Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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Guideline for terminology on immigrants[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Consensus would appear to be against the implementation of this proposal. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 19:12, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

I just spent a while writing a project page, then discovered that I was supposed to submit this here first — which I'm happy to do, since, while I tried quite hard to replicate the structure and tone of other proposals, I also don't know what I'm doing.

Below is what I've written, for your feedback. Thanks!


This is a proposed guideline for use of terminology to refer to people who live in a legal jurisdiction without legal authorization. It is intended to supplant another, earlier proposed naming guideline, Wikipedia:Naming conventions (immigration), because (a) both that proposed guideline and the ensuing discussion are too long & unwieldy to be easily engaged with, and (b) that proposed guideline is now eight years old and has been abandoned. This guideline will, however, at times lift language from the earlier guideline.

The proposal is to strongly recommend against using the term "illegal immigrant(s)" in favor of other terms, except in direct quotations, and against using the term "illegal alien(s)" except in direct quotations or in legal terminology.


A Google search for pages including the term "illegal immigrant" on English Wikipedia comes up with 454 results, the majority of which appear to be Wikipedia articles that use of the term "illegal immigrant" outside of direct quotes in the main text — including at least two articles with the term in their page names: Illegal immigrant population of the United States and Economic impact of illegal immigrants in the United States.

A search for the term "illegal alien" comes up with 453 results, but most uses outside of direct quotes seem to be in the context of legal terminology, and there are no articles with the term in their page names where the term is not being used as a direct quote.

This proposal would apply to the use of the term "illegal immigrant(s)," but not to the term "illegal immigration," which is used much more widely and is less objectionable (see below). It would also apply to use of the term "illegal alien," other than in legal terminology, where the term (while perhaps still offensive) has specific legal meaning. In both cases, the proposal would not apply to direct quotations.

Suggested replacements include "undocumented immigrant(s)" (especially in the U.S. context), "unauthorized immigrant(s)," and "irregular (im)migrant(s)."


Overall argument

I believe that the term isn't reconcilable with Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy ("opinions should not be stated in Wikipedia's voice" and "prefer nonjudgmental language"), and its "words to watch" guideline ("strive to eliminate expressions that are... disparaging... or that endorse a particular point of view").

Act vs. person

The terms "illegal immigrant" and "illegal alien" have been criticized as derogatory towards immigrants, because they apply the term "illegal" to a person in their entirety, rather than to a specific act. Hence why "illegal immigration" is not being included in this proposed guideline: it refers to the criminal act itself, which is illegal, and thus is a fair and NPOV description.

Widespread criticism of the terms

Views & norms on these terms have shifted in the eight years since the earlier proposed naming guideline Wikipedia:Naming conventions (immigration) was written, and are building towards a consensus against use of the term.

  • The AP Stylebook was edited in April 2013 to recommend against use of the terms: "Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. ... Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal, illegals or undocumented."[1]
  • USA Today stopped using the terms in April 2013 as well: "The term illegal immigration is acceptable, but do not label people as illegal immigrants, except in direct quotes. ... Avoid using the word alien to refer to immigrants, except in quoted matter or official government designations."[2]
  • Numerous other journalistic entities have stopped using the terms as well.[3][4][5][6][7] (See here for an article on the overall trend in the U.S. news media.)
  • The U.S. Supreme Court, beginning with the case Arizona v. United States, discontinued the use of the term "illegal immigrant(s)" in its rulings in favor of more neutral terminology.[8] Sonia Sotomayor, the Court's only Latino/a Justice, has explicitly spoken out against use of criminalizing language in reference to immigrants.[9]
  • While most discussion of the term has been in the U.S., there has been debate about it in Britain as well.[12]

The use of the term is still under debate, and it's hardly a matter of consensus — but the very fact that the use of the term is under such debate, and that the debate has been cast in such political terms, is a clear indication that the term can't be considered to be NPOV.

Disputes on Wikipedia

The fact that the term has been so widely argued about already on Wikipedia is also a clear sign that it isn't a neutral term. See especially Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (immigration), Talk:Illegal immigrant, Talk:Illegal immigration, Talk:Illegal immigrant population of the United States, Talk:Anchor baby, and Talk:Illegal alien, among others.

Thus, in addition to the rationales already listed, this guideline would also ensure that we wouldn't need to keep rehashing this same argument, on many different Wikipedia talk pages, over & over again — there would be a clear guideline that could be pointed to in the case of disagreement.

Thanks in advance for any & all thoughtful & constructive feedback. CircleAdrian (talk) 07:55, 18 August 2014 (UTC)


  • Strong Oppose This is a binary POV issue. The terms the proposal seeks to ban are not neutral, but banning them is also not neutral. The proposal seeks to ban the words favored by one side of the immigration debate, while not banning any words used by the other, or even proposing what supposedly neutral language should replace the words. I have to oppose this attempt to enshrine as a guideline the position of one side of the debate. This is no different than if someone proposed a policy of banning references to someone being a "felon" because an action can only be considered a felony, not a person. Monty845 12:37, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Grammar is bunk "Illegal immigrant" is a compound noun derived from the phrase "illegal immigration". By your reasoning, we'd have to stop using "wide receiver" and "shot putter", because the former are not generally wide, and the latter are rarely shot even when they deserve it. I'd say focus on the real argument, namely the claim that term is loaded. Paradoctor (talk) 13:28, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment "Naming conventions" are about article titles, and we don't normally write them to cover just a few pages. I think your best bet might be mentioning this in WP:Words to watch. (I agree that the grammar argument is weak. By that logic, "unauthorized immigrant" is also bad, because only actions can be "unauthorized", not people. Also, the term is applied to people in other contexts: China has illegal second children, India has a problem with illegal child brides, we have an article about an illegal plumber and it appears that illegal landlords are not unknown in the UK. I could go on, but the claim that only immigrants get called "illegal" is obviously false.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:21, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment Okay, thanks for the feedback. I took out the argument on grammar — y'all are right, it's weak (I mostly lifted it from the existing 2006 proposal, and that person was wrong about it too).
I do want to point out, though, that I do propose several "supposedly neutral" terms to replace these ones: "suggested replacements include 'undocumented immigrant(s)' (especially in the U.S. context), 'unauthorized immigrant(s),' and 'irregular (im)migrant(s).'" The term "undocumented immigrants" is the preferred term of most immigrant advocates, but "unauthorized immigrants" and "irregular migrants" are both terms that have been proposed as specifically neutral middle ground — the former in the U.S., the latter in Britain. The term "unauthorized" is probably best to suggest as a "neutral" middle ground, as it suggests wrongdoing but not permanent criminality. (See the argument of linguist Otto Santa Ana here.)
Yes, this is a normative issue, and I expected the "your proposal is POV" argument to come up — but honestly, I wrote this proposal because I found a usage of the term that was pretty clearly a POV edit by someone whose intent was to use the term "illegal alien" in a derogatory way, and I then looked to see what Wikipedia's policy on derogatory terminology is, but wasn't able to find one, which I have to say surprised me. If my proposal was a guideline against using the term "n****r" to describe African-Americans, couldn't you analogously argue that a guideline against its use would ban a word favored by one side of the "white supremacy debate," while not banning any words used by the other? And my point in outlining the shifting perspectives on use of the term among journalists (especially the AP Manual), rather than among immigrant advocates, was intended to demonstrate that it's not just a matter of one side (immigrant advocates) against another side (immigration restriction advocates) — it's a matter of wider public perception about the effect of the term. (And again, this is a guideline, not a "ban" — I'm not proposing any consequences or anything like that for anyone who uses the term, I'm just trying to write something that editors can point to when it gets used.)
WhatamIdoing: I think you're right that this is a words to watch issue rather than a naming convention — but I'm not sure how I would go about proposing this as a "word/term to watch"?
Thanks for your feedback, all. CircleAdrian (talk) 18:25, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Usually, you first figure out if it could be added to an existing section. Then you post your proposed change to the wording on the talk page, people discuss it, and something about it is ultimately either added or it's not. The bias on that page is usually towards being as brief as possible, so keep that in mind when you think about possible changes.
Another option (which might be desirable regardless of the outcome of a WTW discussion) is to write an essay. That requires no "permission" or "consensus", and can be very useful for explaining more details or collecting lists of sources. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:04, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support If it's a WP:MOS thing, and not a ban, as the style guides quoted indicate where possible there is serviceable neutral terminology. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:37, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose... for one thing there is no need for the proposed gudeline. Terms like this are already covered in one of our core policies ... see WP:POVNAMING, section of our NPOV policy. We do not need yet another "style guide" that contradicts core policy (or worse, intentionally seeks to circumvent policy by saying "oh, this is just a style issue, and not within the scope of policy). If you don't like the policy, you can work to change the policy. But don't pretend that there isn't a policy. Blueboar (talk) 01:00, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support as an WP:MOS suggestion, I guess. Don't much care, and my inclination on these things is usually to let editors write as they like as long as the meaning is clear. Also, this Google Ngram shows "illegal immigrant" ahead of the other three combined and, if anything, gaining. So I guess I'm undermining my own vote. But it seems like the right thing to do. You know? "Illegal immigrant" is kind of insulting. It's not just insulting but sort of inflammatory. It frames the matter, at least in undertone, in a way that's not necessarily helpful to our readers understanding what's going on in the events under discussion. Which matters. Sure, we're supposed to follow preponderance of sources... but why? There's no reason for that. Yeah we have to use reliable sources for statements of fact. For style we can do whatever we want. So its OK with me if we get a little ahead of the curve here, since the curve seems to be bending toward less inflammatory language. If I'm reading this New York Times thingy correctly the curve is bending fast at the Times, for instance. Let's not be left behind the Grey Lady for goodness sakes. Herostratus (talk) 02:00, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support- This proposal would align MOS more closely with both WP:NPOV and the majority of non-WP authorities on style, so it's a good idea. Reyk YO! 00:15, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Again... no, it wouldn't. It would, in fact, contradict WP:NPOV. See the WP:POVNAMING section. Blueboar (talk) 12:02, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
You're claim that it contradicts is rather absurd -- NPOV exists to have the goal of neutrality and POVNAMING, says that in exceptional occasions a naming although non-neutral can be used, it does not say always choose the non-neutral, or always prefer the non-neutral, or blatantly ignore reliable style sources that show that there is a more neutral style for many uses. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:06, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
WP:POVNAMING explicitly states: If a name is widely used in reliable sources (particularly those written in English), and is therefore likely to be well recognized by readers, it may be used even though some may regard it as biased. The name "illegal immigrant" is certainly widely used in reliable sources (in fact, in the context of the USA, it is overwhelmingly the single most widely used name for someone who has entered the country illegally), and therefor, according to WP:POVNAMING it may be used. The rational behind POVNAMING is this: For us, as Wikipedians, to ignore what an overwhelming majority of sources call the subject makes us non-neutral... even when our actions are done with the intent to appear neutral. The way to actually be most neutral is to follow the sources. Blueboar (talk) 20:49, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
That's not following reliable sources; you are expressly NOT following the reliable sources on neutrality of style, you are following and introducing POV and selecting the irrelevant (because it does not address neutrality of style), or relying on the unreliable. As I said, "may" be needed on occasion according to POVNaming, so the proposal does not contradict it. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:11, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
You misunderstand. I'm not ignoring the fact that a few style guides may say don't use "Illegal immigrant"... they are POV sources that express an opinion just like other sources... however, when assessing source usage they are outweighed by the literally hundreds of thousands of other reliable sources that actually do use the name "Illegal immigrant". We are not the one's ignoring the style guides... its the real world that is ignoring the style guides. We should be reflecting the real world. The style guides represent an extreme minority view (I would almost classify it as a Fringe view). It becomes non-neutral for Wikipeida to favor an extreme minority view (expressed by a few style guides) and non-neutral to ignore the reality of the majority view (indicated by what all those hundreds of thousands of other reliable sources use). Blueboar (talk) 01:44, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
The style guides don't say "don't use," they indicate where possible there is a more neutral style. They can't be outweighed by other sources that do not address the neutrality of use, so it's not the "real world" that is ignoring the style guides, it is you. Your position is nonsensical. It amounts to 'always pick loaded terms because they are common' , but we are writing a neutral encyclopedia, not sensationalistic yellow journalism nor pulp fiction. Alanscottwalker (talk) 10:11, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Again, you miss the point of POVNAMING... it isn't about the neutrality of the name, its about our own neutrality, as Wikipedia editors. Names don't have to be neutral. Names like Boston massacre and Holy Roman Empire are not neutral... yet we use them anyway. Why? Because so many sources use them that it would be non-neutral for us to not do so as well. We would be substituting our own POV if we used anything else. As for my position, you have it backwards... it isn't "always pick loaded terms because they are common"... its "Always use the most common term, even if it happens to be appear loaded." That's true Neutrality. With true Neutrality we do not pass judgement on whether a name or term is "loaded" or not. We simply use what the majority of sources use. Blueboar (talk) 11:32, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
That's not "true neutrality", because you are not using sources for what they directly address. You are imposing your POV, by misusing sources for what they do not address, where they do not address the word usage. You can't do your original research and come to your own conclusion without introducing your POV. You just said it again, always pick the term that appears loaded because it is common, but we're not in the work of picking the apparent loaded term, quite the opposite. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:49, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
The flaw in your reasoning is that we don't start by always picking the loaded term... we start with picking the most common term (and it needs to be significantly more common). Whether that common term is "loaded" or not is irrelevant to the issue of commonality. About fifty years ago, I would have argued that we should use "Undocumented alien" - because that term was what was most commonly used in sources. Today the sources use "Illegal alien". If, next year, the majority of sources shift and use some less loaded term, I will argue just as strongly that we should change our usage to match the sources, and use that less loaded term. The policy is that Wikipedia uses the names that the the majority of sources use... even if those names seem "loaded" to us. If you don't like that policy, you can work to change it... but policy it is. Blueboar (talk) 12:22, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
The flaw in your reasoning is that you start with original research, and we forbid original research because it introduces POV. If you don't like policy you can work to change it, but what you should never do is make a fetish of a small section of policy and not apply it in context. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:34, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
No... I start with an examination of source usage. That's called "sourced based research", not "original" research. Blueboar (talk) 18:29, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
No. You use your personal research to come to a claim not directly made by those sources concerning word usage. That's original research, entirely in support of your POV. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:41, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
Yup, basically what Alanscottwalker says. Reyk YO! 22:10, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Herostratus: we should, in general, use the most common term when describing something, and Herostratus's research indicates that the most common term for someone who entered a country while bypassing its immigration controls is "illegal immigrant". --Carnildo (talk) 00:50, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Let's not set up a conflict between different WP:MOS pages. Lots of sources use euphemisms such as "passed away", "sightless", etc., but per WP:EUPHEMISM, we use "died", "blind", etc. Why should we care that the euphemism "undocumented alien" is used by lots of sources? It's still a euphemism, a verbose softener for a clear and direct expression that causes no unnecessary offense. Nyttend (talk) 18:57, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong support When the most common term in use is derogatory or condemnatory, we should look for a neutral equivalent. If we were in a period when the most common terms for people were "kike" or "nigger", would we use them? nor, doe we use the wood "crook", however well deserved and widespread. This is especially the case when the standard of current outside use is itself changing to more neutral language. The analogy with "died" is not relevant: it does not apply to living people. More specifically, "illegal" implies a conviction or judgment, and ity is in practice more often just a presumption when applied to a particular individual. DGG ( talk ) 03:12, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
Your argument about "kike" and "nigger" is ridiculous. Those terms are strictly derogatory and slang in nature, while the term "illegal alien" is rooted in legal jargon that is accurate, neutral and inoffensive. Should we not call a felon a felon because that word has negative implications? A word referring to a negative action is likely to have negative connotations, as logic would suggest. It seems to me that you are ignoring the fact that the illegal immigrants have in reality broken the law. A word that reflects their breaking of the law, the primary distinguishing factor between that group and the group of legal immigrants, is necessary. "Illegal immigrant" and "illegal alien" fulfill their purpose of contrasting illegal and legal immigrants. The notion that an opposite should not be used to refer to an opposite simply because that word holds negative connotations is absurd. "in practice more often just a presumption when applied to a particular individual" This comment is baseless and irrelevant. Your assertion that the term is empirically used incorrectly is both unsupported and highly location-sensitive. You are changing the term, albeit without saying so, to specifically refer to Hispanics in the United States region. StainlessSteelScorpion (talk) 04:06, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support per the sources provided above. The heart of WP:NPOV is still to reflect, as close as possible, the usage of mainstream, reliable sources. The OP has made a clear case that mainstream, reliable sources proscribe the use of "illegal immigrant" (and similar) to refer to people (rather than acts) and Wikipedia usage should reflect the same. The MOS should be brought in line with the rest of mainstream media. --Jayron32 03:40, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose "Illegal immigrants" is a term to properly describe people that, at the end of the day, are in a country illegally (without the proper paperwork etc.) I will note that this is, to some extent, a hypothetical concept in that factually that the person has absolutely no paperwork that allows them to immigrate into the country, but from the standpoint of actually having the evidence or the lack of evidence to this point may not always be there. That it, just because a person cannot immediately show they have evidence of legal immigration does not make them illegal. Importantly, this generally means speaking to the general term and not in reference to any single person. The US may report that increases in illegal immigration increased by some number, that's a completely appropriate use of the term since we are talking abou immigration against the law. On the other hand, unless a person has specifically been charged and enforced as an illegal immigrant, calling the individual as such is not proper. --MASEM (t) 03:54, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose This whole proposal is so US centric, and assumes a view of the world as a US citizen in America. The Rationale section shows this with nearly all the selected sources being American in origin, the one for the UN takes the Micky out of the idea of using "irregular migrant" and also observes "A murderer, for example, might instead be a 'person accused of unlawfully ceasing the life of another'." If you assume that anyone can be any illegal immigrant in any country then the phrase is not "derogatory". I once I worked in South Africa for a US company that had lawyers up at Jo'burg International Airport at least once a month because of mistakes an American had made in filling out the landing/immigration form provided in Afrikaans and English on the plane (the English being a translation). As one read the form in English there was a section for "the reason for visiting South Africa". That section of the form was a multi columned tick box list (you know the sort) "tourist" etc. The first first applicable box for the executives flying in for meeting at the Jo'burg for a business meeting was "work" so people ticked that (if they forgot the warning they had received via email). However further into the tick box was "Trade". In Afrikaans apparently the difference was obvious, but in English it is not. As far as the South African authorities were concerned those Americans who ticked "work" were illegal immigrants, as they did not have the necessary work permit to "work" in South Africa, hence the need for lawyers to try to plead that their clients were there for a trade/business meeting and they had made an innocent mistake. Sometimes these illegal immigrants were forced to use the return leg of their business class ticket to return to the US on the next available flight, and sometimes their illegal status was adjusted to legal and they were allowed to stay for the few days they needed for their business meetings. -- PBS (talk) 12:00, 23 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment Irrespective of the legality terms, "immigrant" and "emigrant" imply a specific national viewpoint, contrary to wp:WORLDWIDE unless qualified by "from Lower Nonexististan" or "to Paradisia", e.g. LeadSongDog come howl! 15:48, 23 August 2014 (UTC)
    I disagree take a look at this article (25 July 2014). Unless one is resident in one's domicile one is both an "immigrant" and "emigrant" and that is the general world wide view and is irrespective of if one's residency is legal within the territory in which one resides. If a person's domicile status is a political football (which is unusual) -- such as the descendants of refugees from what is now Israel currently residing in Gaza and the West Bank -- then the situation is more complicated. -- PBS (talk) 10:49, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
The use of the terms "immigrant" and "emigrant" obviously depends on context. If someone moves from Canada to the US... we would appropriately refer to them as being an "emigrant" when discussing their move in a Canadian context, and just as appropriately refer to them as an "immigrant" when discussing their move in a US context.
When someone leaves a nation, contrary to the laws of that nation (example, a defector from the Soviet Union, who left the USSR contrary to Soviet laws), we could accurately describe them as being an "illegal emigrant". However... while "illegal emigrant" might be an accurate description for someone who leaves a country against the laws of the country they are leaving, it would not qualify as a NAME for such a person. The term "illegal emigrant has not entered common usage in English language sources. Unlike the term "Illegal immigrant", which is extremely common, and is used as not just a description but as a name. Blueboar (talk) 11:57, 24 August 2014 (UTC) Blueboar (talk) 11:18, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment @CircleAdrian: can you please clarify if this proposal is meant to cover all national varieties of English or just articles written in American English. If it is for all varieties of English what evidence is there to support your suggested wording in each verity of English? -- PBS (talk) 10:20, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
    Good question... If "Illegal immigrant" is a purely US variety term... then it would be appropriate to limit its use to articles that relate to the US (and to use other appropriate terms in other contexts). Blueboar (talk) 12:08, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
    Illegal immigrant is common terminology in the UK media and bureaucracy. The conversational term tends to be refugee. ~ R.T.G 01:15, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
    @RTG: They are not synonymous. Refugees are people seeking refuge, typically from wars, oppressive governments or natural disaster; they often have the intent of returning home when the danger has passed. Immigrants are people who have entered a country with the intent of living there, having left their previous homeland for any reason. Illegal immigrants are immigrants who have not first obtained authorisation from the country that they are moving to. --Redrose64 (talk) 17:08, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
    @Redrose64:Perhaps. My intention was to respond to the assertion that "illegal immigrant" is a US-centric term, but that only seems so because of their issue with cross border migration, making it a more recurrent theme in their media. "Migration" means the moving from one place to another. "Immigration" means the intent to remain there permanently. "Illegal" means contrary to legislation. I wrote and deleted a toolong paragraph about the definition of the word refugee. Suffice to say though, my view is that we must rely questionable resources on every level, from every intention. The compromises are not always pertinent to the issue yet defended as such. I'm pessimistic, even in my support. ~ R.T.G 22:00, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose While the use of the term 'illegal immigrant' these days does often betray the writer's POV, so do the proposed replacements. And while most 'mainstream media' use other terms, that is not the case of all of them, and the disparity is not overwhelming. Until a term comes to fore which does not immediatly tend to betray the speakers POV, I oppose changing the guidelines regarding this term. Marteau (talk) 17:48, 23 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose "Illegal immigrant{s}" and "illegal alien(s)" are accurately descriptive. They are NPOV. I doubt anyone disputes the legality or not of such immigration. We don't need euphemisms or convoluted language. Maurreen (talk) 08:27, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment I'm going to go ahead & say that I think this proposal has failed — folks have posted several different disagreements about it, and I don't see any way that I could edit the proposal that would satisfy all of them. I had thought this might be something of a Sisyphean task, but wanted to try anyway. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. (Also, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with this proposal & these comments at this point — hopefully a more experienced editor can either tell me, or move/edit it themselves.) CircleAdrian (talk) 04:29, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support "Illegal immigrant" and "Illegal alien" get roughly 2950 hits combined in article space. I've heard "undocumented.." this or that more than a few times. I think there is a better word than undocumented still, but undocumented is definitely recognisable. What to combine it with I don't have several ideas and believe there are several more. Not certain to that part. Maybe someone can convince me in the comments above. But yes, genuine neutrality and objectivity is half of what I think this site is all about so add me, conditionally, to the one. (conditionally that it is well finalised whatever that might mean) ~ R.T.G 22:00, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment Did you know, that there is no wiki article on neutrality? It is a redirect to Country neutrality (international relations), a position toward war. ~ R.T.G 22:20, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose I feel that the proposal seeks to change the term due to the term's general use while referring to derogatory actions of that group. The term is not offensive in itself; rather, it is used so often in context with derogatory actions that the author of the proposal feels that the term has been tainted by the negative comments surrounding it. I also feel that this stems from some element of personal offense taken when the term is used: the reference to Justice Sotomayor, herself of Hispanic background, demonstrates that Hispanics as a group have come to be offended by a term that is used to refer to a small subset of that group. This appears to be an issue of personal pride rather than neutrality, and as stated frequently above, the term is used descriptively, accurately, and passively in the context of Wikipedia. The choice of the author to draw attention from the word "illegal" to "undocumented" is an apparent effort to portray the group in a more favorable light. Drawing attention away from the criminality of the immigrants more closely aligns the group with legal immigrants, which in turns furthers distrust of immigrants in general. The proposed shift in terminology would not alleviate any concern of ill intentions, but rather push the burden onto an undeserving group that already takes heat in society. StainlessSteelScorpion (talk) 03:57, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
    The law states that the accused be considered innocent until proven guilty. It also supports that an undefined number of undocumented visitors are legally acceptable, i.e., refugees and, strictly speaking, those for whom a claim to citizenship rights would be accepted. The wider implications can be described in detail, but that should not be up for debate here. The fact is that there are "illegals" who are not contrary to the law and Wikipedia policy could reflect that. If that is true, it must mean that current policy does not reflect it. Whatever the intricacies of the debate going on here, those are the simplest implicating facts, and to differ in further implication, you must first differ to the simplest implication. If our complicity with simple fact is held to imply something more afterwards, for something else, well, guess what, we didn't do that, until we have pandered to it in some way, and much as the debate wishes to suggest the opposite, once we pander to it, that is the point at which we had a part in doing it. The nature of legality is something which is finalised, not something which is prospective of finalisation. The reason the media says "illegal" is because they sensationalise information to draw your attention to the aspect they want you to consider, and that is very important, but it should have no place on Wikipedia content, except when describing the situation to exist. This policy could not affect direct quotation. The nature of quotation is irrelevant to its notability. It's already policy. it's just not defined yet. ~ R.T.G 12:10, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong support I'm a little stunned that this proposal is seeing this much opposition. Protonk (talk) 10:45, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Using the most commonly used term as per the naming standard should be what we do. There is no need to add complication, and push one biased point of view that differs from other points of view by enshrining it in a policy. Having such a policy or guide is non-neutral. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 12:02, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose The terms we use should be simple to understand.
    • illegal immigrant an immigrant whose immigration was or is against the immigration law of the country or territory they migrated to.
    • undocumented immigrant one who's immigration was or is not documented, or possibly one who has no documents. They may be legal or illegal. Similarly an immigrant can arrive with full documentation, be recorded by the immigration authorities and put in some kind of holding custody for deportation - documented but illegal.
    • unauthorized immigrant one who is not authorised by whom? Is authorisation the same as legality? It seems to me that in the United States it isn't. Moreover someone immigrating successfully on false documents is an illegal immigrant, but they have been authorized.
    • irregular immigrant just too vague.

