined as having a restricted meaning of excluding the status of "subject"). It is not good practice in a discussion such as this to attempt to redefine words to a specific meaning which suits your personal PoV, provide no references which would support that view, and then go on to conduct your case based on that idiosyncratic interpretation. I wonder why you are even continuing to press this PoV when on the Maxwell article talk page you have already volunteered your acceptance that "Attempts to define nationality at the village pump failed". FF-UK (talk) 15:40, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm not redefining any words. I'm going by the words used in the law. See here Maxwell was a British national under both today's law and the law of his own time. So how can you argue that we should put Scottish nationality in the info box as opposed to British nationality? Either put both or do away with the nationality field altogether. Is it not enough for you to have him described as Scottish in the main body of the text? And why do you want to describe him as being a British citizen when under the law at the time he was a British subject? Is it because you think the term 'British citizen' makes it look as though he wasn't really British, but only British on paper? You can use a dictionary to prove that nationality and citizenship mean the same thing, but why not stick with the usages that are actually in use in the context according to the law? Why would you have to call Maxwell a British citizen when he was a British national in law? And why would you call him a Scottish national when he is also a British national? Why would you deny calling him a British national when he was a British national? (talk) 17:44, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
  • As a North Briton, I want to make clear that it is wrong to be trying to parse out ethnic definitions of "Scottish", "English", &c. One simply won't get anywhere if one tries to define a "Scottish" ethnicity. There is no coherent Scottish ethnicity, no more than there is a coherent English ethnicity. Britain has had so much movement, migration, invasion, &c. that all groups are heavily diluted and jumbled. Britons do not think in terms of ethnicity when they say that someone is "Scottish" or "English". People do not refer to David Cameron is Scottish because he has Scottish ancestry, nor do they call Her Majesty a Scot because her mother was Scottish. Applications of "Scottish" and "English" are cultural and geographical, rather than based on ancestry. People that have lived in Scotland all their lives but that speak with old-fashioned upper-class accents are often not considered "Scottish" by many Scots. These people might be just as "ethnically" Scottish as anyone else, but their cultural origin is in the highly anglicised Scottish upper class, which people perceive as apart from Scotland even though it has been part of Scottish society for centuries. In other words, one simply cannot think in terms of ethnicity when thinking about how to label Britons. One must go based on what reliable sources say, self-identification, and, failing those, pure citizenship. RGloucester 17:58, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

I just wish to add to the statements suggesting that this is simply the wikipedia version of a wider effort by UK Unionists to remove as many cultural and national references to Scotland as possible in the wake of the recent independence referendum. It is couched in friendly language, referring to neutrality, and somehow suggesting that this is a broader concern globally rather than focused precisely on the Scottish situation... but as the conversation has progressed, it is bluntly clear that this is about Scotland and the continued assault on Scottish identity by British unionists. As this matter is (despite the fervent wishes of the unionists) still a highly contentious live issue within Scotland and the wider UK, I do not believe that it is appropriate in any way to make a formal ruling in this way; not least one that enforces a colonial position. FDCWint (talk) 22:07, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

It's quite likely that some editors feel there's a devolutionist agenda behind opposition to usage of British/United Kingdom, in these UK bio articles. IMHO, it's best that both sides refrain from accusing each other of political PoV pushing, as such mud-slinging will only cause the discussion to turn ugly & unproductive. GoodDay (talk) 16:25, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Whilst I can see your point, the fact is that the IP Address has essentially contributed nothing to Wikipedia other than to crank this particular issue; every contribution in their history is either on this topic, or badgering anyone who has disagreed with them with messages on their talk page - yours and mine included. If there were voices on that side of the debate who were actually engaged with the site in other capacities, it might be easier to accept a more noble motivation. FDCWint (talk) 21:36, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

I'll rephrase the question: what are readers interesed in see in the infobox? Several foreign-born Hollywood and Miami residents have American nationality. But I wouldn't be interested to see that a certain actor or sports competitor is American - Hélio Castroneves is Brazilian and Hugh Jackman is Australian. That's what the infobox should say. I guess that's what we call nationality, rather than citizenship. --NaBUru38 (talk) 18:03, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Nationality Tutorials[edit]

In response to editor KTo288, I would say that at the moment of writing, the Andy Murray article is done correctly, whereas the Gerard Butler article is done wrongly. There is always a common sense way to do these things, where controversy may arise. Perhaps a wiki-Nationality tutorial class should be set up with worked examples. Let's take Samuel Cunard as an example. I would say that his article is correct as it stands. Nova Scotia was a British colony and a British settlement in Cunard's time. It only federated with Canada two years after Cunard's death. Cunard was born to British parents and was ethnically British himself. Canadian nationality only came into existence in 1921, while Canadian citizenship only came into existence in 1947. As far as I am aware there have been no attempts to ascribe Cunard with Canadian citizenship, but if such attempts were to be made in the future, as could well happen, I would say that they would be misinformed. It would be an attempt to stamp an identity upon a historical person, which that person would never have related to. Likewise every subject can be dealt with using common sense. In Tesla's case, he straddled many fault lines, but looking now at his article (Nikola Tesla), it appears to me to have been done correctly. His national identity is covered in the lead while his locations and citizenship are covered in the info box. There does however appear to be a gap in the info box for the post 1867 Austro-Hungarian Empire period. In modern day cases where an ethnic minority grouping is hostile to the political status quo, then you describe them in the lead according to their preferred designation, avoid nationality in the info box, and simply state the place of birth, using the name of the country as per the existing boundaries. Eg. Mr X is a Kurdish engineer. In the info box, avoid nationality and simply state Born:- Ararat, Turkey. What you should never do is promote in the info box an aspiring nationality that supports a separatist cause, such as Scottish. It's either British or nothing, while Scottish can be used in the lead. (talk) 15:34, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

