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.
If you want to propose something new that is not a policy or guideline, use the proposals section.
If you have a question about how to apply an existing policy or guideline, try the one of the many Wikipedia:Noticeboards.
This is not the place to resolve disputes over how a policy should be implemented. Please see Wikipedia:Dispute resolution for how to proceed in such cases.

Please see this FAQ page for a list of frequent proposals and the responses to them.

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Note: inactive discussions, closed or not, should be archived.[edit]

Someone has added a substantial amount of information to the Tennessee article using only as a source. City-data is not considered a reliable source, right? Bms4880 (talk) 18:50, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

It's a copyright infringement if nothing else. Southern American English would also be a better place, but that needs attention from an expert, not a copy-paster. There should perhaps be a single sentence in Tennessee linking to that article (and AAVE?). --NE2 19:45, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

WP:FLORA issues[edit]

The principle of the guideline is as follows:

"The guiding principle of this guideline is to follow usage in reliable sources. In the vast majority of cases, this will be the current scientific name. This is because the vast majority of plants are of academic interest only to botanists, and botanists almost invariably use scientific names in their published works. On the other hand, when a plant is of interest outside botany—for example because it has agricultural, horticultural or cultural importance—then a vernacular name may be more common.
Other principles in play here include precision and consistency. Both of these lend further support to the use of scientific names, and the latter leads to standardisation on certain orthographic points"

I have and continue to see issue with this guideline as I feel this is a case of WP:IAR. The wording "This is because the vast majority of plants are of academic interest only to botanists" is biased and as a result narrows the scope of the articles for those who are not botanists to weed though latin phrases that they may have no idea what the heck they mean but do have a common english name. For example, if I was curious on what types of trees grew in my area I might know one or two based on common name but would have no idea where to go from there due to the jargon being used in the articles. When it comes to schools, other than college studies maybe and possibly high school elementary school kids through middle school do not use latin phrases when doing science projects. This guideline also goes against WP:NOTGUIDE as Wikipedia isn't a book about plants but an encyclopedia. So in closing, are we going to narrow the scope of our articles so just a botanist can understand it, or can we make the article titles user friendly so everyone can look them up? - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 01:32, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

If you are talking about the article title that's why there are redirects. Plus look at some of them, Poet's daffodil or Narcissus poeticus, which is the most common of the five names? CambridgeBayWeather, Uqaqtuq (talk), Sunasuttuq 09:50, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Just a procedural note: I've left a notice of this discussion at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (flora)#Discussion at Village Pump. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:12, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
The most common English name would be used then, redirects aren't enough unless you know the english plant names and only serve that purpose. My thought is an average editor looking through Wikipedia plants for a science project or the like and not knowing what the heck the latin names mean. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 14:21, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Not quite... it's a subtle distinction, but WP:COMMONNAME does not say to use the most common "English name"... it says we should use the name most commonly used in "English Language sources". For most topics, these will be the same... but not always. In the case of plants, the name most commonly used in English Language sources is usually going to be the scientific name. The rational behind the instructions at WP:FLORA is this: while one source may use vernacular name X when referring to a plant, another may use vernacular name Y when refering to it... but both will mention scientific name Z. That means Z will actually be more common (and thus more recognizable) than either X or Y. Blueboar (talk) 14:33, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Im saying this is a case where we should WP:IAR so more readers can understand the titles, a more user friendly experience. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 14:37, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't follow. If English names aren't enough, how would it help if the article titles were changed? After all, vernacular names are used in species articles, and are used in redirects and disambiguation pages. Guettarda (talk) 14:27, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Im saying English names should be used whenever possible, latin ones secondary, we aren't a plant guidebook that caters to just botanists. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 14:30, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Well... you are entitled to your opinion. But the issue has been discussed multiple times, and each time there has been a solid consensus to continue do title these articles the way we do. Blueboar (talk) 14:51, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
I realise that you're saying that we should use vernacular names. I don't follow your reasoning as to why we should use them. As I'm sure you realise, using these names are very difficult because they aren't standardised; most plants have dozens of vernacular names, or none at all. Very often the so-called common names used in guides are just made up by the person who writes the guide, or are just a translation of the scientific name. We've discussed the utility of this for a decade now.