All the best: Rich Farmbrough16:31, 1 September 2014 (UTC).

  • Oppose, stating that something is illegal shouldn't be considered bias. Some laws are fair and some are unfair. It's readers who may judge about that. --NaBUru38 (talk) 18:50, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose An illegal immigrant is someone who immigrated illegally. That phrase isn't judgmental and doesn't contain opinion. Jackmcbarn (talk) 21:43, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. More neutral terminology is needed. It's a common phrase, but that doesn't mean that we have to use it on Wikipedia. We don't say that someone who violates copyright is an "illegal copier"; likewise, we should avoid demonizing those who immigrate, regardless of the legality. I can't wait for "illegal walker", "illegal entrepreneur", and "illegal spitter" to become commonplace. It will make the whole debate much more amusing. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 00:34, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose, Wikipedia is not the place to right great wrongs. to limit the wording that reliable sources may use to describe an individual's immigration status flies in the face of WP:VER, if reliable sources say that the subject is an illegal alien or undocumented immigrant so be it. My feeling is that such terms should be quoted and as with quoted text, attributed to the source.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 22:49, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Alas, support in principle but I oppose euphemisms like "irregular immigrant". I would prefer to reword sentences to refer to the act as being illegal. Red Slash 02:52, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment Has anyone noticed that most of the people called this in the USA are not really immigrants at all. They are here to work for a while and send money home to their families. (I am cool with this and them BTW.) They have no intention of staying here, much less becoming Americans. BayShrimp (talk) 00:52, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Prod then speedy[edit]

I was under the impression that, in general an article that had been prodded and de-prodded, could not subsequently be speedied. Was I wrong? If not where its the policy/guideline? All the best: Rich Farmbrough17:13, 1 September 2014 (UTC).

There's nothing at WP:DELETE, WP:CSD or WP:PROD that says that an article that has been prodded and de-prodded, cannot subsequently be speedied. However, an article that has been prodded and de-prodded cannot then be prodded again. If any of the speedy deletion criteria apply, one or more of those may be used at any time, even if a prodded article's seven-day grace period is not yet over. --Redrose64 (talk) 18:50, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
Yeah... think of an article that has multiple CSD issues. Someone prods, listing just one of them... that issue is addressed and thus the article is (correctly) de-prodded... yet there are still those other issues (not listed) that might result in a speedy. Blueboar (talk) 20:51, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
A Prod article cant be sent to speedy as " PROD is a fallback for deletion proposals that do not meet the strict criteria for speedy deletion." first lines on Wikipedia:Proposed_deletion. By using prod this user already gave notice that speedy rules dont apply on the article. Mion (talk) 06:27, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
Nope. If an article meets one of the CSD criteria, then it can be speedy deleted whether or not it has previously been prodded. Reyk YO! 06:49, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
That would be absurd, a second user de-prodded it, so 2 contributors stepped into discussion, the prodder would evade discussion with the de-prodder by shortcutting to try to have a 50% chance on a consenting admin with speedy. The only logical route would be AFD next so more users can bring up arguments. Mion (talk) 06:55, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
Suppose someone prods an article for some reason or other and the article's creator removes the prod. If I show up later and discover the article is a copyright violation or that the article creator is the sockpuppet of a banned user, I can still speedy that article accordingly. Or if it's a re-creation of an article deleted at AfD- PROD doesn't apply at all since it's previously been at AfD but I can still speedy it per WP:G4. Reyk YO! 07:01, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes, good point Reyk, I understand the need for a few categories in speedy, in this case the discussion is about a clear case Copyright and edit violations, maybe what is relevant tot the discussion, are PROD's regulary checked on Speedy cases and automaticly removed ? Mion (talk) 07:30, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
I think the best way to go around the speedy rights for admins is to focus on the user that applied PROD in the first place. Adding on WP:PROD on the 3th line, After an article gets de-prodded, the user that applied PROD on the article can only use WP:AFD, if the PROD was a mistake leave a message on WP:ANI. As such all except the prodder keep the speedy rights and the prodder is forced into discussion on AFD. Mion (talk) 08:02, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
IMO this would be best resolved by taking the entire PROD process and guidelines and depositing them directly in the trash can. Protonk (talk) 20:20, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
There's no such rule. A PROD has no effect on later speedies. Jackmcbarn (talk) 20:46, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
I'd tend to agree, with the addition that admins should strongly consider sending it to AfD if the CSD is for the same issue as the prod, and a neutral third editor deprodded. So if someone prodded an article for notability, and a neutral editor disputed that prod, and its then nominated under A7 it could be a problem, and probably should go to AfD. On the other hand if its a valid G12 tag, the previous prod removal doesn't matter. Monty845 21:21, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
The problem there is that someone could prod and have their sockpuppet deprod to block a valid CSD. Since CSD are intended to be very obvious things, this whole thing probably isn't worth worrying about. Anomie 23:24, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
While there are some situations where skipping a CSD may be a good idea. For example if Person A prods article as non notable, neural editor B removes it thinking it might be it would make sense to skip A7 since it has a lower bar than notability I don't believe though that there should be firm rule due to the fact that it can be manipulated. The creator could remove the prod themselves. They could also prod their own article with a clearly irrelevant rational, wait for the inevitable removal as a rational to prevent a CSD. In the end some common sense should apply.-- (talk) 03:05, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Prod and speedy have completely different criteria, so they can be done in either order. pbp 05:07, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
    • The fact that one user objects to deletion doesn't mean that it doesn't fall under one of our criteria for speedy deletion; the fact that PROD failed doesn't mean it can't be speedied. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 10:28, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Protonk, As our userbase is shrinking [14] there is a very good chance that if a PROD is added it wont be noticed for a week by other regular editors, if we have 3000 wikipedians with more than 5 edits and each has 1000 pages on the watchlist that would make 3 million, leaving 1,5 million pages not followed, hence the page would be deleted without discussion (POV). Its a problem we didn't have in the past as we had enough editors with enough pages on follow. As we cant expect that the WMF and the chapters change their imago on the short term we better get ready to clean out procedures so it can be handled better with less people. I'm for removing PROD from the procedures Mion (talk) 12:07, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure that's entirely correct: the administrator reviewing the PROD request has to make an assessment whether or not to delete, and it's not an automatic delete just because there's a PROD tag on the article. I'm supposedly a notorious deletionist and even I have kept PRODded articles. Risker (talk) 14:05, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Except for CSD when an article violates our groundrules the role of admin is to judge brought up arguments by the community as a 3th person, not to act as a second person, bringin in own POV. (not saying admins are not doing their best).Mion (talk) 15:32, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
  • IMO, this would fall under the rules of common sense. CSD is intended for cases that are unambiguous fails of policy. Prod is intended for uncontroversial deletions. In most circumstances, an article that is deprodded is neither unambiguous nor uncontroversial and should go to AFD. Common sense also dictates that there would be exceptions - the most obvious to me would be a scenario someone prods an article on something like notability grounds but misses that the content is a copyvio. In that case, CSD would clearly apply even after a prod. Resolute 19:19, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I would prefer to see CSD applied a lot more carefully. One popular CSD criterion seems to be A1, "no context". I have seen this used when the admin simply did not understand the article, possibly because it was overly technical, but certainly without the requisite attempt to find further information. Deltahedron (talk) 19:48, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Get Rid of PROD[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Consensus appears to overwhelmingly in opposition to this proposal. Although some supporters believe that PROD has is drawbacks, the opposers appear to believe that these are outweighed by the simplicity of the process and the burden that would be placed on AfD were PROD to be scrapped. Should further discussion about possible flaws in the PROD process be desired, I recommend starting a new thread at WT:PROD. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 19:22, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

On the one hand, I agree that, in general, PROD is an unnecessary complication when we have speedy for special cases and AFD for everything. I would like to get rid of PROD, with one exception. How would we deal with unsourced BLPs, which currently can be PRODed? I don't want to see them speedied, because the seven-day period is useful to allow time for sources to be found. I don't want them sent to AFD, which would invite POV warriors and sockpuppets. Can we get rid of PROD except for special cases such as unsourced BLPs? Robert McClenon (talk) 14:18, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Unsourced BLPs don't get prodded: they get WP:BLPPRODded, which is not the same. But the main reason for PROD existing is so that we don't have to have a tiresome discussion for deletion candidates for which no CSD criterion applies yet are clearly uncontroversial. --Redrose64 (talk) 14:25, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
That's the problem. Do we really want a lot more AfDs? At least with a PROD deletion an article can be easily recreated. I can see the reasoning behind getting rid of PRODs but we need to consider the knockon effects. Dougweller (talk) 14:29, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
I disagree with this position; PROD is intended to be a lightweight method of getting rid of non-encyclopedic content that doesn't quite meet SPEEDY level. Before contemplating elimination of this process, I'd want to see some statistical evidence outlining the frequency of deletion through the various processes, and whether or not the PROD process is working as intended. In other words, I'd want to see some hard evidence that PROD is failing before I'd want to eliminate it. AFD has a hard enough time gathering sufficient commenters to develop a consensus (there are just too many AFDs that have to be extended due to lack of comment) to want to expand its workload without clearcut evidence that other processes are actively failing to work. Risker (talk) 14:31, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
The whole point of PROD is to deal with articles that have a snowballs chance in hell of surviving at AfD, thus lightening the load on AfD in general. If an AfD received unanimous support for deletion, then it was a likely candidate for the PROD to begin with. —Farix (t | c) 14:33, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
But in practice PROD is used on articles that have been around for years and as the PRODDER thinks the article is not notable enough the PROD is used to prevent discussion on AFD. Mion (talk) 14:53, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't see how PROD prevents discussion on AfD. If a person honestly thinks that an article should go to AfD instead, then they can remove the PROD. Of course, explaining why they think the article should go to AfD instead of PROD is a different matter because that type of action could be interpreted as being WP:POINTY. —Farix (t | c) 21:51, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Remove PROD as an option - Given that AFDs have to generally be relisted due to lack of participation, do you really think that PROD (a nom and admin by definition) is a better option? Nothing of WP:BEFORE and very little scruntiny by those most familiar with a subject. I just removed 5 PRODs because the 5 articles should be merged together, but they were all likely to be deleted individually. Also, PRODs do not give room for merging - a much better option for Wikipedia. Speedy and AFD is all Wikipedia needs, there does not need to be some third option to reduce transparency and "speed-up" a deletion when even AFD nominations routinely do not get comments until their 2nd listing. ChrisGualtieri (talk) 15:03, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes please. BLPPROD is fine. It's a good tool for that specific need. PROD in general is largely useless. I don't have data on this (working on that ATM) but I suspect that a large number of PRODded articles which are deprodded are eventually deleted by other means. As for articles which aren't deleted, what have we really accomplished by PRODding them? The template looks the same as an AfD template and the semantic difference between "proposed for deletion" and "nominated for deletion" is often lost on new users, so an article with a prod tag looks just as much like a rejection of contributions as an AfD tag. And for articles which really ought to be deleted (or attract enough attention to be sent to AfD eventually) removing a PROD tag to have it replaced with an AfD tag can be baffling to new users. They've just defended their article against deletion only to see it put into the queue for a different kind of deletion.
  • NOTBURO should mean something here. We don't need two largely similar processes for deletion. We especially don't need them if the justification is (largely) that they lessen the load on extant internal processes. Let's have one process for deletion discussions and one for speedy deletions instead. Protonk (talk) 15:21, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose: PROD has its uses. pbp 15:51, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
  • On thing to bear in mind is that it is a lot easier for administrators to assess and manage PRODs than it is AFDs. There are two reasons for it: usually the matter is simpler to assess, and more importantly it does not require nearly as much work or any fancy scripts to do. (I don't close AFDs because it requires either a script or 10-15 minutes of finding all the right places to post notices, etc.) If PROD was to be declared redundant, then there needs to be some major, major simplification in the closing of AFDs. The current process is absurd. Risker (talk) 16:30, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Just curious, these 2 scripts for AFD User:Mr.Z-man/closeAFD and User:Mr.Z-man/hideClosedAFD ? Mion (talk) 18:16, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Those are two; there are others, as well, I believe. As someone who often works on slower and/or otherwise restricted computers, the more scripts I have the more likely I'll have serious problems doing almost anything. Something built into the admin bit or built into the templates (and not using a lot of javascript) would be better. Perhaps this would bear research into cross-wiki deletion processes and the tools/steps that are used. Risker (talk) 18:46, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
The absurdity of the AfD process (and I agree it's a bit absurd) shouldn't prevent us from making the deletion process as a whole simpler. Protonk (talk) 18:41, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree. Risker (talk) 18:46, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
hideClosedAFD script could be a simple tab under Preferences/Gadgets on/of that shows an extra tab on top of the article show/hide closed discussions, might be usefull on other pages as well. (all where discussions are closed). closeAFD can be fully done by a bot with an admin bit, all you need to do is close the discussion with the result and let the bot do the rest, the bot can check A if the discussion is closed AND B if the name of the closer is on the admin list, once it is finished it can report in the closed discussion that it finished its tasks. Mion (talk) 19:17, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. PROD is not a complication; it's a simplification. It allows bad articles to be deleted with less fuss and fewer acronym-based arguments. The only downside of that is that good articles might get clobbered too, but this is not very likely — if anyone is actively watching the article, they can simply de-prod it, and in the event that a mistake does happen, it can be reversed easily with no need for a DRV. I really think PROD stands almost alone in this space as a non-bureaucratic, non-lawyerlike practical solution, with very low harm potential. --Trovatore (talk) 19:01, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
"if anyone is actively watching the article" was exactly one of the main problems. Mion (talk) 19:17, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Quite frankly, if an article is not being actively watched, it probably should be deleted. I know it's not formally a deletion criterion, but that's kind of the point. Wikipedia has huge amounts of cold dark matter; PROD is the best process I know of for cleaning it up. --Trovatore (talk) 19:36, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
You are really suggesting to delete 1.5 million articles, well the total amount of notable article would be 90 million, that leaves 87 million unwatched pages, go ahead, delete them all. Mion (talk) 19:51, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Having a little trouble following your math there, Mion. Apparently there are currently 4.6M articles. You think a third of them are not actively maintained? Seems unlikely but I haven't tried to check. Then I guess you're subtracting that and assuming that there are a total of 3M articles that are ever going to be maintained, and subtracting that from 90M?
I don't really know where you get the 90M figure, but let's suppose it's accurate. Do you really want 87M unwatched articles floating around, with no one taking care of them? I don't really care whether the topics are "notable" or not; I think that's a recipe for disaster in terms of WP's reputation. (Just the same, if no one can be arsed to even put an article on a watchlist, then the chance that it's "notable" seems to me not that great.) --Trovatore (talk) 21:38, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
    • (edit conflict) The problem is very little of that is actually true or meaningful. The goals of PROD are laudable. It's meant to be an easy-come, easy-go means to delete pages which potentially nobody is interested in. Any prod tag can be removed by any editor and a prod can be uncontroversially reversed by any admin (and we do occasionally get PROD requests at WP:REFUND). That's all great, but it speaks mainly to the aim of the process and not its effects. In reality, editors don't understand that they can contest proposed deletions and their immediate reaction to deletion isn't "oh great, I can reverse this easily". More often it's the same reaction we see with deletion through any other process. As many restoration requests for PRODded articles we get on REFUND, I'd say we get half as many requests to "restore" an article which is proposed for deletion but not yet deleted. some of those requests are for articles which could've (and in some cases should've) been sent to AfD first, leaving admins working on refund in the unenviable position of restoring the article then nominating it for deletion, finally circling back to inform the editor (who now likely has more than a few templated messages about both deletion processes) that while their article is no longer "proposed for deletion" it is now "nominated for deletion". That process is not a model of simplicity, in my mind it borders on the Gilliamesque. The whole affair would be simpler if there were one process to summarily delete an article (CSD, broadly) and another to delete it with some deliberation (AfD). And I think we overstate how easy and process-free PRODding/dePRODding an article can be because we're all quite familiar with the project, but I'd further submit that a process which deletes an article in a matter that looks binding to a new editor but isn't is as close to the definition of bureaucratic formality as we're likely to see on Wikipedia. Protonk (talk) 19:18, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
      • You know, there's always going to be a learning curve. Doesn't the PROD tag say you can just remove it? How much hand-holding are we going to do? --Trovatore (talk) 19:36, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
        Amen to that. See my comment below. BethNaught (talk) 19:44, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose per Farix, the whole point of a PROD is so that deletions have the chance to improve without being deleted. AfDs take time unless an article absolutely looks like it needs to be deleted PROD should be the first choice. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 19:34, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose: PROD fills a gap in the deletion process between speedy and AfD, simplifying the process for uncontroversial cases not meeting CSD by removing the need for community discussion which would only have been pointless yea-saying instead of debate. The PROD template states: "You may remove this message if you improve the article or otherwise object to deletion for any reason" (with original emphasis). If that sentence is too difficult for someone to understand... well, come to your own conclusions. BethNaught (talk) 19:43, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Without PROD, the use of CSD will expand into the gap, and that means more articles deleted by admins effectively on their own personal sayso. Deltahedron (talk) 19:53, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I devote much of my time on Wikipedia to monitoring the prod lists for articles that shouldn't be there. I'd guess that, on average, I identify about one article per day that (in my opinion) shouldn't have been prodded, usually either because it's a notable topic or because it has been through the prod or AfD process before and is therefore ineligible for prod. With a little research and sourcing effort, the great majority of the articles that I deprod as notable end up surviving. But that leaves dozens of articles every day that (as far as I can tell) have been properly targeted by the prod process, and that can be appropriately disposed of in summary fashion. In summary: I would like to see fewer misuses of prod, and more compliance with WP:BEFORE. I agree that CSD should be more carefully used. But we don't need 50 or 100 more AfDs every day; the AfD boards are already choking. --Arxiloxos (talk) 23:25, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - PROD is fills an important gap. It asks the question: Does anyone disagree that this article doesn't belong in the encyclopedia? If anyone cares, the article is deprodded and either left alone, improved, or nominated for AfD. PROD provides a useful mechanism for getting a second opinion without the formality of AfD. I mostly use it when patrolling the back (oldest entries) of the new pages queue, where one occasionally finds poorly-written, poorly-sourced article about non-notable subjects that were created by SPAs who never make any other edits.- MrX 01:37, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Given the lack of participation at AfD these days, and the increasing backlog of very poor and unsuitable articles, some mechanism for cleaning up the mess is necessary. In fact, not so long ago, there was consensus that AfDs with no participation should be closed as uncontested PRODs. That suggests that the PROD process works well. Reyk YO! 04:46, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Support WP:PROD is supposed to be for "uncontroversial deletion" and "must only be used if no opposition is to be expected". The process is routinely abused by new page patrollers, who use it when they don't like a new page but can't think of a speedy deletion criterion. For a recent example, see Claude Picasso which was prodded within 5 minutes of its creation. Prodding an article when it has just been created in good faith seems uncivil and is not what the process was meant for. Using the process to get rid of old pages which nobody is watching at the time also seems quite disruptive. Wikipedia has millions of articles now and the number of volunteers to keep an eye on them is dwindling. I patrol CAT:ALLPROD but there's always hundreds of pages there and so it's too time-consuming to check them all. The deletion process is meant to be difficult and so we should not allow pages to be removed without any oversight. Andrew (talk) 10:01, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
    If they're prodding after five minutes, not only are they going against the advice given right at the top of Special:NewPages to patrol from the back, they're also being WP:BITEy. It's a failure of the person doing the patrolling, not a failure of the PROD process. --Redrose64 (talk) 12:19, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Exactly, we should not remove the prod process just because some people misuse it anymore than hammers and knives should be banned because some people use them as weapons.-- (talk) 23:17, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The concern that unwatched articles are wrongly deleted by PROD presumes the deleting admin blindly follows an obligatory deletion timetable. This is an absurd premise; an attempt at fixing a problem that does not exist.—John Cline (talk) 05:44, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose If we get rid of PRODs, the only deletion avenue left when none of the CSD criteria apply will be AfD. There are presently concerns at Wikipedia talk:Articles for deletion#Daily AfD pages are getting too long that the sheer number of AfDs is causing the AfD system to break down, because technical limitations mean that some discussions are not being shown on the daily pages. No PRODs means more AFDs, and inevitably the limitations will be reached sooner. --Redrose64 (talk) 08:46, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose unless the CSD criteria are radically expanded to cover most of what's PRODded today, which I'm not convinced is the ideal solution anyway. There's always a second pair of eyes, since even if an admin placed the PROD, that admin should not then also perform the delete; someone else should examine it. If that admin thinks the article is salvageable, they can always dispute and remove the PROD, and I've done exactly that myself when reviewing expired PRODs. If we just eliminate PROD with no replacement, AfD will become flooded with obvious cases, and I don't see the benefit in that. Most AfDs have too little participation as it is, and we should save that for the complex and contested cases. For the simple cases that technically can't be speedied but uncontroversially should be deleted, i.e., a drive-by posting of an essay or opinion piece or an article on software currently used by three people, PROD fills a real need and keeps the clutter off AfD. Seraphimblade Talk to me 09:09, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - given the volume of low-participation AfDs, more PRODs are needed. ansh666 19:31, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


The request for metrics is a good idea. Do we have metrics on how many CSD, PROD, and AFD nominations there are in a typical month (or other period), and how many CSD, PROD, and AFD deletions there are in the same month? (I know that most CSD and PROD nominations do result in deletion, but there are a few CSD and PROD nominations cancelled.) It would be useful to see CSD broken down by category, since some of the article categories are categories that could alternately be PROD or AFD, and some of them are janitorial (requests for an admin with a mop). Robert McClenon (talk) 15:18, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

  • Working on this. I don't think I'll be able to give total statistics, but I plan to gather suitably large representative samples of deleted articles and see how widely PROD is used and where de-prodded articles are deleted under another process. I don't have db access so this will take a little bit, probably a few days to a week. Protonk (talk) 18:57, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

An important point seems to be being missed here[edit]

If one reads the instructions, it should be apparent that PROD is a non-admin process, while SPEEDY is an admin process. Or to put it another way, PROD is a way to tag an article for an admin to do a speedy on it. Therefore "get rid of PROD" means "a non-admin user has to do everything through AFD" and "no speedy after de-PROD" means "if an admin finds something before anyone objects, he can just speedy it; but if a non-admin tags an article and is rebuffed, it cannot be speedied." Mangoe (talk) 19:54, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Speedy deletion tags may be placed by anybody, not just by admins, just as {{subst:prod}} may be placed by anybody. CSD tags, once placed, are not binding: a non-admin may remove a CSD template if the deletion criterion is inapplicable, just as anybody may contest a PROD. The difference is that if anybody demonstrates that the original criterion was applicable, the CSD tag may be re-added; a {{proposed deletion/dated}}, once removed, cannot be re-added.
As regards "no speedy after de-PROD", I'm pretty sure that at the top of this thread it was made clear that there was no such rule. --Redrose64 (talk) 20:34, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Guideline for crime victims of world wide significance[edit]

I would like a discussion on creating a guideline, or editing an existing guideline(s) to cover Notability and/or Non Notability of individuals thrust into the public's conscious due to tragic circumstances of national and or world wide importance. Most guidelines reference notability as been sought after through being a celebrity or have a positive spin such as "won the lottery" or "sporting event" but some individuals are thrust into the spotlight and become notable due to national tragedy. Examples of such would be a victim of crime, murder victim, hostage, kidnapping, abduction.