My point is that through collaboration we are getting it right more often than not, without the need for edicts on how to do this. In contentious cases we are achieving a consensus which the majority of editors can put their names to. The compromise of not stating a nationality, just a place of birth, with details in the lede, is a good one. However for compromises to work they have to be agreed upon and accepted by thos in dispute, not imposed on by decree.--KTo288 (talk) 20:33, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
No, that is OR. We cannot make up nationalities based on collaboration. Maybe we should change the word, but we should have a way of simply stating the independent state to which a person legally belongs. Looking at the 'Oppose' responses above it seems that many editors are wishing to make some political point through the nationality field in an infobox. This seems to be more and more how WP works. Editors here are to be arbiters of the truth rather than writing facts; we are now to decide the political divisions of the world. Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:05, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
The state the person belongs to is called "citizenship". The word nationality can mean either citizenship or ethnicity, so to avoid confusion we should report citizenship and/or ethnicity and avoid the confusing term "nationality".WarKosign 11:46, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
No, that is not so. Citizenship implies right of abode. I agree with using a clear and well defined term but unfortunately 'citizenship' is not it. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:23, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
I do not understand your point. Of course (normally) a citizen of a certain state has the right of abode in that state. Other people who are not citizen may have right of abode as well, but it's beside a citizenship which is a specific legal relation between a person and a state that can be described in an infobox.WarKosign 07:15, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Citizens have a right of abode and a right to participate in the political life of the state (e.g., to be elected to Parliament). Nationals may have neither of these rights. Both nationality and citizenship are separate, specific legal relationships between a person and a state. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:21, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Delete the field[edit]

When in doubt, throw it out. We should delete the Nationality/Citizenship fields entirely, as I rarely see them being used in non-UK bio infoboxes. I see no reason for giving the UK bio infoboxes special treatment. GoodDay (talk) 14:19, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

I agree. There is no general agreement amongst editors what the field represents so how can we expect our readers to know what we mean. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:26, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Anyone reading a box which says English will understand that the person comes from England. That is not too difficult. FF-UK (talk) 15:36, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Or that it's an Englishman who lives in China.WarKosign 15:38, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
The birthplaces are already mentioned in the infoboxes, therefore the nationality/citzenship fields are not necessary. The UK doesn't deserve special treatment. GoodDay (talk) 15:40, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
That is exactly the problem. It is not clear what the 'nationality' field is meant to mean. It seems that FF-UK want to use it to show where a person 'comes from', whatever that means. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:50, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
A term in an info box should always have a readily understandable meaning for the benefit of the readers. It appears that those who have opposed making the definition clear, want to be able to decide nationality based on consensus. That does not make for a reliable encyclopaedia. Either define it or delete it altogether. Defining or deleting it, it doesn't matter which, makes it more difficult for editors to abuse it. Those who want to retain it, and in an undefined state, clearly have an agenda. They see that an undefined nationality field provides them with the opportunity to put distorted information into articles under cover of consensus. (talk) 18:16, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
I support deleting the field. Many countries that traditionally used "nationality" are getting away from this practice. The only place "nationality" exists is in a person't passport. It's not clear how this is determined. If a child is born to parents of different nationalities, how is the child's nationality determined, especially if all three are citizens of the same country? This is an arbitrary designation that doesn't belong in an encyclopedia. USchick (talk) 18:34, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Does anyone have an idea of how many different kinds of infoboxes this might affect? I've seen the problem arise in articles about historic people using infoboxes such as {{Infobox writer}} (which has nationality, citizenship, and ethnicity fields) in cases where the nation in which they born and lived has ceased to exist and become something else or changed names, especially when the change has political or ethnic implications. Also, if there's a serious desire to eliminate those fields, the attempt is going to have to be more formal and better publicized than just this discussion (and I wouldn't give a nickle for its chance of succeeding even with that formality and publicity) as there are too many vested interests in particular infoboxes for a general discussion here to satisfy everyone without that. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 19:02, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
You are right about vested interests. It seems that everyone wants to own the good and great. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:18, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Ownership of articles is against policy. If a Wikipedia tool serves no other purpose, perhaps it's time to get rid of it. I bet someone really smart could get a bot to do this. USchick (talk) 19:53, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

I would support this proposal, but only if you take the rest of the person-infobox with it.Volunteer Marek (talk) 20:10, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Martin, while I don't disagree with you, that's not quite what I meant: I simply meant that the people who regularly use, for example, {{Infobox writer}} may have a completely different feeling about and put a different strength of importance on the nationality and citizenship fields than those who use, say, {{Infobox scientist}}. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 22:00, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
I would bet that the field is still used and fought over so that various factions can claim ownership of the good and the great. My original point was simply that this field should be reserved for something well defined, and understood by our readers. As it is now, and looks to remain, the field can indicate an undefined melange of legal nationality, citizenship, ethnicity, workplace, birthplace, self-identity, and stuff that, 'everybody knows', decided on a case-by-case basis by the editors that happen to be involved with the article. Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:16, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
If you delete the field, then how will you handle the thousands of people who are nationals but not citizens? These people are not stateless; they're just not citizens. Since this applies to biographies of long-dead people, please note that this status encompasses a large fraction of articles about people before the 19th century, including nearly all women in history. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:24, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
National and Nationality are two different things. To complicate things further, different countries have different laws about "nationality" and some countries don't recognize it at all. So how can we expect to resolve these issues in an info box? By deleting this very ambiguous term, it doesn't take anything away from the person at all. It's still the same person, but without an ambiguous label. The only way to verify it is to look at their passport. Can we do that? USchick (talk) 21:37, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
If you have American nationality, you are an American national. If you are an American national, then you have American nationality. They aren't "two different things". (The word nationality gets used for multiple things, just like the word tissue does, but that doesn't mean that a national does not have nationality.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:56, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Require strict sourcing[edit]

If this proposal is defeated, as looks likely, all statements of nationality will be in limbo with no clear meaning for the word 'nationality'. Deleting the field from infoboxes is problematic and unlikely to succeed. I therefore suggest that we revert to the most basic principle of WP and requite strict sourcing for any infobox nationality that is in the least bit contentious. By strict sourcing, I mean a good quality, unbiased, reliable source which actually makes the statement that XXX has YYY nationality. Statements that XXX was a Londoner, New Yorker, Cornishman, or English are not sufficient, we must find a source specifically stating the nationality of the subject. No source; no nationality.