I understand that you're unhappy with the current system of naming. But it exists to deal with real problems with naming plants. What's the mechanics of your system, how does it deal with the problems posed by using vernacular names? Guettarda (talk) 14:54, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

The use of this naming system is practical, not pedantic. Guettarda (talk) 14:56, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Precisely. For some kinds of organism – birds are a good example – there is a system of English names which has reasonable acceptance worldwide, although it does still lead to names which are not generally used in any particular country (like American robin or European robin, for example, both of which really have the common name "robin"). For plants, experience shows that there just isn't such a system. Both within and across countries the same plant has very varied names. Sycamore is a good example. In North America, this name is used for species of Platanus, which are called "plane trees" in English in Europe where "sycamore" is used for Acer pseudoplatanus. Look at all the articles in Category:Set indices on plant common names. What's "buffalo clover"? What's "mountain ash"? Peter coxhead (talk) 16:03, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Or what's ironwood?--Melburnian (talk) 23:41, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Knowledgekid87 - for me it's about conformity - for instance, Eucalyptus cladocalyx is the sugar gum, but it'd look silly at sugar gum if there are several hundred species of Eucalyptus at their scientific name pages. I prefer to see them all aligned with each other. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 05:12, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
One point that hasn't quite been touched on yet is that a lot of the published "common names" for species don't accurately represent the vernacular. That is, people writing field guides and floras and so forth feel compelled to provide a name other than the Latin binomial, but in many cases, there really is no regularly-used English name for the species; the authors wind up inventing them, usually by translating the species epithet. So in trying to determine the "common name", a lot of published evidence will be adduced which doesn't really reflect usage. (e.g., for more or less any sedge, Carex, the only people who can identify it will refer to it by the scientific name anyway.) Choess (talk) 04:38, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
I speak as an amateur gardener, not as any sort of botanist. When I look through my garden catalogs, they're more likely to have entries under "Rosa eglanteria" than "Eglantine", more likely to have "Clivia miniata" than "Natal lily." Gardeners use Linnean names to communicate because they are precise. If I say Spanish oak, I could mean one of (at least) three different trees. If I say "Quercus coccinea", I could only mean one. Furthermore, there is no agreement on the common names of plants: Amaranthus caudatus has a colorful set of names including "love-lies-bleeding", "velvet flower", and (not on the Wiki page but my favorite) "Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate". For most garden plants I wind up knowing both a vernacular name and the Linnean name, but if I'm trying to mail-order any but the very commonest plants, the Linnean name is my best bet. Serpyllum (talk) 22:16, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Net Worth[edit]

In the Template to the right in biographical articles, why are Net worth figures given for business persons (examples Warren Buffet and Bill Gates) and not for political figures (examples Bill Clinton and George W. Bush)? Why the bias toward disclosure for business people, and a free pass for politicians? Isn't there overlap sometimes (example Mitt Romney)? What can be done in the interests of transparency for government employees and a more level playfield for business people? Thank you. nobs (talk) 04:51, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