  1. This guideline should address whether or not being a victim warrants the victim to have their own biography page or whether or not they should instead be referenced in related content.
    Some say CRIME covers this, but it doesn't include allowing suppression by the oversight team. It just states its okay, it can go here or there. It should address when it is NOT OK to ever even vaguely reference its existence examples of this would be people in life endagering situations, and also celebrity nude photos leaked due to a crime being committed.
  2. The guideline should address naming the individual against family wishes when the name of the victim has been reported world wide.
    Right now notability is established when there are plenty of references, and somebody warrants their own biography page, or can be referenced in related content. It doesnt discuss compliance to being served with a government request to not name somebody when their name is widely available in the public domain.
  3. The guideline should address censorship on Wikipedia/naming the individual when one country doesn't want the name of the victim released and another country doesn't have that same issue.
    The Oversight team guidelines referenced should include a reference to complying with government requests to suppress names. Citing "Intentioanlly SUpressed" and referencing a court order. Does that mean a court order exists between 2 parties about an event that WIkipedia is neutral and not personally involved in that makes it private, but the news is going to mention it anyways, ....or does that mean Wikipedia was served the order and respects the order.
  4. This could also take place through editing existing guidelines but including verbiage to better reflect the above scenarios.
  5. Clarify here: that suppression includes removing information due to wikipedia being served with a government request and/or respecting requests from foreign nations, and/or out of concerns of human safety.MeropeRiddle (talk) 19:49, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

I have edited this to better clarify the purpose of my discussion hereMeropeRiddle (talk) 15:17, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

I have now further edited the above to further clarify the purpose of my discussion. The goal isn't to allow the material, the goal is to better clarify the guidelines for not allowing and also total suppression, because currently, none of the existing guidelines are very clear.MeropeRiddle (talk) 19:31, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

Examples of such would be being an unwilling victim to a horrific crime such as a prisoner of war, or kidnapping, or abduction.

In light of recent events involving ISIS and Syria, articles have been created for James Foley (journalist) and Steven Sotloff. In good faith I created <redacted> an article about a person who was identified in (Note: content edited by Risker (talk)) the Sotloff video. Unbeknownst to me, his family had requested his name not be used in the news. Depsite his families request, his name was used in articles from Guardian, Washington Post, and, well...his name is literally all over the news. I would like a clearly define policy in regards to notability, and respecting a family's wish to keep their family member's name out of the news. (A google search of the unique name was linked to referencing literally thousands of articles) One article I will refrain from linking to had over 35,0000 views. The Guardian wrote, "Shortly after the film was released the British government asked the media to withhold <redacted> identity, at the request of his family, but within minutes his name was being published widely online by international news organisations such as the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Sydney Morning Herald." So the request was of the family, and despite that request, his name is all over the news anyways. This family request was brought up in the Talk page of the article today, and the article was submitted for afd, but instead was immediately deleted without any consensus being reached. The immediate deletion was inappropriate considering the notability, and also, I foresee this being a continuing issue with ISIS and hostages, and I think there should be a firm policy in place regarding how to handle this in the future. Especially in regards to when a family member requests a name not be mentioned in their country's newspapers, and also, when the newspapers in that country and the entire world, print the name anyways.MeropeRiddle (talk) 04:46, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

MeropeRiddle, please excuse the intrusion, but I have redacted the name above in keeping with all of the other deletions/suppressions, and modified the content slightly so that the meaning of your post remains intact. I believe the questions you ask are valid and important, and that we as a community should discuss them. Nonetheless, this page is, as best I can tell, google-searchable, so the deletions/suppressions are internally consistent. Risker (talk) 04:58, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
  • This is a particularly difficult question. The hostage in question does not have notability other than for the fact that he has been identified as a hostage under threat of death and was named in a video by the hostage-takers; it is practically the definition of BLP1E. Most hostages and kidnap victims are similarly non-notable individuals, and the fact of being a hostage of any type is not in itself inherently notable; in almost all cases, there is significant risk to the well-being, if not the life, of the "article subject". Nonetheless, I understand MeropeRiddle's point that in this specific case the hostage has been widely identified by reliable sources. There are ways to get around this without specifically identifying this particular individual; creating and/or expanding existing articles about hostage taking by ISIS, where he would not need to be directly named (but a link to a reliable source would be appropriate), for example, but they remain somewhat awkward. I will probably expand further on this, but I think it worthwhile to consider something probably all of our mothers said to us at some point in our lives: just because someone else does something doesn't make it okay for you/us to do it. (Well, my mother used to say it as "just because someone else is stupid enough to jump off a cliff doesn't mean you have to be too", but I think my way is a bit nicer...) Risker (talk) 05:12, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
With respect to that, there were conversations taking place in regards to moving the article to something more appropriate such as [[The Kidnapping of <name>}} or [[The abduction of <name>]]. However, somebody "IAR" and the article was immediately deleted and also completely scrubbed off of record of Wikipedia. You can't even see the AFD discussion. I am pretty new to the site, and found that bizarre. So, I am interested in a policy in regards to articles on people who are thrust into the entire world's public conscious due to unfortunate circumstances and whose family doesn't want their name in the news, but whose names is in the news anyways. This future policy may or may not include some kind of reference to interests of national security, and how to handle/respect different country's wishes. If somebody in the UK doesn't want something, vs the US posting it all over the place. I would have had no issue with the information being moved somewhere else, but whoever deleted it, and totally scrubbed it off the site left me with the impression that it shouldn't be done...which is why I thought some kind of guideline should be established.MeropeRiddle (talk) 05:27, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
MeropeRiddle, I am really sorry that you have been left with this impression, although I can completely understand how you arrived at it. I don't think that you or anyone else should be "blamed" for anything here; certainly the fact of hostage-taking by ISIS is notable, and even if we were all to agree with the premise that hostages aren't inherently notable, this is an edge case. The quality of the article was fine, and I think sensitivity was being shown. Risker (talk) 05:37, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) I am highly sympathetic, Merope, and generally always default towards openness, since I am somewhat biased towards inclusionism. But if the family has asked the the hostage's name be withheld, we should probably abide by their wishes in the near term, especially considering by WP:NOTNEWS and WP:NTEMP, we can and probably should wait when steps are being taken by the family to mitigate the long-term notability of their deceased relative. VanIsaacWScont 05:30, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Erm, not deceased, at least not to our knowledge... Risker (talk) 05:37, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Please know, that I am learning here, and I appreciate this conversation. I was hoping that there would be a conversation then about having a guideline established of some kind that would make this process easier for all users to understand in the future. Especially when somebody is thrust into a worldwide spotlight due to extremely unfortunate circumstances / victim to a crime that the nation and/or entire world is aware of. And also, when a family member or country doesn't want a name reported, but it is anyways. A lot of these things reference stuff like "sporting event" "won the lottery" "celebrity", but there should be some kind of reference to notability or non-notability due to being thrust into public conscious (possibly everybody in the world) due to extremely unfortunate circumstances (the opposite of winning the lottery) and also a guideline for deletion, and speedy deletion with a bonus super scrub in regards to respecting a family member's request to not have a name public or in the interest of national security etc.MeropeRiddle (talk) 05:59, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia cannot have a set of predefined rules that cover all situations, however, there are principles of avoiding harm evident in WP:BLP. Anyone can edit, and what they write will be near the top of any Google search, so it is important that there be a good reason to write about a topic like this. At Wikipedia, "good reason" refers to encyclopedic content. Of course many people are interested in hostages held in the horrifying circumstances under discussion, but is there anything of encyclopedic value that can be said? My view is that there is practically nothing of value to write at the moment—anyone wanting the who-when-where can use any news outlet, but after two sentences, an article would fallback on conjecture from the daily news. Johnuniq (talk) 08:12, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
The situation is not that specific, if family doesn't want a name to be published, but the name has been widely published in news outlets world wide should Wikipedia be suppressing the name, when there is no reason to do so. WIkipedia should remain neutral. The name has been reported. If the notability isn't large enough to have a page dedicated to the individual that is one thing, but there is no compelling reason to continue to edit/supress the information as additional/supplementary information in related articles and/or having an article specific to the event, as has taken place with other individuals related to the situation. If there were more to the situation, i.e. it is a matter of national security, and the name was never reported that would be one thing. But it is the family's reqeust, and despite that request the name was reported in British news by a British reporter, and also reported world wide. Where does Wikipedia draw the line with family requests vs what has already been reported world wide? And if Wikipedia respects family requests despite world wide notability, there should be a guideline. If wikipedia suppresses information due to national security threats, there should be a guideline, and there should be a guideline when one country doesn't want something reported, but may be reported in other countries. Google indicates 16,900 news articles with this unique name. This particular situation is going against: Again, if the individual didn't warrant his own article, that is one thing, but there is no reason to continue to scrub the name from everywhere. It's of world wide significance. It is obviously being censored right here.MeropeRiddle (talk) 14:13, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

A few things: 1. Wikipedia shouldn't have a policy on every situation. 2. Even if we did have a policy on this, the likely action in future cases would be an admin or oversighter ignoring that rule with the aim of protecting the subject. 3. When that does happen and the action conflicts with an extant policy, we'll get caught up in a big fight over whether or not IAR applies to this rule or note. 4. Wikipedia does not have good practices to govern those sort of discussions so they tend to turn into shouting fests. That said, I'm skeptical of cases like this becoming common editorial practice because invoking real world harm to justify removal of non-offending content (i.e. that which doesn't violate BLP or any other content policy) is a habit which tends to expand over time. But a policy won't resolve the issue. Protonk (talk) 14:28, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

But in that case, couldn't an existing guideline be edited? All references to notability have a positive spin "won the lottery" etc. There should be some kind of reference somewhere to Notability or Wikipedia's encyclopediatric view of Non Notability when the individual was unwillingly thrust into public conscious due to national tragedy/war/being victim to a crime or world wide importance. Konerak Sinthasomphone was a victim of an absolutely horrific crime and was a child and articles reference his name. If his mother said she didn't want her son's name reported, would Wikipedia censor all references? People don't always choose to become notable, but become victim to a crime that brings them notability, and there should be some kind of policy or guideline in place to reference that. Perhaps I shouldn't have made the title of my request hostage specific?

Furthermore according to @WikipediaTrends the censored article had traffic increased to it by +3,852,700% That's huge, and should be an indicator of its importance and significance in this.MeropeRiddle (talk) 14:52, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

  • @MeropeRiddle: That section title does not improve things. Can you change it back to something short, descriptive and neutral? Protonk (talk) 14:57, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
I hope I did a better job of better clarification, please tell me if this is more appropriateMeropeRiddle (talk) 15:17, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
How about just "articles on kidnapping victims"? Protonk (talk) 15:24, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Well my thought with just saying "kidnapping" is that there is local interest in a local kidnapping, and there is world wide interest in a hostage situation. There are family disputes that result in kidnappings being reported and his is bigger than that. My concern was more in regards to people forced into notability due to unfortunate circumstances/crimes as opposed to happy/positive examples. All examples cited in all the wiki stuff are pretty happy reasons i.e. "won the lottery!" but becoming notable due to a crime that the entire world is watching is the opposite. And nonnotability to the point of scrubbing the entire site could be viewed as reasonable if there was a guideline that reflected consensus. But the current guideline of not censoring, isn't matching the actions that are taking place. Either the site censors or it doesn't. It if censors, there really should be guidelines in place for why it does, and if it does it is because somebody is an unwilling victim of a crime of world wide significance and national security, it could be stated as simply as such. If is more the case of respecting the family of a living individual who is victim to a crime of world wide significance, it could potentially be more appropriate to allow the circumstance to be referenced in related content in more generic terms as opposed to literally scrubbing the entire site of all conversation about it. For example instead of somebody going in and removing enormous amounts of content in a related article about a related individual, he article could have been edited to reference that he is a "man from <insert region> as other news articles have done. But going into an article and undoing an entire day to scrub an article seems above and beyond, and seems to be censoring, when the current guidelines state that wikipedia does not. At this point wikipedia should really not ever say that it does not censor, because it is now no longer truthful. If censoring is something that it needs to do, then it is what it is, and there should be guidelines in place for when it is appropriate.MeropeRiddle (talk) 15:43, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
MeropeRiddle - how do you distinguish between removal or suppression of material for BLP or other policy reasons and censorship? Or even deletion of articles? I've seen all of these called censorship, and I'm having a hard time understanding how you differentiate. Dougweller (talk) 16:55, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Censorship in this case begins with an extreme case of what Wikipedia calls "WP:Meatpuppetry". (I can't believe people here make that a word) Some guy stands up and says we don't want the media to cover this, and ta-da, there is a sudden rush to remove the name without consideration of the actual details of BLP policy. Censorship is proved, however, by the deletion of policy conversations from on high via "oversight", a privilege that would never be extended to some random kid who we're trying to be sensitive about. You cannot throw aside normal policy, normal formats to discuss policy, and impose a solution from on high, then tell us this is "normal BLP". Wnt (talk) 17:16, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
As we are not a newspaper or an outlet for sensational news, we are using editoral judgement and ethics to go above what more mainstream sources do, and have decided to avoid using the name until the family says it is okay. We've done this in the past (until recently, the Star Wars Kid , though his name known from RSs, withheld his name until he actually admitted to this), it makes sense to continue now. It is not censorship because you're free to write this at any other site, just not Wikipedia. --MASEM (t) 18:19, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
I think we need to begin documenting the mechanisms by which this material has been suppressed. My understanding is that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued the request that the name not be printed (I could use a more specific statement than [15]). This is technically different from the DA Notice committee, which has representatives from that and other government offices and is more ordinarily credited with suppressing news stories.[16] The DA notices are nominally voluntary, but the cases I read about rarely sound particularly voluntary to me. They are also nominally fixed in advance, not changing in response to events, but apparently they are "called attention to" pretty frequently as a means of banning coverage of events. Now the question is, first, can we get clear confirmation, not just people spouting off on Twitter, that the DA notice system was used to suppress the names of the persons kidnapped? (And the Foley video which named the next person murdered?). Lastly, can we track the path to this suppression and see whether specific persons at Wikipedia have been used to implement D-notices repeatedly? (I know, I know, "The blank space on the front page of our fine newspaper is not censorship, because you are perfectly free to look for some underground samizdat that might publish such nonsense." uh huh uh huh.) Wnt (talk) 18:58, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I would start off by saying that the (now-changed) title of this section remains misleading. "Worldwide significance" is not the same thing as "getting a pile of media attention", and it is a highly subjective perspective. There are serious questions about whether any individual victim of a hostage-taking and killing group is notable by him- or herself. In some cases, the answer is definitely yes, and in others, probably yes. In most cases, the answer is "no" or "definitely no", and a lot of the time the hostages aren't considered notable because there are few or no English language sources. Given the thousands who have been taken hostage and/or killed by the subject organization, it's pretty hard to say that any of their victims is notable just because they were a victim, and I'd suggest that it almost borders on the culturally imperialistic to say that there is more "worldwide significance" when a non-notable person from English Speaking Country A is taken hostage than the hostage-taking of someone who resides in the Non English Speaking Target Country and may well be notable if we researched them fully and properly. The issue needs to be focused on whether or not there would be sufficient material absent this specific event to create an article showing a suitable degree of notability. When we're talking about a group that has, literally, hundreds of hostages, it is extremely difficult to say that every single one of those hostages is notable, even though each individual one may get a varying degree of attention specific to the hostage-taking situation. The criterion for notability isn't "got his name in the newspaper because of this event", because that applies to almost all of the hostages that have been taken by any organized group over the last 40-50 years. WP:CRIME applies here.
Thank you for this conversation. Now that I have looked at WP:CRIME Do you think it would be appropriate to seek consensus to add verbiage there in regards to what we are discussing above? Please note, that the above is being discussed due to an individual's name being entirely scrubbed from the site. Not just edited out. Should the guideline be edited to better reflect that crime victims names may at times be considered not notable and therefore removed in the interest of respecting living family member's wishes and/or in the interest of national security and/or respecting news embargoes in other countries?MeropeRiddle (talk) 20:23, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I really don't understand why this discussion exists. Policy is very clear here. WP:BLPNAME says: "Caution should be applied when identifying individuals who are discussed primarily in terms of a single event. When the name of a private individual has not been widely disseminated or has been intentionally concealed, such as in certain court cases or occupations, it is often preferable to omit it, especially when doing so does not result in a significant loss of context. When deciding whether to include a name, its publication in secondary sources other than news media, such as scholarly journals or the work of recognized experts, should be afforded greater weight than the brief appearance of names in news stories." While it seems his name has been widely disseminated, it has definitely been intentionally concealed. In other words, we're not news, we're a work-in-progress encyclopedia, and at the moment certain names certainly attract news, but it's impossible to predict how much of this will be encyclopedic down the road, and when scholarly sources will start naming names. Not our job, not our concern, not our issue. We're not the news.
Thank you for the conversation. You wrote, " When the name of a private individual has not been widely disseminated or has been intentionally concealed." Please know that the name has been widely disseminated and has been published worldwide. Google News results indicate over 16,000 articles. However some newspapers outside of the US mention the family had wanted his name kept private. Despite the "family request", the name wss published everywhere anyways. This includes a publication from their country who acknowledged that the family wished that, and then went and published the name anyways citing additional news sources who have done so. In the event that the individuals name is considered non-notable, should somebody be scrubbing the entire site of its existence? Should the article be edited to better reflect the incident without naming the individual. Remember, this conversation is taking place because all references to the individual was completely scrubbed from the entire site, not just edited out.MeropeRiddle (talk) 21:41, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
You are ignoring the all-important "intentionally concealed", and as such are just babbling. The policy mentions court orders as an example, this situation concerns government orders. No amount of dissemination in defiance of such orders is relevant, so telling us how much there is wasting everyone's time. Since WP:BLPNAME says this is sufficient to trigger a blackout, we have a blackout. If it's not allowed, it's not allowed. Your concerns about how deep the blackout should proceed is irrelevant. Choor monster (talk) 21:55, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Your tone is concerning to me. I have appreciated the conversation taking place here, and I don't consider it a waste of time. The name is being "intenionally concealed" by Wikipedia, and has been widely disseminated in news articles world wide. Is a family member's request to not mention a name "intentionally concealed?" Please remember that Sotloff's family also kept the news secret. Sotloff has his own article.MeropeRiddle (talk) 22:16, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Your lack of comprehension is annoying to me. The "intentionally concealed" is, as I stated, part of the current case due to a government request. The Sotloff comparison is absolutely pointless: the fact of the matter was itself kept secret. Ergo, no article whatsoever, since there was no news to base an article on in the first place. Once the news broke, there was no attempt by anyone, family, courts, governments, to keep the name concealed. Ergo, WP:BLPNAME does not apply. Choor monster (talk) 12:12, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
You are extrapolating an interpretation there, and I am requesting the guideline be revised to clarify. You seem to be interpreting my conversation as an attempt to un-supress the name, when instead I am trying to have a discussion to better clarify guidelines, as this situation took place under "Ignore All Rules" You are interpreting "intentionally concealed" to mean news embargo of another country, In this case the theoretical news embargo was not even respected within the individual's own country. I am also saying, there should be consensus on that kind of interpretation, and if news embargoes are respected at Wikipedia, despite not being followed world wide, there should be a guideline to better clarify that, which is reached by consensus.MeropeRiddle (talk) 14:22, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
The policy says what it says, and it is absolutely clear. You are the one inventing excuses to ignore it. The policy does not make any exception about what other sources are doing in response to an intentional suppression. Nothing needs clarification. If you want to change the policy, then say so. Choor monster (talk) 15:09, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
  • If you look for the names of Jaycee Lee Dugard's daughters, Ariel Castro's daughter, Kobe Bryant's accuser, you'll find them, but not on WP. (Except for the latter, there's one clown who kept insisting on putting the accuser's name on the Talk page, and there's one right now, despite his being warned to cut it out. I'm not sure if it's simply supposed to be reverted or fully redacted.) Choor monster (talk) 20:52, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the conversation. In response to your comment. In regards to Ariel Catro, he was the perpetrator, and his crime victims were notable to the degree where they are mentioned on his page. The page has not been scrubbed from acknowledging/naming them. Jaycee Lee Dugard was the primary victim of the crime, and the unfortunate crime made her notable she has her own article, the crime wasn't censored and considered/not non-notable to the point where wikipedia would scrub her name. In regards to Kobe Bryant, Kobe Bryant is a notable celebrity, and the crime was committed against him, and for all I know an article exists or content exists to some degree that references the existences of an accusation that took place, Wikipedia did not scrub the site from mentioning the existence of the accusation, but may have said the accuser was non notable. Note, I am not saying, editing out, I am saying completely scrubbing from existence, as what took place in the articles and undelete requests etc that is now completely scrubbed, with all reference being obliterated from existence. That is why I am looking for guidelines to be adjusted to better reflect consensus, and not the will of one person with oversight above and beyond administrator.MeropeRiddle (talk) 21:15, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Your response has pretty much nothing to do with what I wrote. The names of Jaycee Lee Dugard's daughters and Ariel Castro's daughter (by one of his kidnap victims) have been suppressed from WP. I get the impression that you are not looking for guidelines, when you refuse to read what the guidelines say or people's explanations of what the guidelines say. Choor monster (talk) 21:55, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
You are talking about naming children of victims. i.e. "daughter of <victims name here>" I am talking about notability of the vicitms themselves and whether they warrant their own article, being referenced in related articles, or being forbidden and scrubbed/censored from the site. Not just edited out, scrubbed out. which in that case, there should be some kind of guideline in place, so that admins don't just super scrub out content they disagree with.MeropeRiddle (talk) 22:24, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
There is a guideline in place, and the admins are following it. It is the one I told you about: WP:BLPNAME, and which you seem to be repeatedly refusing to even try to understand. Nowhere does that policy distinguish between crime victims and other people. If a crime victim, or anyone else, becomes notable for just one event, the name can appear here if the name is both widely reported and there is no intentional attempt at suppression. Otherwise, the name is not allowed. That completely answers your question. Choor monster (talk) 12:12, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Well, the BBC don't seem to be bothered by embargoes: they named him in their 6pm bulletin, and have just done so again in the 10pm. --Redrose64 (talk) 21:02, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
    • It is better for us to take the higher road. --MASEM (t) 21:14, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
In this case the high road was "Ignore All Rules", don't you think there should be better guidelines in place?MeropeRiddle (talk) 21:32, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
MeropeRiddle has the important point above: this suppression wasn't just about taking the name out of the article, but about taking away any chance of editors to discuss if we want to have an article, and obliterating the history entirely, not just the name. That is far beyond the courtesy shown under BLP. Wikipedia is supposed to be sharing all available knowledge, not taking requests and deciding maybe we cover what the world press covers, maybe we conceal it. Wnt (talk) 22:40, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Thank you! Yes! It is also possible that due to the amount of supression taking place, some people replying don't exactly realize what we are referring to. In fact, just moments ago my undelete request was officially scrubbed. "[show] (Redacted) – Impossible to do - the article in question and the AFD have been suppressed by oversighters, so mere administrators cannot undelete the article. In fact, for consistency, these DRV edits probably need to be suppressed too. BencherliteTalk 07:50, 4 September 2014 (UTC) – BencherliteTalk 07:50, 4 September 2014 (UTC)"MeropeRiddle (talk) 22:45, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
We're an encyclopedia, and we're looking at the persistence of the information, and it is perfectly fine if we are not "up to date" with newspapers. Maybe in a month, a year, after this all settles down, the persons out of captivity (and hopefully safe), then we can consider if they should be included. But we should not rush to include details that are very sensitive per BLP that may seem important at the present but may not be in the long term. Taking the high road in the short term to follow our BLP policy is the better solution. We can revisit the issue later once BLP issues are not an issue (eg post their release) --MASEM (t) 22:47, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
What is the high road? Is that the one where whenever China tells us to tone down our coverage of Tibet and the Dalai Lama to avoid starting riots, we laugh at them, because they're a Bad Country, and whenever Britain "points out the DA-notices" about an issue it gets deleted before we even know what it's about? Is it the one where Muslims say our artwork of Muhammad is offensive and we ignore them, because they're a Bad Religion, and when a family member objects to our linking an internationally discussed video of a murder we suppress it, because their claim is so much more important? There is no way to win at that game. We ought to stay on our mountaintop, cultivate our "Pu (Daoism)", let people be free to explore everything in childlike wonder, without a thought to who it offends or what it might cause. Wnt (talk) 23:06, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
The rights of the individual and their protection are much stronger in legal situation that the "rights" of broad groups (eg like all Muslims). That's why BLP was introduced, to help keep WP out of getting into trouble with specific persons, and to that same regard, we should respect requests they ask for when it, particularly when the person's life in in the balance. --MASEM (t) 23:14, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
I do not understand what BLP policy is being followed that allows articles for 2 victims and scrubs all references to the third individual. BLP mentions contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced. There is no disputing who the third victim is, it is somebody from Wikipedia that is suppressing it. Additionally the information is not unsourced, there are literally thousands of articles about it. I'm being prevented from even referening the event in related content. I should at least be able to reference that there is a person involved and their home region like some news sources had done.MeropeRiddle (talk) 22:58, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
I have in no way scoured every source on the other two victims, but as I understand the situation, no one stepped forward and asked "please don't name these people" in either of those cases, unlike the case with this third victim that the family has asked for that. That's the difference here. Unless the claim that the family has asked for silence on the matter is false. --MASEM (t) 23:14, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Here you go: "Sotloff disappeared while reporting from Syria in August 2013, but his family kept the news secret, fearing harm to him if they went public." He was then thrust into the public conscious and became notable due to the video. The article was created prior to his death. There is no reason to censor that the next video has another hostage. If you want to censor the existence of hostages and if you want crime victims to be considered non notabale, then there should be a guideline that states this, and there should be no article or references allowed for Sotloff of Foley etc. Or a guideline should be in place that allows the situation to be allowed to be vaguely referenced but not specificly out of respect to another nations security interest. It shouldn't just be done on a whim by IAR by somebody who wanted to do it, with no consistency in respect to the way other articles were created.MeropeRiddle (talk) 00:05, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm going to call you on the "other two victims" statement, because there's no reason at all to believe that the two Americans were the first two victims, or the only two other victims, and actually a fair amount of evidence that they weren't. Just because there was a lot of publicity about their deaths doesn't make them the earliest victims. More importantly, there is no reason to believe that the person we are currently discussing is going to be the 'next' victim: given the behaviour of the organization involved, there could well have been any number of additional victims in between. Just because only hostages from English-speaking countries are being well-publicized doesn't mean there haven't been plenty more. Risker (talk) 00:11, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
As I read that, no one else knew that Sotloff was missing outside of the family, gov't officials, and others. (Just checking: doing a google news search for "Steven Sotloff" does not show a single story up through July 31, 2014. So if he was missing, no one reported that). The different in the third person her is that others have identified him, and the family has required they stay silent on the matter even if they know that information. It's an apples-to-orange situation. --MASEM (t) 00:18, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
Let me clarify. The creator of the Sotloff page, did so prior to his death. Also, prior to the video, his abduction was not widely reported, as the family did not want it publicized. After the video he then was forced into notability and became a public name and was referenced in news media outlets. Also, then somebody created a Wikipedia article about him. When Sotloff's article was created, nobody scrubbed the site and said, hey his family doesn't want this public. That means somebody is picking and choosing what content should be scrubbed and what shouldn't. I am requesting clarification of guidelines. The Sotloff article was created August 20th because in the foley video he appeared at the end, and Jihadi John told the president of the United States Sotloff's fate was in his hand. If Sotloff's article was permitted under these circumstance, it makes no sense to censor you know who's. If there is consensus regarding censorship, then there should be guideline's established regarding notable crime victims and national security, and/or respecting family wishes and censoring the information despite prolific amounts of available information world wide.MeropeRiddle (talk) 01:53, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
The creation of the Sotloff article came right off ISIS' threat they would execute him after they executed Foley. The Sotloff family did not appear to publicly state they did not want Sotloff's name mentioned, though they did say that they didn't mention and kept it private he was being held hostage; unlike the present person, there was no media reports (prior to Aug 20) for them to plead towards. There is a big difference here. If sometime before Aug 20th (before ISIS's video), some editor made Sotloff's article on the claim he was a hostage of the ISIS, we would have deleted without any sourcing. If there was sourcing, it would have to be reliable, and then we would have to see if the Sotloff family asked for the name to be retracted/kept secret; if they did do that, we would have applied the same principle to that article. But no, this wasn't the case with Sotloff; once it was news that Sotloff was a hostage, the family did not move to ask to keep his name withheld. --MASEM (t) 04:45, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
Then update guidelines that reflect that when a person is thrust into the public spotlight due to a crime that has world wide significance, and their name is widely available in news sources world wide, if some news sources indicate that the family wished the name to be kept private, despite thousands of articles preventing this and a video with the victim in it with their name for the world to read, Wikipedia will scrub the site of all references of the name out of respect of the family's wishes and/or our of respect of another nations news embargo, or out of respect of national security of another nation.MeropeRiddle (talk) 06:27, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
Several publications are saying that the UK Foreign Office asked that the name be withheld, with UK press complying and other press decidedly not. This one even says they claimed that publishing the name could endanger him, though how that could be is a mystery to me. I still have not been able to find a source crediting the actual DA notice system for this - of course, there is no a priori reason why the government can't intimidate the press into "voluntary" censorship outside of this mechanism. Anyway, the aggressive suppression of this name leads me to suspect that a policy already does exist, and that the DA-notice system or some related mechanism is already hardwired into Wikipedia. I think it is even premature to assume that the "oversighters" acted because Nyttend asked them to, rather than being activated directly by the British government. The fact that you weren't given a clear policy in advance simply reflects the realities of censorship --- it always is too vaguely defined to predict; it always is a secret what is really censored; it always actually serves the interest of specific parties in power, not general principles. So my presumption at this point is that those in charge of it simply don't care or need to know what you think or whether you have wasted your time or what policy you want to make or repeal, they aren't listening, they don't have to. Wnt (talk) 11:55, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
The key is here WP:AVOIDVICTIM, that in this case the person being held is a victim and in potentially in a life-threatening situation so we should not be feeding sensational news. Note that this does not prevent us from linking to articles that are appropriate to the event that may happen to give the person's name, which is important. We are simply taking the road to avoid taking any (legal) blame at the end of the day because we published the name of someone that has asked to be surpressed even if no one else in the world listened to that request. It is both morally and ethically better for the unnamed person, and less of a possible legal hassle for the Foundation, at the small cost of having editors do a few extra clicks to learn the identity from other sources. Nor is this a permanent situation - whichever way the situation ends, I am pretty sure that request to keep the name suppressed will be unnecessary (hopefully for the right reasons involve their rescue/release), at which point we can add it. It's a smart temporary approach. --MASEM (t) 13:50, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
That actually says victims not otherwise notable should not ordinarily be the subject of a separate article, not that they shouldn't be identified.MeropeRiddle (talk) 14:10, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
In this case, the non-name is because of WP:BLPNAME. In summary, we have very clear-cut guidelines, and they are being followed correctly. And to add to what Masem said, there are more than just legal issues: BLP guidelines emphasize respecting privacy at times. In brief, we are not news. There is no deadline. Choor monster (talk) 14:18, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
So, the wife can be interviewed and talk about her husband in the news, and he can be widely identified world wide, and because one person here decided to IAR and suppress everything, nobody can mention it? That is beyond ludicrous.MeropeRiddle (talk) 14:33, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
One person here applied existing policy: WP:BLPNAME. It's one thing if you do not like policy, it's quite another for you to repeatedly lie about it and insult those who have followed policy. Choor monster (talk) 15:04, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
It appears to me that the "smart temporary approach" has led to the permanent destruction of MeropeRiddle's work (and whoever else edited the article). It's like one of those jokes where we have "so many editors, and such good editors, that we can just throooooow them away!" I see nothing in the policy mandating the absence of an article, let alone the destruction of history, let alone the banning of discussion whether the policy applies. Wnt (talk) 16:18, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Remember, we have no WP:DEADLINE to add material in a timely manner. When the situation is diffused hopefully for the best, then we can then restore what was taken out in the interest of personal privacy and safety. We are under no commitment to be up to date with other news sources, since particularly we are looking for the permanance of information, not the timeliness. As to the "banning of discussion", the fact we're talking about it here seems counter to that claim. --MASEM (t) 16:29, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