This new proposal is stricly in accordance with the most basic WP policy and is the only way that I can now see of making the 'nationality' field meaningful. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:37, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia already has a rule to that effect. It's been in existence about as long as Wikipedia has. We don't need new rules. It's always been that every statement of fact should be verifiable. --Jayron32 03:24, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
I am not proposing a new rule but it has often been assumed that nationality in uncontentious so that many statements of nationality are unsourced. As it is quite clear from this RfC that statements of nationality are highly contentious, we have no option to apply standard WP policy on the subject, which is that without a reliable source we cannot make a statement of nationality. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:10, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Sounds good. So if a source such as this says "All though everyone in the UK has a British citizenship they have different nationalities" this is what we write. And since these sources say James Clerk Maxwell's nationality was Scottish, this is what we write. WarKosign 12:18, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
You are joking of course. You have cited a junior school web page as a source on nationality. You should read WP:RS before making any further suggestions. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:39, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Did you also Google for 'British' nationality? There are quite a few sources giving his nationality as British. AS the sources do not agree we should not give any nationality. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:44, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
It has probably slipped Martin Hogbin's attention that sources rarely make definitive statements in the form "John Bull has English nationality", the normal form is something like "John Bull was English". This is equally true within WP articles. It is from within the body of the article that the précis that we call the infobox gleans its facts. Is Martin Hogbin really suggesting that only the precise form "John Bull has English nationality" is acceptable as a WP source? If so, then that specific proposal needs to be tested by a separate RfC, and not as yet another twist to this failing proposal that Nationality should have a specific meaning on WP as opposed to its generally understood meaning, which is the one described in dictionaries. FF-UK (talk) 13:51, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Nationality of people from the United Kingdom[edit]

As so much of this discussion centres on the situation regarding Wikipedia:Nationality of people from the United Kingdom then I suggest that all of those taking part could usefully familiarize themselves with that. It is a distillation of the outcome of previous discussions which can found at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biographies/2007-2008 archive: British nationality. FF-UK (talk) 13:51, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Proposal to elevate Wikipedia:Userfication to guideline status.[edit]

Over eight years ago, I started a little essay on userfication - the process of moving material to user space for any number of reasons. Since then, the content of the page has been expanded and refined by dozens of editors pursuant to numerous discussions, and has been linked from hundreds of pages where userfication has been proposed, debated, or implemented. I think it's time to acknowledge that this page reflects the broad community consensus on how to treat this practice, and call it a guideline. Cheers! bd2412 T 16:21, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