The simple answer is that editors are free here to do as they wish so long as they obtain silent or affirmative consensus. Part of that freedom is to use whichever fields of templates, in this case {{Infobox person}}, that they care to use so long as no one reverts or objects on the article talk page. Another part is that every article stands on its own and what happens in one does not determine what happens in another (see, e.g. WP:OTHERSTUFF and "see also's" linked there). The only way to require uniformity between articles is through a policy or guideline. If you'd care to try to create one, follow the instructions at the Policy policy (not a typo). (If you succeed in making such a policy, you should note that the template that's used for politicians is {{Infobox officeholder}} rather than {{Infobox person}} and that template does not currently have a net worth field, so part of your policy proposal should probably be amending that infobox to include it.) Having said that, it seems to me that you may be making a false dichotomy here: With Gates and Buffet being ranked the two richest people in the US and within the top three or four in the world, their net worth is notable/significant in itself, having noting per se to do with whether they're businessmen, lottery winners, politicians, or simply heirs. (And in that regard, you might want to look at Christy Walton, whose net worth is listed as the richest woman in the world, but who holds it only as an heir, not as a business person.) Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 15:08, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Exactly... there is no way we can (or should) list every factoid about a person in an infobox. The factiods that we do list should be relevant to what makes the person notable. The info box on Gates, Buffet or Walton does not list what political party they belong to - because their political views have little to do with what makes them notable. Similarly, the info box on Clinton, Bush, or Obama does not list their net worth, because their financial status has very little to do with what makes them notable. Blueboar (talk) 15:54, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks very much. This is very helpful. So it's optional using the Infobox person template, even for a CEO, (for example Patrick M. Byrne). It looks like an arbitrary cutoff at $1 billion; Gates, Buffet and Oprah Winfrey are listed but Mitt Romney & Bill Clinton's Net Worths are only in the hundreds of million and the reader needs to hunt for this information. If financial status has very little to do with an office holder's notability, that would be easily verifiable by checking their Net worth against Median income. nobs (talk) 16:23, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Close, but I don't think you quite have it yet: National politicians are ordinarily notable merely because they're a politician. (And the concept of notability only affects the question of whether or not we'll have an article about them at all not what's in the article.) The question of inclusion of a politician's net worth is one of those things which, if disputed, is going to turn on whether it can, first, be supported with an inline citation to a reliable source and then, second, whether it's inclusion gives that one particular fact about the politician undue weight. One way to demonstrate that it's not undue would be to demonstrate that his or her net worth has been a topic of significant discussion in mainstream reliable sources. To suggest that it ought to always be included in politician's articles is an argument which, I fear, is going to be fraught with difficulty: first, while we have lots of rules about things which cannot be included in articles or which can only sometimes or under certain circumstances be included in articles, we have very few rules — indeed, just off the top of my head I can't think of any — which mandate particular substantive information (i.e. versus particular formatting, citations, and other procedural matter) to be included in articles. The first question for such a mandate will always be: whose duty is it to insert that information and what's the consequences if they fail to do so? Once you're past that hurdle — which I consider to be near–insurmountable — there are a million other details to argue over, starting with which politicians? US only? Federal, state, or local? and so on. Second, there are those who will say, maybe (or maybe not) with some justification, that the mandatory inclusion of net worth information on politicians implies a certain non-neutral political or ideological point of view about politicians and wealth which is inappropriate for Wikipedia. Frankly, I think the attempt to mandate it would be a colossal waste of time and that editors would be better served by deciding whether or not it is appropriate on a politician-by-politician basis. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 16:54, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
I agree with TransporterMan. The addition of net worth should only be in proportion to the weight in the reliable sources. Examples are Silvio Berlusconi and Stacey Jordan. It would be ludicrous not to list Berlusconi's net worth and ludicrous to include Jordan's. This information should be done on an article by article basis.--Adam in MO Talk 04:22, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Length of day[edit]

Is Talk:Length_of_day#Proposed_material acceptable per WP policy and may it be put in the article space at Length of day? Iceblock (talk) 04:45, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

If you are proposing that this formula is to be the sole content of the article, I'd say not. It entirely lacks context, and appears to cover the same subject as discussed in our daytime article in greater depth. I con see no logical reason why we need a separate article for a formula. Assuming it is correct, it can be added to the daytime article. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:25, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
One wonders why Length of day redirects to Earth's rotation instead of Daytime. One also wonders why we need both Daylight and Daytime. ―Mandruss  05:39, 29 January 2015 (UTC)