And as for the permanent loss of editor's work from redaction, so what? Anyone who contributes to WP does so by irrevocably giving it away. If you create a BLP headache for admins, that's your own foolishness. The admins will fix it, and I fully support them if they take shortcuts. Choor monster (talk) 17:05, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
Well, admittedly, all silly free-speech ideology aside, MeropeRiddle should logically have done the following:
  1. Compose the file on his own computer in private to avoid interference and loss of data.
  2. Post the file on his own site where he could choose whether to respond to a DA-notice or other complaint or not, and collect ad revenue on it, retaining his own copyright.
  3. There is no step 3.
Indeed, this might be a lesson to us all. Perhaps it soon will be. Wnt (talk) 19:49, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
No one is forcing anyone to contribute here, but if they want to contribute, they should be aware of various policies that we do apply to content, particularly in light of living persons. --MASEM (t) 19:53, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
Then don't have double standards. They were being intentionally concealed and it an invasion of privacy, and a crime was committed, nudes are not encyclopedia worthy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by MeropeRiddle (talkcontribs) 01:50, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm pushing for the same standard there, that only those celebs that have stated they were hacked should be included. (Though keep in mind, it is not the case where people have said "please surpress the information about my account being hacked", which is the driver here; so we cannot apply the same strength of admin control) The problem is that that attracts more anon IPs due to celebrity status so its harder to lock down. --MASEM (t) 01:54, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia is WP:NOTCENSORED "Wikipedia may contain content that some readers consider objectionable or offensive, even exceedingly so. Wikipedia cannot guarantee that articles or images will always be acceptable to all readers, or that they will adhere to general social or religious norms." What I've seen here is editors with a preconceived bias such as "we should not disseminate propoganda" then trying to shoehorn existing policies to fit their POV. This isn't how Wikipedia should work. All editors need to evaluate themselves for preconceived notions about a subject before taking editing actions that change the coverage or article content. I'm a recent convert to Baha'ism and not Muslim. My religion commands me to be tolerant and attempt to understand the religious views of others. While I admit to having to having a preconceived notion that the US should not get involved in this conflict, I think I'm in a unique position to be neutral and unbiased in this topic.~Technophant (talk) 04:09, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

Google News Sort-by-date, I get eighty two News Stories citing this name in the last 24 hours alone. I'm not talking general Google web hits on the name, I'm talking about Google's search of News Stories. I certainly agree that Wikipedia shouldn't publicize some obscure name just because someone digs it out of some source somewhere. But isn't all of this one giant pointless act of futility? Do we seriously need to be invoking Extraordinary Wiki Suppression Measures to censor something that is being plastered on the front page of countless news agencies? Alsee (talk) 04:35, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

Yes, because it shows that we have more journalistic integrity than those other sources that have published the name and not pulled it despite the require to not publish the name. --MASEM (t) 04:41, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
I had the impression that the Wiki Suppression measures were being justified on a "privacy" basis. There's a phase that appears in many court rulings "the law does not require a futile act". When countless news agencies are including this name in heavy news coverage, it seems to me that we can report on that. I fail to see anything accomplished by invoking Suppression methods here. They certainly aren't fulfilling any privacy function. Alsee (talk) 05:09, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
It is a privacy basis - the UK Foreign Office asked the name not be published or redated, but newspapers, who deal with sensationalism, are ignoring that. We're in the business of writing an encyclopedia so we can hold off and wait to include the name until the UK Foreign Office backs off on that request. --MASEM (t) 05:20, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm saying there is no privacy basis. There's nothing we can do to preserve the privacy of a name that is already plastered on widespread news. As for the UK Foreign Office, they made a request, and news agencies across the globe have declined that request. Are you suggesting that Wikipedia comply with any request from any national Foreign Office? Should we even comply with ORDER from any national Foreign Office? Syria? North Korea? Wiki Suppression can be invoked to remedy violations of privacy. Wiki Suppression is not remedying anything here. Alsee (talk) 06:02, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
I posted this comment previously on Jimbo's talk page. It was revdeleted. I hope I've redacted it to the point that it is acceptable: "I'm very concerned about the current trend. There seems to be not only reversions, revdeletes, and even a block regarding this matter. It's one thing to have an open disagreement as to what should or shouldn't be in article space but it's a whole different game when the normal consensus building processes is subverted. The given reason that there's been a media blackout is that the family requested it so that hostage negotiations aren't affected. The subject's wife however isn't playing along with this however. She broke here silence and did a news interview on "Wife Speaks for First Time Since ISIL Video Released". She does NOT mention a request for this to be kept out of the media. I think this current trend is toxic to consensus building and article writing and is eroding the pillars that this project was founded on.~Technophant (talk) 08:02, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm hoping that when this is all over all suppressed articles are quickly restored by Oversight and apologizes are issued to all affected editors.~Technophant (talk) 09:14, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm going note what I believe are obvious. ISIL has executed hundreds or thousands of people that don't have articles. The latest appear to Syrian military of the "wrong" version of Islam that were lined up in a crescent and shot in the backof the head. ISIL uses media to document this form of terror. In the past westerners have been abducted for ransom. Western nations have often paid the ransom through various means to quietly secure their release. It is clear, at least to me, that manipulation of media is a high priority for every side. We don't created articles on every soldier executed or even every western fighter that has died. While it is true that we don't write/not write articles based on whether something else exists, please consider that every media source is being manipulated in this current event. There is no neutral way to write these articles because all of it is manipulation. The only correct way to handle this is not to play. It's simply too early to be encyclopedic. People can go read whatever they want on news sites for the manipulation of the day. In the end, there will be history to write and whether this is significant, sensational or trivial remains to be seen. There is no reason to write it now and the danger of being manipulated by anyone is too high. We have no agenda.--DHeyward (talk) 11:56, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