  • Support I kinda thought it already was. Userfication, while not a guaranteed right, is a fairly commonplace occurrence, to the point where we have an entire page (WP:REFUND) designed to make it easier for people to get stuff userfied. Insofar as REFUND exists and is a working process, Wikipedia:Userfication is the instructions and guidelines for how it works, it makes sense for upgrading the status to a guideline, since that is exactly what it does: guide people in how to use a functioning and accepted Wikipedia process. --Jayron32 17:12, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose For now, at least. It doesn't define well enough how this compares to moving articles to draftspace. Articles with substantial improvement potential, or in which several editors have an interest, should be given greater visibility and more opportunity for collaboration, so moved to draftspace rather than userspace. I would support guideline status if this issue is addressed satisfactorily. Cenarium (talk) 23:57, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Like Cenarium, I also hesitate to make this a guideline because I feel this practice has an uncertain future. In most cases, I would prefer articles in development to be in draft space because so many drafts in userspace get forgotten forever. If people put them in draft space, others could be prompted to build upon them in ways that would never happen to userfied drafts.
The userfication space is for articles rejected from mainspace, articles which a user does not want anyone else touching, or articles so controversial than keeping them in draftspace draws unwanted attention. I am not sure that I want userfication to be seen as a preferred practice in general cases.
I userfy things a lot - thanks BD2412 for developing and naming the concept - but I think it is not yet clear when this is the best practice. I am sure that there are certain cases when it is best, but not sure what those are. Blue Rasberry (talk) 00:36, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
If it is not clear after eight years and hundreds of uses, then it's not likely that anything will ever be clear on Wikipedia. bd2412 T 00:42, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
I disagree. This could wait some years more. The new development is the draft namespace which, from one perspective, supplants most of the applications of userfication. The draft namespace has not even existed for a year, so in my opinion, 8 years of testing has not happened. Only less than a year has. I am not ready to quickly adopt a community managed process as a guideline when it conflicts with the design inherent in Wikipedia's software structure. Tools exist to process drafts; no Mediawiki software development is done or is scheduled to be done to manage userfied content. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:00, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support Nearly a standard process, so i am surprised that it isn't a guideline. Confusion with draft space seems unlikely to me. The Banner talk 01:38, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - There may be a need to clarify when to userfy and when to send to draftspace... but I don't think that should stop us from promoting the essay to guideline status. Clarification can always be added. As the nom states... It's time to promote. Blueboar (talk) 01:54, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support as not only is Draftspace broken and will take a lot of work to repair and hopefully get things back on track (see my little TL;DR rant below), but one of the stipulations for creating Draft: in the first place was a community consensus that it would not replace Userfication or User: drafts. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 03:06, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - This describes a common and accepted practice. That's basically the definition of a guideline. Mr.Z-man 03:10, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support I've personally seen dozens of AfDs end in an article being userfied, so its a pretty accepted practice. The AfD Statistics Tool, which is used to check the AfD history for admin candidates at RFA, even includes "userfy" as a valid vote type. I ultimately agree that the essay has wide community consensus and usage, so it should be promoted to a guideline. Spirit of Eagle (talk) 03:36, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - It's a long-term, very common practise that I think should be followed more often. Whilst there may still be room for improvement in the exact wording, I don't see how that should stop this becoming a guideline. Lukeno94 (tell Luke off here) 08:27, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support The oppose !votes appear to miss what a guideline on enwiki is. This page is the fruit of years of broad community consensus-based discussion. That is the very essence of a guideline. James (TC) • 8:31 PM • 09:31, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - Gives official recognition to documentation of a common community practice. Carrite (talk) 14:17, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Cenarium. A good essay but one that I think needs updating. I don't support this as a guideline because it's unclear to me as a user reading it: (1) the text itself ("Like userification, draft space allows editors the opportunity to work on sub-par articles outside of the main article namespace. Draft space, however, may increase the chance of collaboration by placing draft articles in a central location. Another advantage is that incubated articles are automatically "noindexed", meaning they won't show up in search engines.")(2) how this guideline relates to the draft user space and (3) who actually does the "userfication" -- users moving my content? users patrolling article space? me moving my own content? I find this guideline difficult to read and understand and I suspect that this will be much more the case for new users. I also strongly advocate renaming this to "Moving content to user space" for clarity reasons for users who are new to the project, so that they do not have to process yet another wiki-jargon. --Tom (LT) (talk) 23:22, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
    • I think that there is some confusion here about the relationship between User space and Draft space. If, for example, a new editor writes a biography about himself or herself in article space, and it is determined that this editor is not notable, but merely intended to provide the details normally found on an editor's own user page, then it would not make sense to turn that article into a draft. Where material is best left to userspace, userfication is the appropriate process despite the existence of draft space. Note also that editors are as entitled to create drafts in their userspace as they are in draftspace. An editor who is the only substantive editor of an article that is determined to not yet meet encyclopedic standards can ask to have an article moved to their user space in lieu of deletion, so long as it does not violate other policies described at WP:USERFICATION. bd2412 T 20:34, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
      • I believe we're well aware of this distinction, the point is that the essay doesn't explain the distinction well enough. Maybe this could be given some more details in a specific section ? I would also second a rename to avoid wikijargon. Cenarium (talk) 20:54, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
        • The essay existed for several years before draft space existed, so there was no distinction to be made. The mere existence of draft space does not really change anything about the userfication process; it merely adds another option, and we need not set rules about what kinds of things need to go to what kinds of spaces. By the way, I am not strongly opposed to renaming, but I think that's a subject for another discussion. bd2412 T 21:08, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - shows common practice. Red Slash 17:16, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose I think its good practise, but prefer that such practise remain voluntary rather than compulsory.--KTo288 (talk) 08:04, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
    • In what way would this proposal make it compulsory? bd2412 T 16:56, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose It's a common procedure, but I think a confusing one. It would be much better to use draft space for all article-in-process material, for then we could devise a single system for monitoring it. DGG ( talk ) 08:16, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Support I've used it several times. I find more utility in userfication to save AfD'd subjects with potential. Sending to draft space would only increase the number of G13s. Chris Troutman (talk) 22:16, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Not yet. As others have noted, the new draft namespace has not been given sufficient coverage. Using the draft namespace should be a clearly enshrined practice, not presented as an afterthought or just "an alternative" to userification. Manul 17:11, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Why does it need to be an either/or... why can't we promote WP:Userfication to guideline status anduse Draftspace? I think they serve slightly different, yet complimentary purposes. Blueboar (talk) 18:31, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Talk page size[edit]

In response to the HW incident at Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#User_talk:Hullaballoo_Wolfowitz_archival I here by propose that the limit (75kb) set at WP:ARCHIVENOTDELETE is to be made a policy (i.e no talk pages longer than size x) for User talk pages. Avono (talk) 17:40, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

An alternative proposal would be that refusing to archive/reduce a user talk page after being asked by a number of editors (consensus) should be considered being disruptive. Avono (talk) 20:36, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

I'm not entirely sure that would be necessary, although it would certainly be possible to amend the existing guideline to include something to the effect that talk pages which exceed that length can and perhaps should be archived or set up for archiving by individuals other than the user whose talk page it is in the interests of accessibility, and that disruptive edits to the contrary would qualify as disruptive editing as per WP:DE. There will be some blocked or banned users whose talk pages could conceivably get that long as well, and having some way to clearly deal with such occurrences is clearly in the interests of the project. User talk:HiLo48 here and User talk:Carriearchdale here might be further examples. John Carter (talk) 17:58, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
I am open to any suggestions; I Just think this needs to be addressed by the wider community first because it will affect a lot of Editors, thats why I started here. Avono (talk) 18:08, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
The guideline WP:ARCHIVENOTDELETE appears above the user talk page guidelines and so has to do with article talk pages, which indeed should always be archived rather than deleted, and which are frequently archived by a bot. Users do have the right to delete rather than archive their talk pages, although archival is preferred. I agree that there should be some limit on user talk pages. I hadn't previously noticed, until this issue, that 75K was mentioned, so now I need to archive half of my talk page. Robert McClenon (talk) 18:26, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Well prefered talk page sizes can be further discussed (had to start somewhere). Admins over at WP:AN also had an idea for a consensus based policy based on individual situations. Avono (talk) 18:31, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Referring to a consensus based policy based on individual situations sounds contradictory. Should the policy be consensus-based, or should it reflect individual situations, or a combination of the above? I agree that some policy should be in force that admins can archive the talk page of an editor whose talk page is problematically large (and that interfering with that policy is considered disruptive). Robert McClenon (talk) 18:39, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

If a page is too long it hangs the browser on older systems. The purpose of a talk page is to allow communication, if the page length prevents that then it is not appropriate. I don't know where to set the limit but it is entirely within the communities expectations that a talk page be usable. Chillum 18:33, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Is the figure of 75K based on technical knowledge of the behavior of older browsers, or is that just a generic guideline? Robert McClenon (talk) 18:39, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
HW's talk page was around 1000K causing technical problems, maybe set that as the limit? (thought imo it should be around half of it) Avono (talk) 18:45, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
One thousand KB would be a problem at any time, but I have no reason to think that there should be any reason to allow the problem to grow to the point that it causes technical problems. There are perhaps some questions regarding possibly poor transmission speeds in some English speaking areas which might make the page ultimately unavailable at far shorter lengths. 75K to me sounds like a not unreasonable number, although I could I guess allow for some temporary instances of exceeding it without independent archiving if, for instance, some one wins an arb seat and every single person who voted for that candidate drops a note to say "hello, remember that I voted for you the next time someone wants to ban me," or the death or known serious health problems of a popular editor, or someone doing something controversial or attention-getting in the media, or something along those lines, I guess a little leeway might make sense. If a page grows to 100K or more in less than a day, over the proposed 75K, I don't think that would necessarily be considered cause for independent archiving, but that won't happen very often if honestly it ever happens at all. John Carter (talk) 18:55, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
(resp to proposer) Recommend not imposing a talkpage length requirement. Every editor has a different situation at his/her talkpage. GoodDay (talk) 19:01, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
But this isn't so much about the talk page owner as it is about visitors who have said that they have encountered difficulties. If people have a hard time communicating with someone whose talk page is a mile long, then that is a problem that goes beyond the "it's my page and I do what I want" ethos. This brings to mind the occasional flare-up over excessively large or otherwise obnoxious signature lines. Users are given wide latitude in how they can display signatures, and while there's no firm policy, we have a general expectation of conformity to community norms, i.e. no blinking, no multi-line, link your username, etc... When editors violate that, and enough people see it as disruptive, then the community is empowered to compel that editor to comply with the norms of the project. There's many other examples as well, such as when people used to have fake "new message" orange bars on their talk page. Tarc (talk) 19:09, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't believe we should impose any hard limit as a result of people intending to game the system and freedom of the talk page. I believe the threshold should be defined in policy as 'should not become so large that they cause load problems or excessive scrolling to get to the bottom.' Plus I fear that this could become another tool to harass another user who you have beef with. "In a heavy dispute, just archive their entire talk because it's over this hard limit!" Tutelary (talk) 19:13, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Something could be in place, that points out an editor should comply to requests to archive. GoodDay (talk) 19:17, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

I agree that common sense is better than a hard limit. I would support wording along the lines of If people are telling you that the length of your talk page is making it difficult to communicate with you then you should shorten the page by archiving or removing content. Insistence on keeping a talk page long while others are telling you it is preventing communication can seen as disruptive.

It is to the point and essentially spells out what the community already expects from a talk page. Any action that needs to be taken can be handled under our current disruption policy. Chillum 19:28, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

I agree. Creating specific, detailed rules about each individual type of disruption promotes the idea (whether it's system-gaming or an honest misconception) that anything not explicitly mentioned is permissible (because "there's no rule against it"). If a behavior is disruptive, we needn't check whether it contradicts Wikipedia Title 32, Part III, Subpart A, Chapter 19, Section 337 before intervening. —David Levy 20:25, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Oppose any policy change per WP:NOTBURO; it's not that hard, when a bunch of editors tell you your talk page is too long, it's too long. NE Ent 22:57, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

  • My thoughts on this are as follows. This was a really poorly thought out and put together proposal that should have been made as a collaboration of editors. It should not have occurred until the situation at WP:AN is resolved in which-ever way it will end up being resolved. I think that setting a number like 75K is excessively low, especially since it is not difficult for a single productive collaborative discussion to take more than that. As I've discussed in other semi-recent discussions for the size of talk archive pages, the most primitive browsers and systems seem to start having troubles around the 120-150K mark. I've championed in those discussions that talk archives should be limited to 150K. I would say that for the actual talk page, the limit should be the the greater of 120K or 31 days of discussions. I would also say that repeated requests for archival either via a new discussion on the user's talk page or by prefixing the {{Archiveme}} template to the top of the page from multiple editors should be an exception to the 'hard set' technical requirements. Allegations that said multiple editors are "ganging up on" or "working together against" need to be validate by some kind of editor interaction log and some kind of evidence they are working together (I'd not be opposed to editors being able to request assistance from someone with access to email logs, but do expect that many others will). While I see a lot of concerns that such a modification of policy will lead to editors attempting to game the system, that is less of an issue to me as it doesn't matter how page sizes be kept down (surely they would grow tired of any attempts to game the system quickly if they see that nobody cares) allowing other editors to easily communicate with them. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 23:30, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
  • As someone who manually archives his Talk pages, I have a couple of thoughts. First, is there any page that details advice about Talk pages? I've let mine frequently get almost to 100K, mostly because I archive when I feel it's time. (I get very little traffic, only 13 archives over the last 12 years.) My longest -- at 120K -- was due to the fact I was basically gone from Wikipedia, received a lot of bot-generated messages, & just didn't care. (If someone is gone from Wikipedia, the last thing that person cares about is whether Talk page size violates policy.) Second, notification bots should be smart enough to detect a {{retired}} tag & not leave messages on Talk pages where the person is gone from Wikipedia, otherwise that'll become a problem. -- llywrch (talk) 18:45, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
  • 75K sounds a but low. The usual recommendation is 100K. Mine often exceeds that (a bit), because I don't pay attention and people are unfortunately slow to complain. On the other side, it's not unusual in a major discussion for discussion page size to get completely out of control, and there's not always a good solution. If you archive discussions, people complain that they can't talk. If you split large discussions to new pages, people complain that you're "hiding" the discussion (or part of it). WP:VPPR may have set a new record last week, when it reached a rather staggering 663K. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:31, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

policy about images on Wikipedia[edit]