@DHeyward Actually there are lots of wikipedia articles that are hostage / kidnapping specific with lots of names mentioned. Foreign hostages in Iraq, Foreign hostages in Afghanistan, 2009 imprisonment of American journalists by North Korea, "the kidnapping of <name of kidnapped person here>", There are even project pages of regions with hostages and kidnappings of journalists that was done by university students for coursework. Such as: That's why this particular suppression makes no sense. It is one thing to say the situation doesn't warrant an individual biography, its another to say that this particular individual will be completely suppressed when there are loads of other pages with similar information. In the event that this is a policy that Wikipedia wants to have, then it should be applied consistently, and there the guidelines should be clarified. The sotloff page has been scrubbed, and I believe people keep adding the information in good faith. There is no way anybody can know this information shouldn't be there. I tried to reference it vaguely on the talk page, but it would make the situation much easier if there was a more clarified guidelie. If it is being invoked under "intentionally concealed" there should be a clarification on how this is interpreted when the name has entered into the public domain of this kind of magnitude. If it is due to "privacy" there should be a guideline clarification in regards to "life threatening situations" and there should be a specific clarification in regards to respecting a news embargo. Please understand that I'm not simply arguing to have the name allowed, I'm saying, Clarify the guidelines, so that it is better understood. Celebrity Nudes were intentionally concealed and the fappening article is a joke.MeropeRiddle (talk) 17:08, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
As a guess, I expect this article might fall into that category. I can easily imagine the article being discussed at AfD and people saying to merge it somewhere, changing it to a redirect. But when the AfD is obliterated, how can I assume it would have favored deletion? Furthermore, it is anything but obvious that MeropeRiddle will receive a kind reception if he starts a good sensible article with a paragraph about every kidnap victim he can find information about, even though such an article would clearly be within encyclopedic guidelines. Indeed, even if he kept the names out of the articles, my guess is that some unnamed D-notice enforcer from on high would say that "he's collecting information for them" and do the same thing. But this is Wikipedia, and there are a lot of Americans here who have no cultural history of accepting that the British government knows what we shouldn't write about. I recall there was a war over that kind of thing. And realistically, while I don't doubt that the slick ISIS media center can read Wikipedia articles, I also don't doubt they can do their own Google news searches and compose their own extracts of their hostages' lives. And I don't think it's reasonable to try to predict the effects of encyclopedic coverage of a topic will be bad in the long term. I mean, take the worst possible case: even if we somehow found an article they missed that some hostage in their custody burned a Koran in high school, even if they ended up killing him on the spot over it, rather than waiting the week and making a trade for ten million dollars, what would that mean? That they had freaked out and missed an opportunity to buy enough arms and vehicles to massacre a thousand Christians and Kurds and Shias. We are not God. We need merely have faith that letting people research what they want to without standing in their way will have a net positive outcome. That is a kind of faith, definitely, but it is also the product of observation; we know censorship always ends in tragedy. Wnt (talk) 13:05, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
It is not censorship. It is called an editorial standard, that we have a person that (for all indications) is in a life-threatening situation that reporting their name can potentially lead to harm. At least as of Sept 4, the name was only being given out by poor/weak RSes, though with the 48hr since, as noted by Jimmy Wales on his talk page, we're probably at the point that if the BBC (one of what we'd call the best RS for news reporting is freely giving out the name, it's probably now okay for us to do so. I think this statement from the Independent sums it up well (published on the 4th): Following the release of this week’s video, the Foreign Office asked for media not to identify (redacated) but his name and details of his career were circulated on the internet by international media organisations including the New York Times and NBC. The Independent has decided that the amount of information available about the Briton is such that no purpose is served by continuing to withhold his name. In a situation in the future were we have a request to not publish details, but a major RS (like the Independent) specifically express something comparable - that they would normally respect that request but feel at the time it no longer serves the public interest - then we should take that as our lead to allow the name to be included; this I think rings true with what Wales has said on his talk page too. But without a similar statement expressed by a major RS, the request should outweight trying to be up to date, and instead wait for the news to settle before including the name.
But lets go back a few points: first, to talk about how MeropeRiddle's effort is wiped clean, remember that when you contribute to WP, you are given away your work to the community, so whatever effort you put in can be wiped away if the community believes this to be inappropriate. It's crying over spilled milk to admonish people for destroying others' work. Second, BLP1E is in full effect here. I've looked through the articles, and clearly the person we're speaking of is but a cog in the cycle of the ISIS crisis. While hundreds have likely been held hostage, his specific identity will be necessary to state as part of the timeline of events (eg the person next shown after Sotloff), but as a standalone topic, absolutely not. Even if we knew the identity (and did not have to withhold that) of all the hostages that ISIS is currently holding, a list (much less a paragraph on each) would be completely inappropriate, as most are all likely BLP1E (no notability before being taken hostage). So no, we'd not welcome a paragraph on each. We also have to keep in mind WP is not a newspaper, we have no requirement to be up-to-the-second correct, and as Wales points out, in a situation like this, we can afford to be patient and wait for the situation to resolve to some degree for better sources that are written with enough hindsight to come out to help guide out we should write our articles on the events. Wikinews is for those that want to be free-content journalists, we're looking for permanence of information. --MASEM (t) 14:24, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
There seems to be a very consistent and determined effort by some people to claim that WP:BLP1E is a notability requirement for paragraphs, sentences, even sources or mentions. But the approach I suggested above comes directly from BLP1E: "If that person otherwise remains, and is likely to remain, a low-profile individual. Biographies in these cases can give undue weight to the event and conflict with neutral point of view. In such cases, it is usually better to merge the information and redirect the person's name to the event article." Now why is it that you can persistently ignore what the policy says and expect it to go away, even as you demand we not ignore what it says or be blocked? I don't know, but I fear it may be because the British government has arranged to have high-level control somewhere behind the scenes at Wikipedia. (Note: why not the American government? Perhaps a) because they have laws for that - and, in theory, even against it; b) as per ECHELON etc., they rely on Brits to do their dirty work where Americans are concerned) Wnt (talk) 15:44, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
Thank you Wnt. There seems to be a trend where people see something, don't like it for personal reasons, then try to shoehorn a policy argument to fit their views. Then it's "I hope enough people will agree with me and it will look like there is a consensus." This goes against the wp:notcensored guideline. Unless WP:LEGAL steps in please don't take it upon yourself to enforce any kind of legal imperative. ~Technophant (talk) 16:29, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
Nothing was shoehorned in, nothing was censored; BLP has been applied that way in the past so it is not some novel invention here. The only difference in this situation is what's happened over the last 48hrs in that RSes that were respecting the UK Foreign Office's wishes have realized that the name is clearly out there by other sources and so harm in publishing the name now is no longer there, and that would be a sign we would now be able to do the same. It is called human decency to not publish information by request when someone's life is at risk and the potential to put their life at more risk would be had by publication. BLP purposely puts human decency over information because on an open wiki, it is very easy to introduce smear and damaging remarks that may have some factual nature.
@Masem "and that would be a sign we would now be able to do the same" Except, I was blocked for recreating the article, and it continued/conitnues to be scrubbed. You can't even create an article using the name, because the page is locked.MeropeRiddle (talk) 17:37, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
Because at the time of your re-creation of it, it appears that there was still no consensus there may be a possible reason to allow it. (Though I think the block was an excessive action and inappropriate; a warning yes, a block no.) --MASEM (t) 17:58, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
@Masem, expect as of today right now, at least 2 pages are locked by admins that still prevent it from even being created so it appears it is still not being allowedMeropeRiddle (talk) 19:44, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
And to Wnt that is a completely insane claim, and would be best to drop that unless you have evidence. --MASEM (t) 16:39, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
The fact that this request, honored by British media, came from the Foreign Office is based on the news reports themselves, e.g. [17]. The jump from Foreign Office to DA-Notice is based on them being one of three British government agencies with people on the DA Notice committee, and as I said, I'm not sure that's the actual mechanism or if they have simply avoided the pretense. That leaves the question of whether Wikipedia is slavishly following the British press's restrictions rather than the American or French press entirely on its own initiative.
As for "human decency", some of the newspapers are likely sitting on/near a table at your local public library. Does "human decency" demand you go down there and rip them up and throw them in the trash to avoid risking that someone might read them? Wnt (talk) 17:21, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
@wnt I think you mean, "It was not honored by all British news media outlets.", right? Because it was not honored.MeropeRiddle (talk) 17:37, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
You should assume good faith that editors saw reports of the Foreign Office and became concerned here. And no, we have no control on what other publications do with their publishings, but we can be morally and ethically better than them and prevent the publication of such information as a matter of human decency, since we're not worried about the immediacy of the situation. --MASEM (t) 17:58, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
What you're describing is pretty near "WP:Meatpuppetry". When an outside source urges everyone listening to make some change to a Wikipedia article, that never makes for a happy scenario. Wnt (talk) 18:51, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
Bullshit. When the group calls on all agencies to not publish out of respect, that is no way meatpuppetry. --MASEM (t) 19:51, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
@Masem Again, then please clarify the existing guidelines to reference complying foreign government requests and reference that governemnt requests are adhered to even when news outlets are not and include that in oversight guidelines. To cite "intentionally suppressed" doesn't work due to it's wide availability in the public domain. This is true with the fappening too. To cite Privacy isn't enough, because it most certainly isn't private, it is in the public domain. If it is out of concerns for a life threatening situation, then add a guideline in there, and then apply it unilaterally and get rid of every article about journalists, contractors, aid workers, and other people who have been kidnapped around the world. And include that in the oversight guidelines. I'm not arguing for the information to be allowed, I'm requesting guideline clarifications.MeropeRiddle (talk) 19:05, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
There's two separate aspects here: first BLP1E in general and when people should get articles for being in one event (specifically hostages). That is a larger question to be asked at BLP but as BLP1E is defined, no, these people should not get separate articles if their only claim to fame was being a hostage. (Some, post that, may use that to write a book, or run for gov't, or other factors, but then that gets it out of the BLP1E issue). The other, orthogonally separate issue, is when a living person is presently involved in a current event and that people have asked for their name to be withheld for that person's safety, we have already decided through the BLP policy to err on the side of caution and not give that name. So policy on that aspect is pretty clear. And if that holds for a BLP1E, you pretty much cannot have any type of article on that, until the privacy/safety issue has been resolved. --MASEM (t) 19:51, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
As for defining decency, how about "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge."? Oh yes, there are problems with that and privacy, but if we have no choice but to have a world where the spies know everything our remaining choice is whether we are uniquely targeted to remain in ignorance. Wnt (talk) 18:55, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
Again, bullshit. We are not a newspaper and we have no deadline to include information; so that we get it right, we can wait until the issue is settled down. The fact we don't have the name here for a few days/weeks has zero effect on Wikipedia as an encyclopedia. --MASEM (t) 19:51, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
@Masem Wikipedia has a dedicated section on the main page for News. So actually it does have news and it encourages news.MeropeRiddle (talk) 21:17, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
No, that is different. First, when we say that WP is not a newspaper, that doesn't mean we can't cover current events, but we have to be much more selective on events that will have posterity and importance in the future - eg an encyclopedic topic. A newspaper is looking to cover the now, we are looking to cover the past, including the immediate past. Second, In The News on the front page is designed to highlight quality articles that happen to also be topics in the news. It is not a news ticker (plenty of arguments there to keep it away from that), but highly selective of what articles to include. So no, we still are not a newspaper, but we do encourage keeping articles up to date as long as all other core policies are followed. This is very important and why BLP comes into play, to prevent rumors spreading on living persons pages that might make some newspapers but would not be included in an encyclopedia. --MASEM (t) 21:40, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
  • We have multiple policies and guidelines that deal with the issue. I don't think there is a need for yet another. Between WP:BLP, WP:NOTNEWS, WP:CRIME... etc. etc. we say enough. Blueboar (talk) 19:00, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
@Blueboar WP:CRIME is in regards to the person warranting their article or instead being referenced in related content, there is no guideline there in regards to suppression by the oversight team and subsequent banning. BLP doesn't clarify that it respects news embargoes. Citing "intentionally suppressed" or "privacy" don't work when the information is in the public domain in this magnitude. Or clarify that "intentionally suppressed" means Wikipedia is being suppressed because it complies with foreign news embargoes. Clarify the guidelines. Editing to add, you can cite NOTNEWS,but Wikipediaedia has a main page with News right on it This establishes and encourages ...well, News.MeropeRiddle (talk) 19:21, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
This whole incident reeks of fascism. A small group connected to the Oversight committee had a private conversation and decided to delete all traces of the discussion on talk pages. If it weren't for the persistence of myself, Wnt and MeropeRiddle this discussion may been successfully squashed except for the occasional WTF? I've never seen such a thing. It's not a matter of decency to treat other editors that way.~Technophant (talk) 19:19, I do think we need a change of policy to make sure there isn't further abuse of revdelete and oversight. ~Technophant (talk) 19:29, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
What I and others are seeing are people that have zero care about the safety of a human being that has their life in danger, where their nation's gov't has asked for silence on reporting his name as to try to help get his safe return, putting that over having Wikipedia being a newspaper and up to date. We can frickin' wait until the situation is resolved to include his name (or as I indicted now, per the Indepenent's rational for reporting the name). There is no fascism going on here, it's called common sense and keeping aware of what WP's goals are, and having a bit of care for a fellow human being that is in trouble right now and keeping that above trivial goals of trying to have a current article on the person. --MASEM (t) 19:57, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
@Masem No, I am repeatedly asking for clarification of guidelines. I never said I'm demanding it to be allowed, I am saying clarify the guidelines. You all continually quote guidelines, that upon reading them, permit it. I am continually saying, if you want this information to be suppressed please clarify your guidelines. There is nothing even mentioned in the few oversight team rules. If Wikipedia requests from foreign offices (which clearly it does), or if it is interpreted to be life endangering depite it being in the public domain and requires suppression, include it in the guidelines. Right now, nothing on the oversight rules mention it. It should be there. Other comments have said, it should be ok to go ahead an dreference it now, but it clearly shouldn't be, as admins still have the pages locked down. Clarify guidelines. There is no way anybody would know that this kind of information isnt allowed because it is suppressed to the point that nobody can even see that it existed or contested. Clarify the guidelines for when this should happen, such as in this case, a respecting a direct request from a foreign office, or is it respecting a request that they heard exists, but wasn't served with, or out of fear of life endangerment. The same applies for celebrity nudes. If they were intentionally suppressed, then have guidelines that are uniformly applied. As an aside, the article was wiped after it was named publicly by multiple news sources in the persons own region, something I wasn't allowed to add to the afd because it was supporessed. The consensus was leaning towards moving it to an article about the event, but the Afd was wiped. The information continutes to be repeatedly added in good faith the related content. Nobody knows this can't be mentioned because, suppression Get the guidelines better clarified so they can be cited, instead of people continually edit warring over it.MeropeRiddle (talk) 20:22, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
Getting the article unlocked would be requiring to convince the oversighters to do that; that's handled (most likely) through the Audit Subcommittee, and I do note that I don't see the names of those people involved here but that doesn't meant they aren't watching. And no, we're not surpressing the discussion of information including the discussion of purposely not including it (otherwise we'd wipe out this section of VPP); eg in the celebrity nudes case, there is open discussion about which celebs should be included on the talk page, and this is inline with WP:BLPTALK in that sometimes you have to identify negative factors about BLP to determine if they should be included or not. Yes, I do agree that we should have some notice on the editing of that page of the person in question that says "The oversight committee has blocked the content of this article at this time" , perhaps with a link to some brief reasoning (eg "This page is currently locked per the UK Foreign Office's request for the safety of this person."), because as you say, a fresh editor who honestly believes there should be an article will have no idea why it cannot be made. (However, other talk pages related to the ISIS issue can be used to discuss that matter in the same redacated way we are talking about it here). But as Blueboar states above, the policy on BLP is pretty clear that, at least based on the UK Foreign Office's first statement, we should not include the name of this person at the present time. There's no need for a BLP policy change, but it would help if the oversight commit could have some descriptive text to help others. --MASEM (t) 21:20, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
Masem, you can say there's no fascism involved, but when you disallow AfD and impose top-down decision making, that is precisely the effect. And I should emphasize that this is not just a principle for Wikipedia! It is just as clear-cut that members of Congress or Parliament cannot be granted permission to know what agencies like NSA and GCHQ are doing; indeed that they must only be permitted to vote about it in ceremonial fashion provided the vote is going to go the right way. So this is not merely fascism, but the mirror reflection of the fascism of the age. From the days of the Reichstag Fire, unfortunate events have been used as an excuse to abandon democratic principles. And it always involves the assumption that these principles are valueless, while the benefit -- however hypothetical -- cannot be done without. But who do you think you are you kidding here? Nobody at ISIS is going to open up the door to _______'s cage and let him free because Wikipedia didn't summarize a couple of points from a New York Times article. (Note: I have a guess regarding what the point really is, and which DA-Notice has been invoked, but why craft a theory for you to help your argument when you would only ridicule it?) Wnt (talk) 20:32, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
You're asking for a democratic-like process for every step which we don't have (WP is not a democracy in the first place, but the fact that we have a page that outlines when one is allowed to take unilateral actions for the betterment of WP at WP:3RR, means that we can also have processes that can be determined by a trusted set of users (oversight) to be made without discussion to keep WP better - or at least in an "do first, question later" approach. I do agree that there should be a place where questioning the oversight's choice here should be made, and it should be the oversighters that take responsibility for making the decision to remove the name and article. But those are all things to evaluate after the fact when our actions will have absolutely zero impact on the safety of the person at the present time. We have no rush to get the name into WP. --MASEM (t) 21:20, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm stilling trying to figure out the rationale for the blackout. There were 2 Britons kidnapped in Iraq 6 years ago where they also asked for a media blackout and restricted reporting. This article titled Blunders by Foreign Office 'contributed to deaths of two British hostages in Iraq' reads "The source also claimed that the Foreign Office decision to withhold the names of the abducted men and restrict reporting of the case damaged the chances of a swift end to their ordeal. He said: ‘The Foreign Office claimed the kidnappers had demanded a news blackout. But that also served the Foreign Office purposes, playing down the truth that British citizens weren’t even safe working in an Iraqi ministry. ‘It also succeeded in dehumanising the men. The kidnappers must have got the impression they had little value.’" It may play well for the ruling party in Briton keep this story out the news, however it didn't save their lives. Both "Messages to America" were addresses specifically to Obama and the American public. ISIS wants people to know about him. The Oversight committee needs to release a statement. So far we've only heard that there a discussion going on but nothing more.~Technophant (talk) 01:30, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
"What I and others are seeing are people that have zero care about the safety of a human being that has their life in danger" - I fail to see how our coverage reflecting widespread Reliable Sources has any realistic chance of affecting the outcome. And even if we do somehow affect the outcome, I fail to see any reason to believe we would affect it in a negative way rather than a positive way. There is no privacy issue when this is widespread public domain information. The UK Office has politely requested the name not be published, but that is moot as widespread media has declined that request. Some people find it "insensitive" or upsetting for the name to be included, but we have about a billion Muslims who find it insensitive or upsetting that we include Images of Muhammad. We have a similar situation with anatomically-explicit content in the ejaculation article. Our BioLivingPerson rules indicate that the person themselves probably doesn't get an article, but that the relevant information should be integrated into the event-article. I'm listening to the reasons given, but none of them seem to hold up to scrutiny. Alsee (talk) 03:01, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Here we go

Role of Wikipedia

Wikipedia also participated in the media blackout. Prior to any references to the kidnapping being added to Rohde's article in Wikipedia, a Times reporter, Michael Moss, made changes to the article to emphasize the work that Rohde had done, in such a way that Rohde would be seen by his captors as being sympathetic to Muslims. Subsequently, reports of the kidnapping, which began on the following day, were removed by Michael Moss and some Wikipedia administrators. The Times also approached Wikipedia's co-founder Jimmy Wales for assistance in enforcing the media blackout. Wales turned to "trusted" Wikipedia administrators to repeatedly edit the article to remove all references to the kidnapping, and prevent already published information from being further disseminated.[16] In response to criticism over the actions taken, Wales stated that no Wikipedia policies were broken, and that relevant processes were followed.[17] Peter Sussman of the Society of Professional Journalists' ethics committee likened the description of Wales involvement to that of a newspaper editor, and cautioned that an editorial role in censorship requires a degree of disclosure.[18] One rationale cited by Wales, in complying with the Times's request, was the fact that the media blackout of the story, among major western/English-language news services at least, was relatively effective: "We were really helped by the fact that it hadn't appeared in a place we would regard as a reliable source. I would have had a really hard time with it if it had."[19] He praised the assistance provided by Wikipedia editors: "I'm really proud of the Wikipedians who made this happen, maybe saved his life."[20]

So there is indeed an established protocol of responding to gag orders despite no obvious way for anybody to know this because it isn't referenced in any guidelines or reason for suppression and user banning without warning., and also scrubbing from all related content, including a reference link that has a name in an article title. Alss note, in the case referenced above, the information did not appear anywhere that was deemed a reliable source which is unlike the current situation.MeropeRiddle (talk) 05:56, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Now, the case of the current person in question is probably in the situation that we have RSes that have identified it despite the UK Foreign Office's statement (the Independent specifically), and this is echoed in Wales' statement on his talk page about this case. But how to get the oversight ppl to recognize this and - at minimum - allow the name to be included in the hostage situation article or to discuss its inclusion, I don't know, beyond the apparent instructions of emailing the Audit Committee, as seen above. But I'm all for at least having something accountable here that I don't think was done properly in this case to let editors know there is a situation with that person that the oversight committee used their power to temporary surpress the name. --MASEM (t) 06:12, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
As encouraging as that may be, I am not actually happy with this logic, because using The Independent's decision to publish the name as justification for ending the censorship basically represents an argument that the DA-Notice (or equivalent) must no longer apply. The presence of the name in American media from days before ought to have been enough for us. Meanwhile I am told there is a secret level of censorship here -- [18] -- that I'm not even being allowed to look at, let alone discuss. Wnt (talk) 09:19, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
Wnt's "secret level of censorship" is our Wikipedia:Edit filter - not secret at all and can be discussed at Wikipedia talk:Edit filter. If Wnt thinks that's censorship he can campaign to get it deleted - and of course we often seen AfDs called censorship, perhaps Wnt wants us to get rid of them also. Dougweller (talk) 09:40, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Guideline or Policy proposals[edit]

Maybe we could have a guideline or policy saying something roughly like:

Wikipedia should not use rare or minor sources to publicize details when it is clear that major international news sources are actively withholding those details for privacy or safety reasons. If widespread news sources have clearly placed information into the public domain then it is reasonable to include that information in Articles.

The key points are (1) Wikipedia follows, we do not lead. (2) It is futile and inappropriate to use Extraordinary Wiki Suppression Mechanisms on information that is already in the public domain. Alsee (talk) 11:48, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

In this case major international news sources were not actively withholding the information. At the time the article was suppressed it was even reported by theguardian. There were hundreds if not thousands of non minor sources available. Wikipedia was either served with a gag order, or complies with media blackout requests, and apparently media backout requests of some foreign countries but not others. They should disclose and/or clarify their guidelines to admit they honor served gag orders/media black out requests ...or one person or a couple people felt like felt like they didn't want the information there despite it being overwhelmingly obvious to the entire world that it exists. If Wikipedia wants to allow people to use their suppression in this manner, guidelines should be clarified, because to me I get the impression lots more gets suppressed than their current guidelines reflect that the oversight team would act upon.MeropeRiddle (talk) 14:53, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
A question is, how many times does this come up to actually need to be a policy change? A footnote perhaps in BLP because of how infrequent it is. --MASEM (t) 14:01, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
nobody would ever know because, suppressionMeropeRiddle (talk) 14:46, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

comment I feel like the WP:VICTIM] is misinterpreted. It currently is essentially saying being a victim IS notable, and worthy of inclusion and look at sources to determine the level of notability. THe victim may warrant their own page, or the content may be referenced in related content. It doesn't say, don't victimize the victim by including the information here. Something along the lines of, "a victim of a crime should not be further victimized or have their life risked by misconstruing information widely decimated in the public domain as grounds for inclusion in the encyclopedia." As an editor with a fresh perspective, I am telling you that none of your guidelines are clear about determining worthiness of inclusion when massive amounts of sources are available. Especially when you qoute terms like "Privacy" and also "intentionally concealed" and also when NONE of the Oversight Rules reference compliance to gag orders or that content that victimizes people or puts their life at risk.

Privacy its impossible to use this as a reason, when the information is obviously not private, its beyond public, such as thefappening content, such as a hostage video.

Intentionally Concealed this seems intentionally vague. If wikimedia compiies with orders, admit it. What does intentionally concealed mean? Does it mean Wikipedia is complying with a gag order? Does it mean Wikipedia is neutral about something, and an editor is trying to include information in the encyclopedia about a trial involving 2 parties regarding information that has never been public, does it mean celebrities were hacked and their private pictures are now in the public domain, but should not have wound up there, and did so due to a crime? Define intentionally concealed especially when something is widely distributed and basicay publc domain

Oversight Rules Clarify the rule including referencing that WIkipedia itself complies with gag orders that it is served with, and also removing information that further victimizes victims of a crime, or information that puts people in life threatening situations, or degrades their quality of life or something.MeropeRiddle (talk) 14:43, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Oppose. It is clear that not all countries are equal in this, and extending this equality would be even a further step backward. For example, the Chinese quite understandably keep Gedhun Choekyi Nyima out of the spotlight so that he can't be used in propaganda by foreign terrorists trying to stir up riots. But are you going to defer to every request they might make? Wnt (talk) 23:53, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
@Wnt Can You clarify what you are opposing? It is clear Wikipedia does indeed suppress information, its undeniable at this point. My request is to modify guidelines to appropriate disclose this. In the event they comply with gag orders, which clearly they do, that should be disclosed as a policy and/or guideline or it means that all the current suppression taking place should never have happened and the page for his name should be immediately unlocked so the article can be recreated (again). Based on the 2008 hostage situation, and also the current hostage situation, Wikipedia has an established guideline of suppressing information, and in the interest of disclosure it should be publicly admitted and acknowledged by having guidelines/policy that reflect it.MeropeRiddle (talk) 10:10, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Completely different situation, as Nyima is not a Chinese citizen and that the attempt to keep his existence hidden is not to protect him directly, whereas the Foreign Office's request to keep the hostage's name quiet was directly to help protect him. Nyima would not come under BLP issues. --MASEM (t) 00:05, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
(To add, the whole issue with Snowden shows that we don't have gov't preference when it comes to information that would not directly harm a single person - despite the attempts to prevent the Snowden leaks, we still reported on those when reliable sources reported on those. We are talking about when a person's privacy and safety is at risk. ) --MASEM (t) 00:25, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
@MasemNone of your current guidelines reference consideration for safety, privacy is one thing, safety is another. If you want to suppress information for safety reasons, there should be a policy or guideline that reflects this. According to Wikipedia:Avoiding_harm Avoiding harm was rejected. Doing no harm has been found to be incompatible with our obligation to maintain a neutral point of view when writing about all subjects, including living people. 1. Is the information widely knowm? YES IT IS. Therefore, all the suppression is unnecessary 2. Is the information definitive and factual? Yes it is 3. Is the information given due weight in relation to the subject's notability? Yes, this is world wide news, involving multiple countries. Per Wikipedia:Avoiding_harm This principle was ultimately rejected Wikipedia maintains a neutral point of view. It says it right here. So everybody needs to get on the same page, either there is a guideline that Wikipedia avoids harm or there isn't. There is no policy/guideline that says the Oversight Teams job is to secretly go around and suppress based on "do no harm" either. If this guideline/policy was rejected, then people shouldn't have done what they did, and the information should be permitted. Otherwise, there is no trust in the community that is responsible for suppression decisions, admin decisions, editing, or why even trust this encyclopedia? There is no way for anybody to know what they go around doing. If the Oversight Team is going around suppressing things against that actually do harm, then Wikipedia needs to disclose that. Otherwise all this suppression goes against established policies. What else do they suppress?MeropeRiddle (talk) 10:10, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Have you actually asked the oversighters why they have apparently done this? Right at the top of WP:OVERSIGHT, there's a link to email the oversight team. --Redrose64 (talk) 11:42, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
It seems pretty obvious that this order is coming from the top. It has happened before: However, in the prior case it appears the circumstances were not widely reported. That is 'not the case with the current topic/person being suppressed. It is Total suppression which even included suppressing the Afd page, suppressing segments of discussion on the founder of wikipedia's talk page, and removing a cited reference from the article that included the person's name which was from a reliable source. Yes, a reference was removed because the News source had an article title which referenced the name being suppressed.MeropeRiddle (talk) 12:53, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
But have the oversight team told you this, or are you speculating? --Redrose64 (talk) 14:02, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
  • This is getting silly. If you disagree with a suppression, the thing to do is to contact the oversight team and/or ArbCom and ask them to review the decision—most suppressions, from what I know, are done by an individual oversighter acting on their own initiative, so there is no problem with asking their colleagues to review their action. What you don't do is repeatedly post the material that was suppressed (however unjust you think that action was) on some of Wikipedia's most high-profile pages; that will get you blocked very quickly every day of the week and twice on Sunday. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 14:13, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I will say that given the above, it might make sense to have a statement somewhere that "Wikipedia may opt to comply with requests to suppress the name of an individual while the immediate safety of that individual is in question. Such suppression are typically done via the Oversight Committee, and requests and inquires on these matters should be addressed to them (link here)", just so that repeats of the above discussion are not needed. --MASEM (t) 15:43, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
You're describing WP:OFFICE, which already assigns that kind of arbitrary censorship to a different email address. Why must we suffer two dictators over us? And my impression was that this "Oversight Committee" (who even are these people, where did they come from?) was supposed to implement policy, not say it is whatever they say it is at the moment. Wnt (talk) 15:48, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Office actions are not the same as here. No one asked WP directly to suppress the hostage's name, so there would be no Office Action on it. As the Oversight committee are selected via user-voted ArbCom with community discussion before approval, we expect these people to have WP's best interests in such matters and so if they saw fit to suppress a name, we should accept that action at the time though further discussions whether it was appropriate and should be undo can be asked later. --MASEM (t) 15:55, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Then the Oversight Committee needs to update disclosure. THe current suppression and the method used for doing so is in direct violation of the 5 referenced. meta:Oversight_policy. There is obviously an invisible #6th here, that removals can be done outside of the scope of 1-5 apparently through a vote process and it is done with respect to a Do No Harm type policy that though widely rejected under normal circumstances may be considered on an on-exception basis.MeropeRiddle (talk) 16:24, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
@Wnt: It's quite easy to find out who the oversighters are. At WP:RIGHTS#Oversight it says "See Special:ListUsers/oversight for a list of users in this group." There are 38 names listed. --Redrose64 (talk) 16:37, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Of those, how many are active? How many are equal? How many would even receive a copy of an email if you chose to send one? How many would lose oversight permission if they disagreed with another person with the permission who has more power or other advanced permissions? How many support and how many oppose the present nonsense of suppressing a name that is in all the press now, even British? A list of users with an electronic flag is not the same as knowing who the committee is. Wnt (talk) 16:45, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
You're always free to ask the Audit Subcommittee of Arbcom if this was an abuse of the process. That's the way to resolve that facet. --MASEM (t) 17:37, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Oversighter and Arbitrator User:Worm That Turned asked for all complaints to be directed toward himself here.~Technophant (talk) 17:38, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
@Wnt: If by "active", you mean "those who edited recently" - the list has a contribs link for each name. Using that, I find that all but two have edited on or since 29 August 2014 - within the eleven days, many of them have edited today. Of the two users who have not edited in the last eleven days, one last edited on 28 July 2014, the other on 22 August 2014. But a quick glance at the list shows that they are not all equal: apart from oversight and administrator, which all of them have, there is a variety of different rights (edit filter manager, bureaucrat, checkuser, course instructor, course campus volunteer, founder) in addition. I can't answer your other questions. --Redrose64 (talk) 18:04, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Nay, I meant had they oversighted, which I assume I wouldn't see evidence of? I mean, Jimbo Wales edits, but he doesn't take a direct role, for example. Wnt (talk) 18:46, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
This seems to be much ado about nothing. I've read all the material available at While the do not name the hostage, there's also no request published to keep it out of the media. If they did make this request then it was done in private to select news agencies. It also does not seem to be a specific policy to do with this hostage but rather a general policy used for all hostages. There's also been mentioned that the family does not want his name used, however the subject's wife did talk to the media did not mention a wish to suppress his name. She wanted people to know that he was a good person and was there to help people. Like in the Terry Schivo case, the wishes of the spouse should override the wishes of the parents.~Technophant (talk) 17:18, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Checking the sources, yes, I can't find anything specifically at the UK FCO site, but it is clear from multiple UK papers that they were contacted by the FCO directly with the request to keep the name unpublished. If it was just one or two, that would be one thing but this goes through several major, non-tabloid-ish papers through the UK. So I don't doubt the request was real. --MASEM (t) 17:34, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
To be clear, for those who want unexplained, unaccountable "oversight", this is what your responsible journalism looks like. Otherwise known as blatant propaganda. Wnt (talk) 00:53, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Update: The Chinese government has requested that media not discuss the case of Gao Zhisheng publicly, saying that it would be "counterproductive". The last time reporters found him was the beginning of the imprisonment that may have ended recently. So, does Wikipedia formally honor the Chinese government's request and either lock down or delete the article? Wnt (talk) 16:50, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Again, different situation. His name is already known, and per that report, talking about his imprisonment with a US official (Rice) while in earshot of the press would not be appropriate. There is no indication that the Chinese gov't is asking the press not to mention his name. That's akin to a state secret, as opposed to the safety of a human being. --MASEM (t) 16:55, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Update: James Foley's mother, Diane Foley, was interviewed on #AC360 yesterday. She said that she was asked by US gov. officials not to go the media about her son. This is the same policy that Briton uses. She said "We Americans failed him. It's nobody's fault, it's just lack of discussion and understanding about the problem." and "I feel there's a need for debate/discussion - I pray that our government willing learn from the mistakes made." I think her statements should be entered into the debate regarding whether of not the official policies of 'media blackout' regarding hostages is effective or not.~Technophant (talk) 04:58, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