Hi, im not sure if there IS a policy about this, but in the article 2013 Egyptian coup d'état there is a picture of dead mursi supporters. Is this really ok on a website viewable by children?

--Knight of Ni (talk) 12:52, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

There is a policy... see: WP:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not censored. Blueboar (talk) 13:22, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Generally Wikipedia is not censored. If the image is relevant and provides information useful in the article that cannot be provided by a less offensive image, it should be there. There is another discussion on how potential child readers should be protected, or at least their parents informed. WarKosign 13:23, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I agree, if anyone wants to make a case for removal of this particular image it should be based either on arguments regarding relevance or if someone finds another image that they believe is less offensive as well as equally relevant and useful.-- (talk) 17:33, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Everyone above's spot on we're not censored - Although you could simply block the image with Adblock Plus if it bothers you that much. –Davey2010(talk) 07:48, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
I think the point is not this specific image but a whole category of potentially offensive images. I can imagine how each image could be somehow rated on some offensiveness scales (sexual 0 to 10, violent 0 to 10, religiously offensive 0-10), and then the readers would be able to set their thresholds, either in wikipedia settings or by blocking a certain html pattern in Adblock. Of course there are big question to answer before it can be done:
  1. Which offensiveness categories to use, how are they chosen ? Many people can take offense at completely different things, which potentially offensive subject is mainstream enough and which is fringe ?
  2. Who decides how offensive an image is in each category ? This is a matter of personal taste and opinions may differ wildly within the same category.
  3. What is the default rating for images that did not undergo this process, such as all the images currently in use ?
WarKosign 10:20, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Been there, done that and discovered a remarkable number of (white, Western, male) editors who were extremely unhappy about the prospect of letting individual readers choose to not load whatever violent, disgusting, or offensive pictures said editors chose to put on a page. (To be fair, it would be a complicated project, but the arguments from ideological purity were far more impassioned.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:35, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Is the racial slur really necessary? Anomie 13:16, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Being (accurately) called "white" is not a racial slur.
I suspect that what you meant to ask was, "Is it necessary to point out that there was a dramatic difference in the opinions of male editors from six or eight countries whose population is predominantly white and Western, and editors from Asia, Africa, and South America?" Well, I think it's interesting. There was a significant cultural split in that discussion about whether the reader or the editor controls what the reader views. It lined up better along racial lines (white) than along geographic lines (Northwestern Europe, Australia, USA). Editors who were in the "white, Western, male" group were (taken as a whole) far more committed to making readers display potentially offensive images on the readers' computers than non-white and/or non-Western editors. Is there an actual racial (vs a non-racial cultural) component? I don't know. It's possible that non-white people are more aware of the many forms of exploitation, since they've been subjected to more of it as a result of their races. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:50, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Im not here to question the policys of wikipedia. I have the uttermost respect for the guidelines worked out. Since im a editor at the swedish wikipedia at normal times im used tho the guidelines we use, hence my question. I do respect the wiki is not censored-statement, but i DO question the pictures relevanse and necesarity. Even though, I dont think im the right one to make the call. --Knight of Ni (talk) 23:35, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
If you're questioning the appropriateness of a specific image in a specific article, the article's talk page is te place to go; here we discuss general policy issues, not content details for specific articles. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 06:39, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Tag for too many citations[edit]

Is there a tag to put on top of an article with citation overkill? For example, the HDMI article regularly has three or four references for a stated fact and a total of 209 references, which seems like overkill to me. Especially since it's not at all a controversial topic. I cleaned up a little, but i'd like to leave behind a tag to invite other editors to continue cleaning up. I previously asked this question at the talk page of the citation overkill policy, but no one responded. PizzaMan (♨♨) 14:27, 14 December 2014 (UTC) (PS if i posted this question in the wrong place, please point me to where i should post it)

First suggestion - combine the multiple refs into single citations - second, citation overkill is all too often found on Wikipedia as some editors think is one ref is good, twenty is better <g>. This is not simply solved by tags, it requires a complete change in practice. Sigh. Collect (talk) 15:09, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Why couldn't a tag help such a change in practice? Either way, may i conclude that it currently doesn't exist (and there is no consensus for creating such a tag)? --PizzaMan (♨♨) 15:23, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
There was, but it was deleted. Mr.Z-man 16:00, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm sure this also violates some kind of WP:policy, but :-( (but thanks for explaining) PizzaMan (♨♨) 16:31, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Mr.Z-man, I don't suppose you would be willing to restore the contents of that template to my userspace or emailing it to me, I was actually considering creating a similar template and wouldn't want it to be a CSD:G4 if I did. If you (or any other administrator) (is|are) willing to do that, I would appreciate it at {{User:Technical 13/Templates/Overcite}} Now that I'm aware a similar template was deleted, I'll happily start a discussion and get consensus for it before moving back into template space, if appropriate. Thanks! — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 17:10, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
@Technical 13:: Userfied. Mr.Z-man 17:40, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Thanks. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 17:46, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm not exactly the most experienced WP editor but please let me know if i can contribute. I've written scientific papers and there it's common practice to use just the right amount of citations to support your statements, no less, no more. So perhaps i could contribute from that expertise. PizzaMan (♨♨) 00:34, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Sure, PM, I've made the first revisions to the wording of the template and improved its features a bit. I've also changed the image to something a little better IMO. Feel free to see what I've done and provide any feedback on development on its talk page or my own. :) — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 00:53, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