2013 Islamic State kidnapping of British aid worker[edit]

The article Draft:2013 Islamic State kidnapping of British aid worker is created and ready to go however User talk:G S Palmer is wanting community consensus approval for this article to be included. I emailed WP:Functionaries 2 days ago and I'm still waiting for their approval in publishing this draft but have not received a reply. This seems like the most logical place to have a community-wide discussion about this.~Technophant (talk) 20:47, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

Assuming that the verification of the video released today is confirmed, yes, there's no need to withhold the name anymore. However the person fails WP:BLP1E and should not have a standalone article; the information regarding the (likely) execution better in the broader article on the events. --MASEM (t) 22:37, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
They fail most of the individual aspects of BLP1E except for the part that says "WP:BLP1E should be applied only to biographies of living people." (emphasis not mine). However, to keep their name as a redirect to a section at 2014 ISIL beheading incidents would probably be the best idea. G S Palmer (talkcontribs) 23:11, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Ah, right, yes, I should have said WP:BIO1E (working on the assume the video is verified), and while BIO1E is not as strong as BLP1E, I still think that covering the capture and likely execution of this person would be best in the 2014 ISIL article, with a redirect to the right section; most of all we can say about him is tied with these elements. --MASEM (t) 23:17, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Despite the fact that this is still ongoing, Technophant has expanded the redirect into a full article. I have reverted them for the time being, feeling that they should have waited a bit longer to see how consensus develops. G S Palmer (talkcontribs) 00:35, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I probably should have. I know about WP:NOTNEWS and WP:NODEADLINE. I'm glad that I was able to work on the article in draft space while the story was developing. I'm watching CNN now, it's all they are talking about. There were up to 40,000 pageviews a day when the article was first created. I don't think we can hold back the tide of Wikipedians or readers wanting to know more about this event. See Reuters [19] The notability of this person is unquestionable. Biggest news item of the week with undoubted long-lasting repercussions. ~Technophant (talk) 00:42, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Note, to see the article as it was before it was redirected click here.~Technophant (talk) 00:48, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
The event is clearly notable, but outside of all his involvement with the event, the three additional sentences about his prior life is not sufficient for an article on the person. Definitely the ISIL article should document this clearly (redirected from the name) and readers will understand the importance in context to the overall event, and the one/two sentences to set out who he was would not weight down that article. This is a classic case of BIO1E applying since the bulk of the article is duplicating the information from the event. --MASEM (t) 00:50, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
We already have an article on Steven Sotloff and James Wright Foley. Whether or not the article name is Beheading of... or just the subjects name isn't important right now. Redirecting a finished article at this point is just ridiculous. This isn't something that can be covered in the ISIL article. It is already to large.~Technophant (talk) 00:55, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Neither Sotloff nor Foley fail BIO1E (Sotloff has a notable career before his capture, Foley was previously involved in an incident in Syria). And 2014 ISIL beheading incidents is nowhere close to being too large. --MASEM (t) 00:58, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
User:Masem BUT, copy and pasting the whole finished David Haines article into the beheadings article will put undue weight on this person vs the other subjects mentioned.~Technophant (talk) 01:04, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Then only put part of it in. I agree with Masem - the article wouldn't be hurt by having a bit more content. It's a fairly short article, actually. G S Palmer (talkcontribs) 01:06, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Or expand out the others a bit to explain when they were captured and a portion of the details of what happened. Add a bit of who each were, but leave the "Main" article links for them. Yes, this means this last person will have perhaps a para more info than the others, but you're in no way threatening to put that under undo weight. --MASEM (t) 01:12, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I already went ahead and crammed it all in. I'm thinking that the response and further details of this subject will grow and a split will soon be needed.~Technophant (talk) 01:14, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
A general response section in reaction to any or the culmination of the events is reasonable, but remember this should summarize major responses, not just rhetorhic or the like. --MASEM (t) 01:18, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
My edits are getting ECed there, but I suggest that you can compress that new section into 3 paragraphs if you strip out a lot of the duplication (keeping in mind, you have Sotloff's video mentioned just above, for example). I was trying to make that but I can't easily tell where the intermediate ECs start and end so I don't want to make that change. But it can be done to make it cleaner. --MASEM (t) 01:33, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
I added a split section request. It really doesn't look right the way it is. ~Technophant (talk) 02:56, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Note that I've tried it down, removing much of the excessive duplication and the like. It is three paragraphs and easily fits into the article. Note that as I mentioned, the other hostages can have the basic details (quick bio, their capture, their execution) summarized a bit more without affecting the size and thus balancing the weight. --MASEM (t) 06:02, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:BIO1E, we already had a deletion discussion on this and although it was closed pre-maturely I feel that there was a consensus in place. You are welcome to create the article again though and have it run through AfD again. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 04:50, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Please note that the fourth hostage shown in this latest execution video - another Britain citizen, is apparently also being not named by the British press (I don't see the same claim yet that was there for the 3rd but none of the reliable British media sites are giving the name) so for the time being, best to withhold it. --MASEM (t) 06:00, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
    • BBC is now naming the 4th hostage ([]) so we're probably okay to use it here. --MASEM (t) 14:21, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I favour leaving this as part of a larger article. This individual is not notable for other reasons: there are thousands of aid workers in the region; kidnapping/being held for ransom/being killed are one of the known risks to aid workers in combat zones; this particular group has killed a significant number of people in a very brutal manner, often as "examples" and often videotaped, even if it hasn't captured the attention of Western media. We know a lot more about this specific incident because it involved an English-speaking victim and captured the attention of English-speaking media. Many similar victims are from countries where the media is under far greater control by government or fear of retribution - if there is an organized news media at all. I have also commented on the related discussion on the talk page of the article where the information is currently included. Disclosure: I was one of the oversighters involved in the suppression of early versions of an article related to this, and have also (now that there is apparent consensus amongst oversighters about this) reverted several related suppressions, including the aforementioned AfD. Risker (talk) 06:04, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
  • For a separate article: This individual is the most detailed on 2014 ISIL beheading incidents page and deserves to be on a separate page. Presently Haines is the most detailed on this page and in absence of a separate page will even go bigger giving it undue balance as to other victims. After his beheading by ISIL, this individual's case and the accompanying media coverage has a whole new momentum unlike at the time of his kidnapping. A coleague G S Palmer reversed my edits on the reasoning that it was concensus to keep him on the 2014 ISIL beheading incidents. But all the discussion I see was at the time of his kidnapping in 2013 not now after his murder and repurcussions of his murder. New events have literally overtaken past events and the subject has taken whole new international dimension, as some other colleagues have pointed above, thus the need for a separate article. A summary section here on the page exactly as we have for journalists Foley and Sotloff is in order with further details on a separate page. werldwayd (talk) 00:17, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
    • The other entries can be expanded to balance it out - a two-three sentence bio, and a brief summary of how they were captured and their execution; that actually should be done per WP:SS. --MASEM (t) 00:38, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Reporting on Suicide[edit]

I brought this up in the proposal section, and people were generally supportive. These recommendations for how to report on suicide have varying degrees of applicability to Wikipedia. I thought, at the very least, we should stop using "success" to describe suicide. (talk) 04:30, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

I'm going to say again, I think you should write this up how you think it could apply to Wikipedia, somewhere in the Wikipedia namespace (e.g. WP:Suicide) and run a full RfC to get it established as a guideline. If you need help with any of those steps, I'd be glad to help. VanIsaacWScont 04:38, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
It would need a different name: WP:SUICIDE already exists for a different purpose, and it would be confusing to have two links of different intent which differ only in capitalisation. --Redrose64 (talk) 08:24, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
I think a few comments in the previous thread were far too supportive. Wikipedia's role is not to provide advice of any kind. We should not tell people how to make value judgments. What that means is that when we look at great people from history like Aaron Swartz, Abbie Hoffman, Timothy Leary, or even Robin Williams, do we say oh yes, they must have all been sick in the head and dismiss their decision-making as something to hide from our audience lest they make the same mistake? Or do we simply recognize that our job is to report the facts?
And the facts are important. In the case of the first individuals above who were politically important, I don't exclude "conspiracy theories" a priori. After all, stupid people commit murders; smart people commit "suicides". So when these smarmy people tell me that it is wrong to be "Including photos/videos of the location or method of death, grieving family, friends, memorials or funerals", I have to ask whether they appreciate our role in helping people to understand whether there is truly unanimity and lack of doubt regarding the manner of death, or the importance of covering the final departing comments of those who have died, and the protests, demonstrations, and mourning that follow them in a political context. Nor can we tamper with the facts - if sources say a suicide was without warning, then we cannot discard that because there "must" have been signs.
What we can grant is to expand articles, or only some minor caution and semantics: indeed, claims of skyrocketing suicide rates in a certain area should be double checked (does that even happen?), coverage of public health aspects can be checked, quotes from suicide experts can be searched out, medical facts can be carefully checked and well-sourced. But this PDF is POV-pushing, not useful style advice. Wnt (talk) 12:45, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree with User:Wnt that the PDF is POV-pushing. But it is hard to "report the facts" when today even newspapers and other otherwise RS have to resort doing tabloid journalism to sell copies. Maybe we do need to use some of our own common sense and editing on what to include. And when it comes to Timothy Leary no one should be emulating his life IMHO.Camelbinky (talk)

"I thought, at the very least, we should stop using "success" to describe suicide."

I agree. Now, how is the correct way to describe a suicide attempt?

The other point that I agree with is that we should never say that a person committed suicide "without warning" or "inexplicably", since that violates verifiability. --NaBUru38 (talk) 20:57, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

It doesn't violate it if that's what the sources say. It may be an ugly thing, but there are people who, when they commit suicide, it comes as no surprise to the people they know. So the reverse case is also defined. And as I said above, I think it's important to note details that offer any degree of doubt regarding whether a suicide was authentic; to me this is a sort of "BLP" issue in that I cringe to announce definitively for sure that someone just killed himself, quashing all qualms to the contrary, simply because a coroner has just put out a form with the box checked and the word written on the right line. Wnt (talk) 14:07, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

Low quality edits[edit]


What is current recommended action to deal with low quality, good faith edits, especially to highly visited pages? By low quality I mean an edit, that contains one or more of these issues:

  • Syntax errors (user didn't even preview it)
  • Grammar errors (user didn't even read what they wrote)
  • Styling issues (text isn't properly formatted, doesn't adhere to MOS)

IMHO best is to fix them, but I guess that most of users, including me, are probably too lazy for it, especially while checking load of edits for vandalism, there isn't even a time for this. Should these be reverted? Should the user be warned notified using a template, or should they be warned notified at all? My opinion here is, that unless user who review the edit is willing to repair it, they should AGF revert it and eventually message the user. But given that there is a ton of these edits every day, making a custom message for each of these is probably not that simple and we could have a template for that? Or do we have some already? Thanks Petrb (talk) 14:33, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

(Sarcastic reply withheld)
Do not revert fixable contributions, and do not warn them under any circumstances for good faith edits. That is pretty much the opposite of what we want our community to be. Inform these fellow volunteer contributors in a friendly and collegial manner about how you think they may improve their editing. If you feel that requires more time than you have, prioritize. Paradoctor (talk) 15:36, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
Ok so, your suggestion is to skip these in this situation (eg. when reviewing large amount of edits, seeking vandals). But wouldn't these get overlooked? :o Petrb (talk) 15:59, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
Sure, so what? WP:WIP We do not have the manpower to complete Wikipedia anytime soon. It is doubtful we can ever "complete" it before the technological singularity hits. Pick what you like best among the tasks to do, and ignore the rest. That's the best we can do. Paradoctor (talk) 16:15, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
BTW, making a template for yourself is easy. Just create a page like User:Petrb/MyTemplate, then transclude it where you want by saying {{User:Petrb/MyTemplate}}, that's all. For bells and whistles, check out Help:Template. Paradoctor (talk) 16:27, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm with Paradoctor. Where possible, do not revert contributions just because they are low quality, especially if they add material which can be improved. If this means that some low quality edits persist, that's fine. It's much better to have a slightly crappier reference work than it is to piss off potential new contributors who haven't mastered the arcane details of the parser. Protonk (talk) 19:47, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
That's right. If collaborating screws up your vandal-hunting rhythm, then just ignore those edits. That's doubly true for highly visited pages, where you can safely assume that other editors will notice the changes. Even if other established editors don't notice, other people will, and perhaps one of them will fix the typos and thereby become an editor instead of a reader. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:09, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
Seconded (or is it thirded?) Vandal hunting is not as important as retaining and training good-faith contributions. I'd rather let a vandal go unpunished than scaring off new contributers any day and twice on Sundays. It's best to avoid "hunting" vandals at all if one cannot tell the difference between vandals and good-faith additions. --Jayron32 00:41, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps there can be a new welcome template made similar to template:welcometest like template:wecometypo that indicates, gently, that there are problems with the edits. Most IP editors will come back to pages they edited later to see if their edits "stuck". I don't think that reverting low quality edits AGF is wrong per se, esp if they are minor or unsourced.~Technophant (talk) 05:08, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Petr alluded to syntax/grammar and styling issues. Twinkle offers various welcome templates for newcomers that address specific problems like lack of sources. If there is a specific problem, discussing it in a personalized welcome is better though, IMHO. Getting the book thrown at you on your first steps will probably not motivate you. ;)
BTW, we already have a few hundred welcome templates. Paradoctor (talk) 13:15, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
It is absolutely fine to fix problems in an article. Grammar, syntax and style errors are fixed all the time. The key is to do so in a friendly and cooperative way. Don't chastise another editor for making errors, just politely fix the errors they make. If you get push back... Don't be a "style nazi" - arriving at an article insisting that you are right and they are wrong... and trying to impose our MOS over someone else's objections. Be courteous and supportive rather than argumentative and combative.
Obvious vandalism is another issue. Vandalism should be removed as soon as you find it, and the editor warned not to do so again. But again, do so in as friendly a manner as possible. Some of our best editors started out poorly... and improved once they understood that certain behaviors are not acceptable. Blueboar (talk) 14:33, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
By the way, we do have a user notice about the "preview" feature - it's called {{uw-preview}}. Twinkle users can find it under "Single issue notices". עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 13:47, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

Telling people their edits are promotional[edit]

Half the requests I get on WP:UTRS are of the sort "But I was only adding factual information to the article, why did you block me?" Plenty of others create articles that get deleted under WP:G11 and object to the assessment. I feel like we need to be more careful when using terms like "advertising," "promotional," etc., especially when our definition is broader than common usage. I think we need to address this issue on various fronts:

  1. For borderline cases, instead of using those words, say things like "your article presented the subject with an overly positive tone," and if they dispute that, talk about WP:COI and how it can lead to hidden biases.
  2. When blocking for having an organizational username (let's not use the term "promotional username" anymore - also too confusing for the same reason), and the edits they made were not too bad (i.e. insufficient for a block if they had an acceptable username), then we should regard username as the sole reason for the block (though a warning about COI editing would be useful).
  3. Make it more clear to new users what is and is not allowed regarding COI editing. (I'm looking for suggestions on how to do this.)

Please discuss. Thanks, King of ♠ 03:21, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Broadly agree. We are driving off potential contributors in the hundreds or thousands with our overzealous enforcement in these areas. Re: #2 If the edits are good the username should not be the sole reason for the block, this is said in policy. –xenotalk 13:04, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
The key is to avoid accusing the editor of wrong doing... and instead focus on the edit itself. If an edit appears overly promotional, it is important to explain why the edit appears to be overly promotional, and suggest alternative language that is less promotional.
On the other hand... if someone appears to be intentionally misusing Wikipedia, we shouldn't worry about keeping him/her around. The flip side of "driving off potential contributors with overzealous enforcement" is "driving off experienced contributors due to no enforcement at all". Blueboar (talk) 13:33, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Xeno: By "If the edits are good the username should not be the sole reason for the block," was the "not" accidental? (Otherwise it doesn't make sense.) Assuming that: My point is, I feel that the edits don't even need to be good, they just need to be not blockable. -- King of ♠ 07:57, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
" Users who adopt such usernames, but who are not editing problematically in related articles, should not be blocked. Instead, they should be gently encouraged to change their username." (From WP:USERNAME) –xenotalk 11:13, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
I seriously disagree with this. While there are certainly a great number of editors that could contribute useful content...some still have to use links to their own website, book or academic paper or news story. Some editors edit their own pages with actual promotional content that they should not be doing. You can NEVER accomplish a weakening or lightening of everyone's speech. Not as a matter of right but of control. You simply cannot control this type of thing. This is very much instruction creep. We would then be instructing editor's in a pretty precise manner and I really object to that myself.--Mark Miller (talk) 11:28, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
As someone who started editing in 2006 only because I was promoting myself, friends, my peace group (articles all now deleted), I agree you have to give brand new editors a break and explain policy. I got away with it for months, and by the time it was explained it was against policy, I was hooked on Wikipedia. Most probably have no idea it's against the rules. Yet within a few weeks of editing they too could become hooked, learn policy and start learning to edit productively. (A process that can take years, in the absence the right book or video that impresses all important policies on their consciousnesses in on short sitting.) Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 14:09, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
One of the truly positive things that Editor retention used to urge was greeting new editors and helping to guide them through the first few steps to becoming good contributors. Helping them find the policy and guideline page, explaining the ends and outs. That is helpful but how can we do more. Automating greeting don't work. it takes a real person one on one.--Mark Miller (talk) 22:18, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree with the principle here, but an awful lot of the stuff I come across is ... not so much intentional spamming, but corporate communications people or founders of startups who have no idea of the difference between corporate communications and an encyclopaedia article and no interest in contributing to Wikipedia beyond writing about their own company. While there's no need to be actively hostile to such people (I don't think they mean the project any harm, they just don't understand what it's about), we still need to get rid of articles that say things like " an innovative provider of bespoke business solutions" and we still need to separate them from the project. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 22:34, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Obviously, it's a judgement call. But only be dismissive of most obvious cases. Who knows, even some of them could get hooked on wikipedia given a few weeks. If they aren't overtly disruptive, encourage them to go work for a month on other articles in topics of interest to them and come back and who knows. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 14:06, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Abuse of the English language[edit]

I wish to make it known that the practice of using the present tense of verbs when reporting events that have happened is an abuse of the English language. If you have no respect for your language, eventually you will be unable to say anything of any value. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mntbat (talkcontribs) 21:34, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Shouldn't that be "was an abuse of the English language"? Or, actually, since you were doing it at the exact time you typed it, present tense is was correct. But then you weren't doing it, so you should have used past tense either way. --NE2 21:39, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Actually, the sentence uses the present-continuous tense, so the use of "is" is correct. Another common error to watch out for is inconsistent plurality – where a subject changes, mid-sentence, from singular to plural, or vice versa. Rwilkin (talk) 23:46, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
See WP:NOTFORUM. AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:41, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
There is nothing wrong with you going back and fixing this so-called abuse of the English language. after all, this is a wiki. If you have a problem beyond that, see what the MOS says about it, and if it doesn't (or myou disagree with what it says), feel free to start a discussion about it in the appropriate MOS page's talk page. Please also keep in mind that some users here aren't really English speakers, and they do their best to help improve Wikipedia. Their content, even if badly worded, makes more information available to the poublic - and it's easier to fix major problems with other people's content than it is to write your own from scratch. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 15:17, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

WP:UNDUE and WP:RS in cases where the RS-es themselves are being subjected to scrutiny[edit]

Mostly due to, but also since I notice an pattern worldwide where media are less being trusted and it might happen more in other sections then the gaming industry - In my opinion, especially due to the tough nut that the GamerGate article is to being written due to late appearances of neutral RS, the RS used largely being accused by one of the involved parties in the event being described of bias and accusations of several weeks long of Wikipedia itself being biased, WP_UNDUE and WP:RS should be re-examined at some point in case the RS themselves are being largely accused of bias, and no examination of those claims are brought up by an neutral third RS-party. While I understand the reason for the RS-only use - it makes it hard to make an balanced article of something noteworthy if the RS are subject and 'group together'. Thoughts?MicBenSte (talk) 11:46, 15 September 2014 (UTC) (talk) 14:05, 20 September 2014 (UTC) WP:V already adresses this situation, albeit partially. On the Notes section, Note no. 8 lists that any media outlet with possible interests other than professional may be considered "Conflicted Sources". The article doesn't seem to tell what needs to be done about them, be it removal or otherwise. More info needed. Editors, please help.

Colourisation of images[edit]

There is a developing trend for colleagues to colourise b&w images and use the new version in articles. This is often done via Wikipedia:Graphics Lab/Photography workshop.

There are two types of case where this happens:

I think we should develop a clear and agreed policy on when such images may or may not be used, and how and when the fact that a colourised image is shown must be declared.

(I've raised a separate discussion on Commons, about the habit some editors have, of replacing b&w images with colourised versions, instead of creating a new file. The two issues should not be confused.)