PizzaMan, keep in mind that WP:Citation overkill is an essay, not a policy or a guideline. Flyer22 (talk) 10:31, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Should a Check user issued indefinite block be considered as a community ban?[edit]

In a recent ban discussion, and some not so recent ones, editors have opposed the institution of a community ban on the basis that the user under discussion was indefinitely blocked by a checkuser. Their rationale is that such a user is considered de facto banned as only a checkuser would be authorised to lift the block. I use the word "authorised" in the sense that non-Checkuser admins would automatically defer to the CU admin. Thus, for the sake of removing the need for ban proposals and hence saving time, should the community ban policy be amended to any user that has been indefinitely blocked by a checkuser is considered banned and may only appeal to the Arbitration Committee or BASC for repeal of the ban. Unblock reviews should be referred to a CU admin, or some variant thereof? Blackmane (talk) 00:21, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

It sounds like the only practical effect of this would be to basically prohibit CUs from undoing their own blocks. Mr.Z-man 00:28, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Oops, that's not what I intended. Amended the question in italics. Blackmane (talk) 00:48, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
  • this looks like a solution on search of a problem. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 01:12, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree with HJ Mitchell on this one. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 01:14, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Still seeing the same problem here. It would require very significant resources of very busy editors in order to undo a checkuser block. Right now, checkusers can do that themselves. This is overkill. I think probably what you want to say is "Checkuser blocks can be altered or lifted by checkusers and may or may not be related to otherwise-blocked or banned editors. They are not equivalent to or a replacement for a community ban, which is decided by the community as a whole and can be lifted by Arbcom, BASC or a consensus discussion within the community." That is what I'd suggest you aim toward. Risker (talk) 01:16, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for that, Risker. That is closer to what I was aiming towards. My wording is quite clumsy on a re-reading. As you well know, indef blocks are not considered community bans unless there are serious follow up transgressions by the blocked user, such as socking, legal threats etc, and even then a ban discussion is still required. However, a CU indef is often treated differently and the comment is frequently "such-and-such user has been CU indef'd, they're as good as banned". This is then considered a good enough reason not to require a community ban discussion. So what I was aiming at was adding it into policy that a CU issued block is as good as a ban and doesn't require a follow up community discussion to formalise it. Blackmane (talk) 01:48, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
There's very little difference between a block and a siteban in practical terms, and community-banning editors who are indefinitely blocked and have no hope of being unblocked in the near future is pointless, because an indef block that has been reviewed by multiple admins and will probably never be lifted is a siteban in all but name. Save community banning for the contentious cases that can't be effectively handled by individual admins. Cf. WP:NOTBURO. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 03:08, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Hmm, a point that I certainly agree with. It's been raised on AN and ANI enough times. I guess what I'm seeking is some way to avoid the obvious non-contentious multi-reviewed indef blocks being raised on AN and ANI for site ban discussions where it's just about getting a nod from enough people to acknowledge what is already evident. It's less about having something bureaucratic and more about a common sense blurb. Blackmane (talk) 21:54, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
I acrtually did run into a case where a checkuser block was incorrect. To summarize the case, a complete newcomer did 3 reverts on a single article, and got warned about 3RR. Then the user did a fourth revert while logged out. The user and the IP address got a 24 hour block (correctly), and a checkuser block about an hour later. After the original 24 hours were up, the user made a request in which (s)he admitted that (s)he was the anon who did the fourth revert, and said that the log out was accidental. (I've seen this happen to me once in a while, so that lasty claim is plausable.) As there was no evidence of any other sockpuppetry-related issue, several users (including me) argued that the user should be unblocked (on the user's talk page), and (s)he was. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 10:50, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Editing by a retired wikipedian[edit]

Hi. If some user had marked its page and talk page with the template {{retired}}, could be considered bad faith to edit (and revert editions) and can not write in his/her talk page? I ask it because some user is doing it. (Sorry for my bad English). Best, --Warko talk 04:17, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