I'll post a pointer to this discussion on the above project's talk page. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 12:38, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

There is nothing wrong about colorizing old photos (if it looks good, at least), as long as in the file description it's clearly said that it's a modern colorized photo. Having said, the original photo should never be replaced by the new colorized photo. The colorized photo must be uploaded into a new file. --Lecen (talk) 12:48, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm not so sure a few recent requests is a "developing trend", but I think this is worth discussing.
Presumably you used the word policy generically, I very much doubt we are going to be able to make a WP:POLICY on the limited consensus that will be gathered here, probably not even a guideline, maybe an essay. I'm also not sure on the effectiveness of wikipedia community desires on something that is mainly enacted on commons files.
On to the issue: When was it OK for an artist/technician/person to colourise images? Is there some cut-off date? (I get the impression "old" colourisations are acceptable) Are all colourised images "useless/horrible/fakery"? Can only some special people be allowed to colourise images? (Should we only accept artwork from notable artists, photographs from notable photographers, etc?)
I'll use a couple of examples: My only two colourisations so far.
This is currently used in an article about the subject of the work, not in an article about the original artist or his works. I have ensured it is captioned as a colourisation of the original work. I believe I managed to make a useful image. I think it catches the interest of the reader more than either of the source works. I don't think it creates a false impression of the subject of the article. It wouldn't be appropriate to use in an article about Sabinin's (the artist) works though.
This isn't currently used anywhere. I don't think I did a very good job. I also don't think it creates a false impression. It's (hopefully) unambiguously described as a colourisation of the original work on commons.
My thought is; that if colourisation adds utility, then it's fine. It should never overwrite an original, and it should be unambiguously labelled for what it is. (Hohum @) 18:12, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
Something that might be worthwhile is an agreement on what phrases to use in captions and commons descriptions to ensure that there is no confusion that the colourisation isn't by the original artist.
I used "Colourised version of <Artist's> Name of work". Can that be confused to mean "<Artist's> colourised version of Name of work" ?
Perhaps "2014 colourisation of <Artist's> Name of work", or something like that, would be less ambiguous? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 18:53, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
I did indeed mean policy proper, though it's not necessary to have a new document; adding a line or paragraph to an existing policy, such as WP:OR, should suffice. It would be policy about the usage of colourised photos, in articles, not about uploads to Commons. We'd obviously need to consider colourisations that are contemporary with the subject, as part of that. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 18:53, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
Colorization of images by a WPian editor should be treated as derivatives of the original work, just like cropping an image, or marking up an image. As such such derivations should be explained in the caption, and the original image should be linked to in the file description page, all part of providing sufficient attribution for our licensing policies. This can likely by easily added by a line or two to WP:IUP. --MASEM (t) 19:08, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Using a work colorized by a reliable source is one thing but colorizing a work ourselves would be original research unless we could cite the source of the chosen colors. If you have a high quality B&W version and a low quality color version then I think it would be reasonable to colorize based on that information, we just should not be guessing. Chillum Need help? Type {{ping|Chillum}} 19:11, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

There may be some cases where a colorized image is appropriate, but I can't imagine when. (edited to add) If the intent of the colorization were to contrast, say a typical US Civil War uniform of the USA as compared to the CSA, and no suitable oil painting or water color were available, but there was clear info as to the colors of the uniforms and insignia, then such a colorized image would be helpful. It is original research, and if done to a historical image it is completely unacceptable. Such images would include 19th century American Civil War photos by Matthew Brady, or a famous photo of Robert E Lee around the conclusion of that war, or photos of Abraham Lincoln. In colorizing a historic photo of Lee, Lincoln, Hitler, Hirohito, or others the result would differ from the original artist's intent. It would also allow the colorist to create a false impression that the subject was sallow or wan as a result of their struggle, or that he was healthy and ruddy cheeked. (edited to add) The modern colorist's biases could make a historical figure look jolly or evil to some extent. Muddy water in a battlefield scene could become bloody water via original research of the Wikimedia colorist, or dirt on a US cavalry uniform could become bloodstains in an attempt to show how they slaughtered helpless Native Americans. Drab and dismal workers' cottages in a 19th century factory town or in pre-unification East Germany or in present North Korea could become cheerful and colorful through the Photoshopper's biases. Edison (talk) 13:57, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Just because something *can* be used to misinform doesn't mean it will, and doesn't seem to be much of an argument against it. A bad or biased colourisation is no different to a bad or biased restoration, colour correction, contrast change, crop, or collage. Graphs and illustrations can be misleading too. Are historic colourisations (i.e. created near the time of the creation of the original) fine? (If so, why?) I think there is a far easier benchmark/regulator: If they are bad they won't get used in articles (for long), if they have utility, they will, just like other material. (Hohum @) 18:02, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
A Currier and Ives colorization of some scene, person or event done around the time of it would be a fine illustration. A Wikipedia editor's colorization of an American Civil War photo would be unacceptable, for the reasons I cited. It's not a matter of "could be" original research, it definitely "would be" original research. Keep your Photoshopping mitts off historic black and white photographs, at least the ones displayed in this encyclopedia, with exceptions such as I noted. Edison (talk) 18:36, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

Lecen's summary of current rules is spot on. Edison's "Keep your Photoshopping mitts off" comment could be a bit more civil, but I think by and large, colorized historic B&W photographs are not a good idea in articles; if challenged, the uncolorized version should be used instead. --{{U|Elvey}} (tc) 03:26, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Color makes things snap. The two examples up top are barely visible in B&W, but much more distinct and visible in color. We illustrate with a lot of more or less reliable sources; staged photographs and paintings are barely more reliable then colorized version thereof.--Prosfilaes (talk) 06:23, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Colorizing works for decorative reasons erodes the veracity of our encyclopedia and reader trust in our encyclopedia. (I want to make a reference to Leibowitz here, but it's probably a digression too far.) If we want snap ang bling, let's add some blink tags to the sidebar, maybe some popup ads and autoplay videos. --j⚛e deckertalk 01:48, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Maps, diagrams, and other images that are essentially data in a pretty form should be an exception. Examples: File:P&BC RR map 1901.jpg, File:Pennsylvania Company.jpg --NE2 02:44, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

  • @Chillum - You are torturing the Wikipedia concept of "original research" by arguing that it applies to photo colorization. "Original research" involves a prohibition from novel interpretations in the fields of science and history being "written up" as Wikipedia content. Colorization is a simple editing matter, no different in its essentials that cropping an image, or airbrushing away scratches and dust speckles, or applying a sepia wash to a gray image, or laying on an unsharp mask so the image looks cleaner on screen. None of these things are "original research." Carrite (talk) 18:48, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Well you need a basis for the colors you choose don't you? It would be reasonable to colorize a uniform where a source for the correct colors could be found. Or to colorize a high res version of a b&w version from the colors of a low res version. But I don't think and encyclopedia should be coloring an old photo of an extinct animal or picking what color the dress of an early first lady was. There are cases when it is original research and cases where it is not. Chillum Need help? Type {{ping|Chillum}} 20:21, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Protocol Relative URLs[edit]

This previous Village Pump discussion found consensus to use Protocol Relative URLs in External Links when sites support both HTTP and HTTPS (eg. Internet Archive, YouTube). A PR URL external link would look like this:


However according to this:

IE6 does not know how to handle [protocol relative URLs]. If you care about supporting Internet Explorer 6 then you shouldn’t use these.
IE7-8 support protocol relative URLs but they’ll end up fetching the resource twice. Once from HTTP and once over HTTPS. This can slow things down a bit but the way I see things it’s not much of a problem for anyone except the person using IE7-8 and if you’re using IE you’ve got more important things to worry about.

Considering IE support issues (possibly other browsers), do we still support PR URLs? Or am I misunderstanding PR URLs? Notifying some previous: @Ryan lane:@Werdna:@Auric:@Bender235:@Nil Einne:@It Is Me Here:@Killiondude:-- GreenC 02:09, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

This sounds more like a technical question rather than a policy matter. --Redrose64 (talk) 10:09, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
  • The market share of IE6 is currently 3%; so, not negligible, but not so large that we need to build our policy around it, I would say. It Is Me Here t / c 10:17, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
  • I checked IE6 using BrowserStack just now, and the language links in the sidebar worked fine despite being protocol-relative (checked with view-source from IE6). More detail than just "IE6 does not know how to handle this" seems to be needed. BJorsch (WMF) (talk) 10:58, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Based on BJorsch (WMF) and Gadget850 it doesn't look like a big issue. Final question is if there is a page anywhere that discusses the use of PR URLs, and if not should we start an essay at WP:Protocol Relative URL that at a minimum links to the previous Village Pump discussion and this one on current guidelines for use, and any other pages or information that might be available? If no objection I'll do so. -- GreenC 14:35, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
    • I'm not sure why you need a new page, but it won't impede my sleep if you created one. You should know that it's lightly touched on in Help:URL. Killiondude (talk) 17:23, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

Introductions that define the subject with a synonym[edit]

The following Wikipedia pages begin with the respective text…

Page First words on the page
Policy A policy is a principle...
Regulation A regulation is a rule or law...
Principle A principle is a law or rule...
Law Law is, generally, a system of rules...

Using “is a [synonym]” does not clearly identify the intended meaning – it assumes that readers have a better understanding of the synonym, which is not necessarily the case. It can also lead to loop definitions. For example, the first definition for “rule” in Wiktionary is “a regulation, law, guideline” – so “regulation” and “law” in the above examples point to “rule”, which points back to them.

I propose that “is a” should be reserved for identifying that the subject is a member of a parent set. For example: “a dog is a mammal”; or “a house is an abode”. The definition of a subject should present its defining characteristics, rather than using the “is a [synonym]” phrase. For example, although the Association football page mentions some synonyms in the introduction, the first sentence identifies the nature of the subject (that it is a sport) and its key components (players and a spherical ball). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rwilkin (talkcontribs) 00:26, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Are you proposing a new policy, or an amendment to an existing one? AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:17, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
Recursive definitions are used all the time, check any word in a dictionary and follow it along and you'll get a loop. Yet dictionaries are immensely useful. Wikipedia is a human endeavor and is intended to be read by other humans. It is not a database for machines. If good reliable sources in the real world do it then it is good enough for Wikipedia. In summary - no. Dmcq (talk) 07:51, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
Policies, regulations, principles and laws are types of rules, right? --NaBUru38 (talk)
Unfortunately, recursive definitions are a necessary evil. Unless there are a set of base terms that everyone knows at birth, every word has to be defined using other words, and you've got to start somewhere. -- King of ♠ 08:11, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

ISIL beheading videos[edit]

I would like to open a discussion about the inclusion of the actual video recordings of the ISIL beheadings in Wikipedia. (Full disclosure: I have not watched any of the videos.)

I don't know whether we should upload one or more videos to Wikimedia Commons or just provide an external link. I'd just feel uneasy if there were anything that Wikipedia couldn't print because most people would turn away. --RoyGoldsmith (talk) 16:23, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

  • YouTube has banned the videos. The British are actively removing them from the web. Any attempts to post them or link to them is re victimizing, facilitating and aiding terrorists (the videos are an act of terrorism) and is going to be reverted very quickly. (talk) 16:55, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

While I do not condone the elimination of historical documentation I do not think Wikipedia is the place for them. Chillum Need help? Type {{ping|Chillum}} 16:59, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

  • While Wikipedia is not censored, giving a terrorist organization a forum for their propaganda would definitely be UNDUE. There are lots of sources we can use to support information on ISIL, without the need to use these specific videos. Blueboar (talk) 18:03, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
For copyright reasons alone, the videos cannot not be uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons. Whether they ought to be used in the English Wikipedia under a fair-use justification is another matter (I don't personally think so, for the reasons already given by others). — Cheers, JackLee talk 19:05, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
From a copyright standpoint, I am 99% positive (though IANAL) that US would reject a copyright claim on these not only as a terrorism group but that it is from a country that US does not recognize copyright from. But keep in mind that Jimmy Wales has asked us, where reasonable, to still respect copyrights from these areas. They still exist, the fact that YT has banned that doesn't hide that fact (the videos likely fail TOS due to showing death)
For using the videos here under an NFC stand, they are not really going to meet the tight NFC conditions. While they are the subject of discussion, we don't need to see the motion of the video (even if it omitted the beheading parts). Even still shots are likely unnecessary. --MASEM (t) 19:18, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
I have been wondering how the copyright would work on these. For instance, it's not like IS could file a copyright infringement suit is it (or could they)? I uploaded [:File:Jihadi John.jpg] with a FUR but I'm wondering if there exists an argument that the videos are in the PD. Betty Logan (talk) 19:23, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure, but (1) I don't think a US court can reject a copyright claim simply because it feels the plaintiff is immoral or even evil (e.g., what about a video of a college hazing ritual, or a self-made video of the copyright holder engaging in a sexual act?); (2) I believe it has not been established where the videos were made, so it is premature to say that they are subject to the copyright laws of a country that the US does not recognize; and (3) whether or not anyone is likely to try and enforce a copyright claim is irrelevant to whether or not material is hosted on the Commons. There are several unknowns at the moment, so I would think the precautionary principle would kick in and prevent the videos from being hosted on the Commons. — Cheers, JackLee talk 19:41, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
I would think that the US would consider rejecting the copyright for a terrorist group which they consider non-nationals. But I would agree 100% that without any other guidance, we assume these are non-free images/videos. --MASEM (t) 19:47, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
Copyright certainly applies. Copyright laws exist in Iraq, Syria, and even in Afghanistan. The place of publication may also be relevant, but that would still be covered by copyright. We don't recognize IS as a state, and what its rules are on copyright would be an unknown anyway. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 22:58, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
However, were the image stored on US servers, US copyright law applies, and it does not respect the copyright of works published in those countries due to lack of reciprocal copyright agreements ala the Berne Convention. We could tag it free, and if someone there tried to sue for that, they would not succeed. That said, we have been asked that even in these cases that we respect the foreign copyright and tag as non-free if they have a valid foreign copyright. --MASEM (t) 23:28, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

These videos must not be included on Wikipedia for reasons that I hope are perfectly obvious. Consideration of their theoretical copyright status is not necessary. Newyorkbrad (talk) 23:05, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Agree completely with Newyorkbrad, and would also advise everyone to read this article. UK police have warned that even watching the content could constitute a terrorist offense, and it's possible the same may be true of other jurisdictions. We shouldn't place people in a position where they could face prosecution just for watching something on Wikipedia. This is Paul (talk) 12:59, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
"Perfectly obvious" is not a reason covered by our policies. HiLo48 (talk) 18:08, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
This is Paul, that is a severely problematical argument. Wikipedia contains a wide range of content that might be considered illegal by one or more countries across the globe. Furthermore any and all content in Wikipedia could be eliminated by fiat of any random country on earth passing a local law against it. Nope, that doesn't fly. Alsee (talk) 17:54, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Seriously? Well I guess I have to bow to the superior knowledge of someone with fewer than 500 edits. Actually, I'm not the only one to express this concern. You might also like to check out RedRose64's comments below. But as well as the legal issues of this, those advocating posting the material on Wikipedia really need to consider the ethics of such a move. Hasn't this whole thing been distressing enough for the families and freinds of these guys without them knowing it's on here for all to view. We don't need the footage to illustrate the article. There may be a case for posting a still–lots of newspapers have used such images after all, but that's a different matter. This is Paul (talk) 18:17, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
What if ISIS decided to release their videos with a free licence?
What if the Islamic State didn't sign the Berne Convention, so copying their videos wouldn't infringe any international law? --NaBUru38 (talk) 18:05, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
My logic for starting this discussion went something like this: The United States is about to engage in a war in which many people might die. One of the primary reasons for joining that war is because of American reaction to the beheading videos. I want to see at least one video so that I can make up my own mind. I don't want to view them off a horror/shock video website because the website may have altered them to increase their shock value. Wikipedia, being a encyclopedia, would be a good place to at least find a link to the unaltered videos. I therefore looked at the 2014 ISIL beheading incidents and James Foley articles but I didn't see any links. I then discussed this on the talk page and they suggested that "there needs to be a policy or Jimbo discussion to see how far our wp:Notcensored ideology goes against community values". So here I am.
@Chillum: In my opinion, Wikipedia may be the best place for the videos.
@Newyorkbrad: I respect you a lot but I don't understand. Could you please explain why you think that the videos must not be included on Wikipedia. --RoyGoldsmith (talk) 21:40, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
Not that this is any way a support to use the videos (I'm dead set against us including them), the claim by a foreign country that viewing them may be an illegal (as opposed to a request not to distribute them) reeks of censorship and I think that unless the legal aspect was perfectly clear, we would ignore such advice, or at least seek WMF's council if there was a pressing need to include them. But again, in this case, there is zero need for us to use the videos (they show nothing otherwise not implied by what beheading is, and they are shock value to begin with). --MASEM (t) 23:32, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

I continue to hope that the arguments against posting videos of people being beheaded by kidnappers are too obvious to warrant detailed discussion here. Under no circumstances will posting these videos be acceptable. The suggestion that the copyright status of the videos is the governing factor, under all the circumstances, is depraved. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:53, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

The argument that the reasons for not posting the video are obvious is a non-existent argument. Wikipedia must never stoop to that. Policy. Policy. Policy! HiLo48 (talk) 22:21, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
Actually, that particular argument is endorsed by policy. Even if there is no formally written rule barring this content, it should not be posted on Wikipedia, for reasons that really are obvious. Kahastok talk 22:36, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
Treat me as thick. Treat me as an ISIL supporter. I'm neither (IMHO), but there will be some ISIL supporters who use English language Wikipedia. They may well be thick, but we should cater for all our readers. Even if you think there's a policy that supports your view, at least post a link to that policy. And spell out the reasons. HiLo48 (talk) 22:53, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
Kahastok did cite ignore all rules, the general-purpose fallback position for people who can't admit that they have no leg to stand on. ‑‑Mandruss (talk) 23:02, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
Ah. Missed that. Glad I did. HiLo48 (talk) 23:15, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia does have a long standing policy on the use of primary sources and I would certainly argue that this is an example where we would best follow that policy to the letter. I would offer that following that policy will result in a rejection of the primary source in favor of the myriad of reliable secondary sources that are available.—John Cline (talk) 23:20, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
Maybe you should translate that into precisely what you think should and shouldn't go into the article. HiLo48 (talk) 23:25, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
We are not an archive, we are an encyclopedia. Though there are archives out there. Chillum Need help? Type {{ping|Chillum}} 21:55, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
@Chillum: or anybody else: Do you know of an archive (two or three would be better) that contains the beheading videos or how to find them. By "archive" I mean a website that is unlikely to remove the videos. --RoyGoldsmith (talk) 05:26, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Personally, no. Even if I did, I wouldn't disclose it here, because that could be construed as an offence under the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011, section 4, subsection (1). Even if I viewed the video without telling anybody else what its URL was, I could still be investigated; and my net provider could be required to disclose my browsing history under the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014. --Redrose64 (talk) 08:36, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
I should note that we had this conversation at length at Talk:James Foley (journalist), and ended up leaving it at a position where we mention the video, mention that it is available at (which has a large and quite stable collection of beheading videos, including Foley, Sotloff, and Haines) and via torrent, but didn't actually include the direct link. At Talk:Steven Sotloff we had a similar discussion, but because I had a good Dutch news source with the video online we left it with the video directly linked. In the former case, per complaints, I noted that the British government had warned about the video; in the latter I neglected this. This appears to have been stable for several weeks now. Including the links, or at least, under protest, instructions that are very nearly as effective as a direct link, is in accordance with what I want Wikipedia to be. Wikipedia is not a place where people go to look up what people here think is good or bad, commendable or reprehensible. It is a site to research the topic at hand! And all this imaginary ethical hand-wringing has nothing to do with Wikipedia's mission. Implausible threats by the British government that 1 in 4 Brits promptly ignored have nothing to do with the administration of Wikipedia. Claims of emotional harm or propaganda value have nothing to do with the site. We are not God. We should have faith - backed by inductive reasoning from countless examples from history - that allowing people to know the unvarnished truth will in the end lead to the best outcome. That is why we edit Wikipedia, why editing on any article doesn't go through a censor committee to decide whether knowing about that topic is good or bad, and a licensing committee to decide who is allowed to know about it and who should get a 404. Now yes, perhaps including these videos might do harm, even lethal harm; for example, they might inspire people to try to figure out where the videos shot, leading them to eventually join Bellingcat and perhaps in the future come up with some bit of actionable intel that gets some guy in ISIS killed from the air. (Is that a good or a bad thing? I lost track. Like I said, I'm not God. Like Werner von Braun, I say that's not my department!)
Now as for John Cline's claim that rejecting primary sources is policy, I think that is a bad misinterpretation and a horrible idea. The first thing any serious student of the sciences should have drilled into him is go to the primary sources, see for yourself. Secondary sources are useful guides, but the purpose of their guidance is eventually to get the student to the raw data, to evaluate it with fresh eyes and perhaps find fresh insights, or at least make a knowledgeable criticism of the opinions that exist about them. We should always back up secondary sources with important primary sources, because Wikipedia is but a way station to that final destination. Wnt (talk) 21:00, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Wnt, I did not say that rejecting primary sources is policy. I said we have a long standing policy on the use of primary sources, and offered that if it was followed, [this source] would be rejected by the very discussion that policy requires. Should I provide a link to the policy and perhaps copy paste the verbiage?—John Cline (talk) 21:46, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
@John Cline: I think you'll have to, because I don't see anything there (WP:PRIMARY) that tells us to reject a source, only unsourced and non-obvious interpretations of the primary data. Wnt (talk) 21:57, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
"Deciding whether primary, secondary or tertiary sources are appropriate on any given occasion is a matter of good editorial judgment and common sense, and should be discussed on article talk pages." In my opinion this source is not appropriate for inclusion.—John Cline (talk) 22:13, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
This seems a weak thing to cite, first because it is not specific to primary sources of this type, and more importantly, because editorial judgment of "appropriate" sources is referring to relevant or useful sources, not to a political litmus test wherein you assume it is "common sense" to exclude what you (indeed, we) disagree with. Wnt (talk) 03:27, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
What I assume is this alone: A discussion would reach a consensus not to include the video. Of course I could be wrong about that, but I don't think I am. All other things that you suggest I've said, I did not mean to imply.—John Cline (talk) 05:22, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Well, what you're talking about is getting a (hypothetical) majority of editors to exclude the video because they don't like it. Which is always what this sort of thing boils down to, but for some reason people always seem compelled to throw 3 to 6 random policy shortcuts at us first, in a pretense that some sort of established policy is responsible even though the real established policy is against censorship. But it's still an abuse - editors are supposed to use their editorial judgment to improve the encyclopedia rather than to stamp their opinions on it. Wnt (talk) 21:06, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
I rarely categorize editorial decisions as censorship but refusing to give readers access to videos for political reasons, even obvious and uncontroversial political reasons like not supporting terrorists, is what WP:NOTCENSORED is all about. If the videos fail NFC, crash the servers, or are of undue weight and insufficient value to an article, then a decision not to use them in an article is all well within editors' discretion. However, a categorical refusal to show videos of terrorists killing people is a decision that some human knowledge are two objectionable to present. - Wikidemon (talk) 22:27, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm not against posting such videos (with a warning for graphical content and the fact that waching the video is illegal in certain countries). The relevant argument for Wikipedia is that ISIL has become infamous for the beheadings, so they can in principle be posted. In extreme cases however, we also need to consider the harm done to society when posting information here. In this case, there is no harm despite what some authorities have said. In the past similar videos posted by groups affiliated by Al Qa'ida have led to complaints from the Al Qa'ida leadership for being too violent. And it seems that ISIL has now also modified its tactics. Bad organizations will do bad things, there is little harm in showing the bad behavior of these groups.
Note that what I'm saying is entirely uncontroversial in case of the coverage of WWII and the crimes committed by the Nazis. Count Iblis (talk) 22:43, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
So true. Guillotine (and many other articles) shows a painting of the beheading of Marie Antoinette. Paintings were the equivalent in those days of a video today. Full colour. Very graphic. It shows one of the "beheaders" running around with her detached head on the end of a pole, while another collects the blood gushing out of what's left of her body in a bucket. I see no moral or ethical difference between that painting and the ISIL videos. HiLo48 (talk) 23:18, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
The difference is surely that Marie Antoinette has no living close relatives. These journalists, aid workers, etc. do. --Redrose64 (talk) 23:25, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
OK, there could be something in that observation, but please, what Wikipedia policy covers it? The policy area seems to be being wldly ignored in this discussion. It's all been about feelings, and "Well the reason's obvious!", with no attempt to put it into words. It would be very wrong to build an encyclopaedia based on what some current editors feel is nice or not. Many Muslims have massive moral objection to our inclusion of images of Mohammed, but we still do it. HiLo48 (talk) 23:38, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Anything that concerns living people falls within WP:BLP. That is policy, and one of the strongest that we have. --Redrose64 (talk) 23:47, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
I really think that WP:BLP is stretching things a bit. Obviously the victim of the earliest beheading has been dead a while now. HiLo48 (talk) 00:56, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
From WP:BLP#Recently dead or probably dead: ... the policy can extend for an indeterminate period beyond the date of death—six months, one year, two years at the outside. Such extensions would apply particularly to contentious or questionable material about the dead that has implications for their living relatives and friends, such as in the case of ... a particularly gruesome crime. If this crime wasn't gruesome, I really don't know what would be. In the lead section to the same page we find Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid: it is not Wikipedia's job to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about people's lives; the possibility of harm to living subjects must always be considered when exercising editorial judgment.. These videos are sensationalism. --Redrose64 (talk) 11:35, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Streisand effect. These kinds of debates probably arouse curiosity and anti-censorship sentiment that leads to more people watching and distributing the videos. Think of what effect that has on the family and friends of the victims! For reasons that are obvious, therefore, I think Wikimedia should host the videos. Yev Yev (talk) 00:23, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Did you mean "should" or "shouldn't"? And please drop the silly "reasons that are obvious" thing. Wikipedia is read by people from many cultural backgrounds in many different places, probably including people who think these beheadings were a good idea. (Remember that we've had a narrator of at least one of them with a strong London accent.) Your "obvious" reasons may not be obvious to everyone. HiLo48 (talk) 00:56, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Perhaps we could upload some videos of people being raped, for the rape article, while we're about it.--Ykraps (talk) 00:34, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