  • Retirement means nothing, so editing while retired also means nothing. --Jayron32 04:20, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I know, my point is that this user is "blocking" the posts in his talk page by putting the template. This not seems correct to me. --Warko talk 04:24, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Which user? I don't see any revisions of you trying to edit on any user's talk page except your own in the last three months. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 04:31, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
The user is Diego Grez. I've not edited his talk page before asking here first. --Warko talk 04:36, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) The template doesn't block any posts. Just click the "new section" link on his talk page and leave him a new message. The template means nothing. --Jayron32 04:36, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Sure, I was talking about a "symbolic" block, not a technical one. Thank you. --Warko talk 04:39, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Off-topic. But if you want to talk about policies, I ask you why you are ignoring the policy of explain reverts? --Warko talk 04:56, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
"If your reasons for reverting are too complex to explain in an edit summary, leave a note on the article's Talk page.". I did that. My question was "off-topic" because it doesn't suit you? [[User:that the unchosen envelope contains twice the sum in the chosen one must always be 1/2, regardless of what sum might be in the chosen envelope. It can be shown mathematically that, if this is the case, the expected sum in both envelopes must be infinite |Diego Grez]] (talk) 05:01, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
No, it is off-topic because this section is called "Editing by a retired wikipedian", not "Neighborhoods of Pichilemu". --Warko talk 05:08, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment What about the concerns of using the template for being retired when you're not really retired? The template documentation makes it astoundingly clear that it is used to permanently stop editing, not one time, not 'sometimes here, sometimes not' but permanently. However, we see that this user is using the template and have edited with it on, against the template documentation. Should the retired template be removed? Accordingly to the documentation, it should be. But what if they edit war? Bleh, I don't understand how stuff can be in the template but not enforced. Tutelary (talk) 04:44, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
    • So you think I should f... off only because the template says so? I only came back because of off-wiki ongoings. Diego Grez (talk) 04:49, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
  • If by symbolic you mean that they will never see any posts on their talk page because they don't look at it anymore, then, yes, you're probably right. However, no-one can make them volunteer on wikipedia to read anyone's message. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 04:47, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I've seen a few editors (over the years) continue to contribute to Wikipedia, while keeping a retirement template on their userpager/user-talkpage. Never did understand the practice. GoodDay (talk) 04:50, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I could understand if a retired user make a few editions. But Diego Grez has reverted my edits in more than 60 articles. It doesn't seem to me like a real retirement. --Warko talk 05:08, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I agree that it does seem odd that an editor marks his page as 'retired' and then continues to edit but there is no rule or policy preventing that. I suggest that you follow the standard WP:Dispute resolution procedure if you cannot agree. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:19, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I will follow that procedure. But first I have to know if the user is "retired" or not. If is retired, I can't have a dispute with a wikipedian is not active. --Warko talk 13:59, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Are you referring to the Diego Grez who responded just above? If so, I guess you should take him as being active. Just ignore the 'Retired' template. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:07, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

What if the {{retired}} template included some indication of how active the user actually is? Perhaps number of days since the last edit, or number of edits in the last month. WarKosign 14:13, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Actually, the semi-retired template would be best for Diego Grez. GoodDay (talk) 14:17, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
While I guess there wouldn't be any harm in such an addition to the template, assuming it's possible, it's easy enough already to check a user's contribution history. DonIago (talk) 14:19, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

The thing works this way: if a user edits, he is not retired. If he does not edit, he is retired. The template does not set it: a user may use the template and still edit, or he can be retired and never informed so with a template. So, if there is an ongoing dispute, ignore the template and solve the dispute the regular way.

Having said that, you may check the circumstances in which he "retired". If, for example, someone challenged some action of this user and he made a great scandal about his retirement as a result, only to return less than a month later, take note of that detail. Also if he tries to shield himself from discussion with the "retired" template on an active way (such as replying "I will not reply, I'm retired"). It is not an actionable fault in itself (meaning, nobody will be blocked for doing that), but it is a deception. And, although we assume good faith, our social policies are not a suicide pact, we have no requirement to keep trusting the word of a proved trickster. On the other hand, if he simply added the template silently one day, and then returned to edit as a regular editor, then ignore it. He may have really thought about leaving, changed his mind, but forgot about the template. Cambalachero (talk) 14:39, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Considering this being the rationale posted along with the retired template, I think Warko's concerns are valid in this particular case. - NQ (talk) 15:20, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Why not just remove the template whilst you're back editing, and pop it on back on there when you go back into retirement, or,as GoodDay suggested, change it to the semi-retired template. Other than that, there's no reason not to put new messages on their talk-page, as they're clearly back editing, so are likely to see the message. Dylanfromthenorth (talk) 15:23, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Warko, this is so simple. If an editor edits they are active, if they are not editing they are inactive. No template that they put on their user or talk page governs whether they are active or not. You are right above that you can not have a dispute with an inactive editor, but since you have a dispute there is only one possibility, the editor is active. -- GB fan 23:43, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I wrote in his talk page, but he reverted my edition. I assume that he is retiring for real this time. --Warko talk 23:49, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
In short, a user reverting a message left by someone else on their talk page does not break any Wikipedia policy. However, you probably shouldn't leave notices like that in another's userspace. It tends to lead to more problems than solutions. Killiondude (talk) 00:02, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
I've never wrote in another's userspace. --Warko talk 00:22, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
You wrote that on his talk page and that is in the userspace. That message was inappropriate. All him removing the message means is that he read it, it does not mean that he is retiring. If you have a dispute discuss it. -- GB fan 00:32, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
If somebody redirects his userpage to his talk page, you can't post on it? I didn't know this rule. --Warko talk 01:11, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
That's not so. Its just means he virtually has no userpage. GoodDay (talk) 01:14, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
What makes you think you can not post to a talk page that is redirected from the userpage? -- GB fan 01:18, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Ok. --Warko talk 02:18, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Freebase, Google, Wikidata, Knowledge Graph, and English Wikipedia[edit]

Google announced in December 2014 that their Freebase project would close in six months, and that they intend to migrate as much of its content to Wikidata as the Wikimedia community likes. I am writing to invite anyone to comment on this at d:Wikidata:WikiProject Freebase. Freebase could be described as Google's Wikidata.

This matters to English Wikipedia because Freebase was used to power Knowledge Graph, and the advent of Knowledge Graph greatly influenced traffic to Wikipedia. Google search remains the major driver of traffic to English Wikipedia, and therefore Google's interactions with Wikipedia significantly influence how people use Wikipedia.

Whatever happens will be decided on Wikidata. I cannot say what impact the Freebase migration will have on English Wikipedia, any other Wikipedia, or how external websites interact with any Wikimedia project, but my intuition is that the acquisition of such a large collection of datasets into Wikidata could radically change the world's interest in developing automated tools to interact with Wikidata and to increase the exchange rate of information between English Wikipedia and Wikidata.

I regret to say that there is not much to read about this, but what is available is at Wikidata. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:04, 18 December 2014 (UTC)