As long as they're adults, it would be legal. Yev Yev (talk) 00:49, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Yev Yev, you meant to preface that with "I'm not a lawyer", right? I'm not a lawyer either, but a quick search showed me that in many places it's not legal to post images of people who are naked or engaged in sex acts without their consent. Additionally, even if it were legal, it would definitely violate Wikipedia:Image use policy#Privacy rights. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:21, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Before this thread goes any further, perhaps I ought to say that I was using sarcasm to illustrate a point; and the point was not whether it would be legal or not. The question here is not whether we can, it's whether we should!--Ykraps (talk) 01:02, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Rule of thumb: if we can, we should. Yev Yev (talk) 01:28, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
So, even if our actions cause pain and suffering to other human beings, we should do it simply because we can? Such a lack of social responsibility. Presumably you are a child?--Ykraps (talk) 09:03, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Many Muslims (not just ISIL members) find seeing images of Mohammed painful. We include images of Mohammed. Do you care? HiLo48 (talk) 11:38, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Of course I care, although I accept that on occassion a potentially offensive image is required to illustrate a point. What is being advocated by Yev Yev, if you bothered to read his post, is doing it simply because we can. If you think such a video will enhance an article, please explain how! I have never heard reviewers at FAC demanding the inclusion of a video to graphically illustrate something that has already been adequately described in the article. Do you really not understand what an execution by decapitation is, without seeing a fucking picture!--Ykraps (talk) 12:34, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
This isn't about me and what I understand, although I've never seen a beheading, so no, I would have to assume several things about such an event, and assuming is dangerous. Again I refer to earlier times. Beheading and hangings etc. in Europe used to be popular public events, where the masses would come for their amusement, and incidentally, education. Many seem to want to avoid that education now. And we're an encyclopaedia! We are precisely the place where such information SHOULD be.
Your "we used to have public executions 200 years ago, so it must be a good idea" argument is unconvincing. We used to send 9 year old children to work in factories. Do you think that was a good idea? Again I ask, what value will it add to the article? Certainly nothing educational, as you purport. We all know what beheading means. It would be less ridiculous if you suggested adding a video of someone mashing potatoes, to the mashed potato article.--Ykraps (talk) 22:55, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
It's really pathetic when someone who is losing a debate misrepresents my argument, even putting words quite different from what I actually said in quote marks as if I had actually said those words, and then argues against them and describes them as ridiculous. Yes, those words are ridiculous, but they are your words, not mine. HiLo48 (talk) 23:28, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't think I have misrepresented your argument at all. You appear to be saying that people can learn something from watching an execution. I keep asking what it is you think they will learn, and you keep avoiding the question. If you have nothing else to add, why don't you come up with a proposal that we can vote on.--Ykraps (talk) 09:42, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Of course you have misrepresented me! Only a fucking moron would think otherwise. I get really sick of people who think they can claim I said something I didn't say, argue against it, and believe they're achieving something positive. You give me the shits. Piss off. HiLo48 (talk) 10:00, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
HiLo, you said, "Beheading and hangings etc. in Europe used to be popular public events, where the masses would come for their amusement, and incidentally, education. Many seem to want to avoid that education now." As no-one here thinks an education is a bad idea; you must have meant it was a good idea, and that by watching these videos today, we can learn something. Please feel free to add more insults, it only shows that it isn't me losing the debate.--Ykraps (talk) 10:17, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for finally quoting me verbatim, instead of making up some other bullshit to argue against. You are improving. An apology for your earlier misquotation would be nice, but I know I won't get it. So you can still piss off. You're adding nothing here. (Oh, and BTW, my country has a government today that is clearly making the getting of a decent education harder, so you're wrong on that count too. Uneducated voters are easier to fool.) HiLo48 (talk) 11:20, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
You're concern about being mis-quoted is unnecessary; this is not a spoken conversation, your comments are all here for everyone to read. The summary of your argument in double inverted commas was not meant to be a direct quote but rather a title for your argument. I accept that it may have been better to use single inverted commas, but many English variations do not differentiate between the two, so I doubt whether that would have made a difference. I have no idea what I have said to prompt the comment about education in your country, so I can't help you there. If you wish to play the injured party, might I suggest that you don't call people, "fucking morons" or tell them to "piss off". Now, in the interests of keeping this debate focussed, perhaps you could tell me why you think these videos are educational.--Ykraps (talk) 12:16, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
It's clear we are working at different levels of comprehension here. I have already answered everything you have just asked. You misrepresented my argument. And you cannot even see how. I'm sorry, but you are not dealing well with the complexities of this. You should probably give up and leave it to those who do understand. HiLo48 (talk) 21:39, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I am sorry if you find this complex, for me it is quite simple: If we are going to add something to an article, it needs to improve it in some way. You say that the videos have some educational value, and I keep asking, in what respect they are educational. Perhaps you could point out the exact sentence where you answered my query.--Ykraps (talk) 22:15, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

It's not worth trying with you. You are one of a bunch of editors who don't like the videos, so you cannot see any reason why a global encyclopaedia should include them. Please read that again. "Global encyclopaedia". Versus you don't think they're very nice. Hmmmm. HiLo48 (talk) 23:29, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
We're a global encyclopedia, but we're not a history book or a video archival service. Big difference. --MASEM (t) 23:48, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
In some cases, victims of crimes or their family members may be in favor of making such videos public. There are e.g. women disfigured by acid attacks who have posted their pictures. Recently a video has been posted by the BBC showing a deadly motorbike accident filmed from the helmet camera of the victim. The mother of the victim wanted this to be made public with the support of the local police to warn people of the risks we face on the road. Count Iblis (talk) 01:11, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
HiLo, I hardly think you can claim that you have "tried" with me. You have made no attempt to answer my question at all! Whether I think the videos are "not very nice" is not part of my argument. I have already said that I would be in favour of adding something unpleasant if it brought some value to the article. I know we are an encyclopaedia, that is why I am keen that everything added to it is educational, and that is why I keep asking; what is it you think people will learn from watching these videos.--Ykraps (talk) 05:12, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
  • WP:NOTFREESPEECH, however, if someone wants beheading videos they are welcome to host them on their own website. Johnuniq (talk) 03:08, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
WP:NOTFREESPEECH does not prohibit the posting of these videos. In fact, I don't really see its relevance. HiLo48 (talk) 03:13, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
No, but many other strong reasons do apply. Non free content and BLP are just two.--Mark Miller (talk) 03:30, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Non-free content is a technical reason in an area where I have limited knowledge. The discussion on it above was anything but conclusive. BLP is marginal here. Will it be OK to post them later, when the time after death has increased? HiLo48 (talk) 03:34, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Hilo, though BLP has been widely employed for arbitrary PR spin, it does not actually prohibit citing well known material, but specifically encourages it (WP:WELLKNOWN). Wnt (talk) 03:51, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
I wouldn't trust Mark Miller's expert take on it. I remember a few years back (as Amadscientist) he managed to filibuster Wikilawyer to death my Fair Use image of a screenshot from Innocence of Muslims as broadcast by an Egyptian TV station (which oddly decided to blur out the face of a woman while leaving the actor playing "Muhammad" depicted, never did understand that) claiming that NFCC criteria banned the use of the image because he didn't like it. I don't think I've even bothered to try to post any NFCC image for any reason ever since then, and generally advised against others trying either. I think if we let people like him have his way we'd end up burning down Wikipedia altogether, because letting people see things is just bad, and walk off in bland acceptance that we only have the freedom to view anything if we're willing to pay somebody for the right to see it. Wnt (talk) 03:41, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
From a NFCC perspective (and ignoring the shock value), the videos fail our requirements particularly NFCC#1 in that the "content" of the videos (and speaking in the sense of motion video, not still frames) can be simply described by text and that the visual content of the videos do not significant aid in the reader's understanding of these. A still (like the one I thought I saw floating around here on WP of Sotloff) is reasonable if editors want to include that to give the impression of what's going on but we don't need to actually see and hear the motions to understand how these videos are presented by ISIL to the world at large. Also, we would not allow the full vidoes under NFCC anyway - a max of 10% of the length - which makes them even less relevant since there's very little motion going on in them. --MASEM (t) 13:29, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
An gruesome example of potential "Fair use" would be the actual knife-strokes of the James Foley decapitation. Many people, myself included, were skeptical when this video came out that he had actually been decapitated at that time -- rather, I am suspicious that his captors somehow killed him in an unplanned way (such as during an attempted escape or if they freaked out about possible rescue) and pulled out an archived mock execution with some vague text to make the video so they would sound like they had kept things under control. A cropped close-up/slow-motion of the actual knife strokes that were discussed in reliable sources would be a limited and relevant Fair Use. Wnt (talk) 19:42, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps, yes, if there was a thorough discussion on the issues of possible fraud with that video and not something that you or other editors suspected and need to show the video to confirm (that would be OR otherwise to doubt the video w/o any other RS making the same statement of doubt). --MASEM (t) 23:48, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

ISIL have been declared a terrorist organisation by many countries around the world, including the US, UK and Australia. These videos are clearly terrorist propaganda, designed to recruit and instil fear. On a moral ground, I don't think wikipedia should be hosting terrorist material for active terrorist groups, when the mainstream media is refusing to host and distribute it. As I wrote at Talk:James Foley (journalist), the police in the UK have warned that downloading, or redistributing this material is illegal under anti-terrorism laws. Clicking on a link containing this material is not a good idea, and when the issue was raised at James Foley, it was a torrent. Downloading a torrent would have resulted in me redistributing the video, which could result in severe naughty points. One of the five pillars says anyone can use, edit, and redistribute, with this on the servers, people would not be able to redistribute in the UK.
On a policy issue, wikimedia and wikipedia are based in the US, and US, Florida and California laws apply, this includes the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act outlaws providing material support for terrorism, and when most other mainstream organisations seem to have refused to host them, wikipedia choosing to could count as material support. If wikipedia does host these videos, then it should get proper legal advice, until then we should not. Martin451 00:29, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

These are all good points and should be revisited if you decide to upload the beheading video(s) to Common sometime in the future. For discussions about how to include the videos without uploading them, please see the next subsection. --RoyGoldsmith (talk) 07:01, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

ISIL beheading in external links only[edit]

I'm starting a new subsection here. Although I'd prefer a less-gory name, as long as isn't likely to remove the ISIL videos, let's concentrate on providing external links and leave the possible updating of Wiki-Commons for another day. If you agree, this removes all talk about copyrights from this discussion.

Wnt, I finally found your link to the Sotloff video (in a inline citation, not an external link, to The Post Online authored by Bert Brussen, et. al. -- that's reference 44 right now) by parsing your first posting to this discussion. Any reader who doesn't go through the references in the Sotloff article entry-by-entry will probably miss it.

Couldn't we devise some kind of notice to surround an external link to the video(s), just to make sure that no one clicks on the link without severe warnings? An external link is really the place where most readers would look for it, if it's not already in the article itself. In particular, we ought to have a link in the Foley article because that article gets into the possibility that the video is fake. Also, all of the actual "beheadings" by ISIL are apparently done off-camera and the victims are then shown seconds later with their heads severed. This is one of the aspects on which readers should be able to make up their own minds, rather than trusting someone else who has seen the video. --RoyGoldsmith (talk) 06:06, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Ah, a deflection exercise. Nobody above has actually given a sound, agreed, policy based reason for not including them in Wikipedia. So why this proposal?HiLo48 (talk) 07:33, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
We generally have a rule against disclaimers of all sorts on content that might offend people for religious, sexual, spoiler, or other reasons. I have in fact watched a couple of these videos and, though the message and delivery are repugnant, do not personally find them nearly as disturbing as the ISIS videos of mass murders of captured soldiers, the videos of the World Trade Center suicides, Holocaust videos, or a number of other things. Why would one shocking subject be more worthy of censorship than any other? - Wikidemon (talk) 09:00, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
No-one has given a sound reason as to why we should include them either. Given that this is an encyclopaedia, how will incorporating such a video improve an article?--Ykraps (talk) 09:30, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Ykraps I see no reason why these videos should be included. Wikipedia is a encyclopaedia, not a horror comic. None of the above statements give any sound reason why they should be included. David J Johnson (talk) 09:44, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
You have answered your own question. We include them because we are an encyclopaedia. HiLo48 (talk) 11:40, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't picture external links being a useful way to note the video. To begin with, WP:EL is such an anal-retentive checklist that by and large, even non-controversial links that are useful and educational usually get deleted; it's scarcely worth bothering with them. There must be a hundred people who like to go around deleting them out of articles even when they are simply listed there because nobody took the time to integrate them inline into the content. Which brings us to the other issue, which is that usually when a beheading video is a relevant source, it can be used as a reference, and almost always inline. While I highly value primary sources, I don't see a need to pull these particular ones out and showcase them as external links rather than leaving them as references in the relevant section. My goal here really is to make a well-referenced article, not to shock people just for the heck of it, so there's nothing special about these as opposed to other sources in the articles. (That may be different if the article were James Foley beheading video, but despite suggestions such an article be created, I think that almost always it is more practical to merge with the bio because you'll end up rehashing most of the bio in such an article anyway) Wnt (talk) 11:02, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
@Wnt: Just to make sure, on your "other issue" you're suggesting that, rather than make the connection in the external links section, we insert the video's url and description (say via {{cite web}}) inside of a standard inline citation. This would mean we'd have a footnote listing, say as the publisher. Is this what you mean? Wouldn't this cause someone scanning an article's references to revert this incite as an unreliable source, without checking any further? --RoyGoldsmith (talk) 00:44, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
@RoyGoldsmith: See James Foley (journalist) for how I handled this. A reference doesn't have to be one simple cite web; you can give more detail. Now it is true that if someone deliberately tries to be obtuse, i.e. does not look for the video, does not compare different places the video is accessible to see if they are the same, and does not look at the talk page to see that I had viewed the LiveLeak version so was able to compare the two, and does not give any credit to Bestgore comments that might disagree, they could claim that the video there 'might be a fake version' despite the lack of any reason to think so, but I don't think this would be in good faith at that point. Wnt (talk) 00:56, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── There's a request above for a "sound, agreed, policy based reason" for omitting videos of people being murdered. The most relevant policy is WP:IUP. IUP prohibits the inclusion of images (including videos) of identifiable people "that unreasonably intrude into the subject's private or family life" and to protect the subject's privacy in general.

Note these two points:

  • There is no limitation on living vs dead people: this long-standing policy (which is largely copied from Commons) normally requires the subject's consent even if the person has died since then.
  • If you check reliable sources on the subject, the act of dying is widely considered to be an intimate, personal, and private act. I've found no sources that say that being murdered, or dying through any means, is a public activity akin to walking down the street or standing up in court. Therefore, if we're prohibiting non-consensual images of the person engaged in private or intimate acts in general, then the moment of death certainly qualifies under this policy.

The policy explicitly says that editors must use their best judgment after considering all the facts and circumstances. For example, although pictures of identifiable naked people require consent, a person who gets naked as part of a publicity stunt can be presumed to have consented to it.

Since this sort of thing comes up every now and again, I'm going to propose on the policy talk page an addition of people who are extremely ill or dying. I'm far more concerned about the situation of people with medical problems than with this debate (where the consensus is already solidly against the videos). I hope to see you all there, with your civil and commonsense ideas for improving this aspect of the policy, especially as it applies to other, far more common situations. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:38, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

@WhatamIdoing: Unless I'm missing something, WP:IUP only applies to pictures uploaded to Wikimedia. This subsection discusses if and how to include the videos by some means other than uploading them; for example, via reference or external links.
I have stayed away for a couple of days and it looks like things are quieting down. (I'd like to get this right. Whether we resolve our problems tomorrow or a month from now is a distant second priority for me.) For anybody who's still interested: Do you think we have consensus now for adding just the Foley video from Bestgore as an inline citation to the James Foley (journalist) article? (We can tackle other videos for other articles later.) Is there any new objection? Should I set up a WP:RFC? (and/or WP:ANI and/or WP:DR/N?) --RoyGoldsmith (talk) 07:28, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Non-admin access to deleted page histories[edit]

Hi there. I'm an experienced editor here at the suggestion of RHaworth. I'd like to propose a new category of user rights that allows designated non-admins to view edit histories for deleted pages. Admins could grant this user right on a discretionary basis. The relevant policy is WP:DP#Access to deleted pages, help page is Help:Page history#Moved and deleted pages.

For the last few weeks I've been working on a cleanup effort of spammy and spam-like content that may have been generated by a large network of paid socks or meats. I've only just begun. So far I've focused on the content, and I was planning on dealing with the conduct issues at the end. However, I've run into a bit of a conundrum relating to article deletion. I've nominated some of the most problematic articles for CSD (a mix of G11 and G12), and I've had 5-10 accepted so far. (I don't have access to a list as I only learned about CSD logging just now.) A few other articles I've tagged (advert, notability, etc.) have been subsequently nominated for AFD by DGG. But, as these pages are deleted, I lose the ability to gather the evidence necessary for SPI.

RHaworth has suggested nominating me for RFA but I doubt I have the requisite experience for that. DGG has suggested putting off all deletions until the SPI process is complete. That could certainly be done if necessary but I believe it wouldn't be beneficial to the cleanup effort or the project as a whole. There is also no way for us to stop other editors from nominating pages for deletion.

A note about my proposal: The stated rationale for the current policy is to hide defamatory or other legally suspect material from the public. Slightly expanding the set of people who can view this material from (all admins) to (all admins plus a few more approved individuals who have a justified need for access) would not undermine this rationale. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 18:02, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

It's been discussed before, but I'm afraid it'll never fly. What you'll be told is that to be able to view deleted material the WMF has insisted that you go through an RfA, or at the very least an RfA-like process. It's complete nonsense of course, but you'll be facing an uphill battle to change anyone's mind. Eric Corbett 18:06, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
It is hardly nonsense. Sensitive information needs to be deleted all the time and there are legal issues with giving out the right to see deleted content willy nilly. Chillum Need help? Type {{ping|Chillum}} 18:14, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
Chillum, the proposal isn't isn't to give out the right willy nilly. It would require a justified request (something I can't imagine many people making) and could be reversed by consensus. We could also set whatever preconditions the community and WMF wish to impose. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 18:22, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
The group (from a technical standpoint) already exists: WP:Researcher. But it's not assignable by admins, and not likely to be made so. Most of the links at that page aren't useful anymore, but the process appears to have been "submit an application to the WMF". Anomie 11:35, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
You have your opinion and I have mine. Let's leave it at that. Eric Corbett 18:16, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the comments both. Eric, can you point me to where this was shot down? Also, what about an alternative proposal in which some deleted pages are flagged to be hidden from the public (such as those containing defamatory content) and others are not? --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 18:17, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
That would require a software change, so that won't happen either. The logical fallacy underpinning the established view as expressed by Chillum above is that neither administrators nor those voting them into office are required to identify themselves to the WMF, so there's no vetting in place anyway. Here's the relevant discussion anyway.[20] Eric Corbett 18:21, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

How about blanking rather than deleting the pages, posting a template that the edit histories are being preserved temporarily for an investigation, and having the pages protected in that state? Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:55, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

How about filing the SPI right now? If it's a spamming ring, focused on a specific IP range, we can shut it down and likely have the IPs globally blocked for an extended period. People forget we're not the only project getting spammed by these folks half the time. Meanwhile, more accounts might well be being created even as we speak, creating more mess to be cleaned up. I really don't see any benefit in retaining these pages (which will still be google-searchable) in any form if they're to be deleted. Perhaps making a list of the accounts and articles will be useful. Risker (talk) 23:42, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
You make some strong arguments, Risker, for why I should focus on the SPI ahead of the content cleanup. I'll think them over. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 04:28, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Picking up on NYB's suggestion, we often do something like that in copyright investigations. cf. this page as an example. I would not be comfortable using the template, and holding off clearing it until a SPI is completed; although it does take time to clear copyright issues, if we ever deliberately retained them longer than was necessary, it might raise issues. However, I will argue that copyright infringements are not ideal for studying behavioral evidence, as, by definition, they are someone else's work (I admit to no experience with SPIs, so I may be over stating this). However, spammy articles might well have useful behavioral information, and I do not see the same legal issue with longer retentions, so I am thinking that the code from the copyvio template could be modified to blank a spammy article, through in a noindex at the same time, so no one is likely to find it, or easily see it, yet the history is available to non-admin SPI investigators.--S Philbrick(Talk) 00:58, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
It occurs to me that there might be some opposition to having an article in main space with a noindex; if others have the same concern, the article, if qualified for deletion, could be moved to draft space, thus out of main space, then noindexed, and could sit for some time while an investigation is done. I would still add the template to hide it.--S Philbrick(Talk) 01:04, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
My understanding is that NOINDEX has no tangible effect in mainspace; so, yes, moving to a different namespace would be necessary. –xenotalk 03:51, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Just file the SPI first, then tag the pages for deletion. It won't matter if the pages are deleted in the meantime since most people handling SPIs are admins anyways. -- King of ♠ 07:42, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

My approach to promotionalism to to delete the articles, not worry about where they may be coming from; my approach to paid editing is careful & skeptical scrutiny of the sort of articles that paid editors characteristically work on. I personally do not work on spi for a variety of reasons, but I want to make sure I am not interfering with those people who are. (And, fwiw, I think DrF is well qualified by his good judgment and understanding of policy for an administrator, and I urge him to let me nominate him. Some of the work he is doing would indeed be facilitating by having access to deleted articles, and this is the only way.) DGG ( talk ) 09:07, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Find a Grave proposal: summary points[edit]


I have been working to clarify when (rarely) and when not to use Find a Grave - and came to a summary of key points, from a discussion at on the template talk page. This seems fairly congruent with what is posted on Wikipedia:External_links/Perennial_websites#Find-a-Grave, except that there are clearly definitions rather than "some people", "some times" kind of statements.

The following were invited to discuss the matter:

... but I think that this has likely been such a contentious issue for awhile that it's kind of died on the vine. My intention was to see whether the Template talk page could be updated - so that there's at least one page that summarizes some specifics - and that page seemed to make sense since it deals with the two potential scenarios: references and external links.

My goal is clarification - I have no stake in the end result.

Any idea about how, whether, etc. to proceed? Did I bring this to the right place?

Thanks!--CaroleHenson (talk) 02:49, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Whenever I see mention of "Find a Grave" on-wiki, I still am rather ashamed that this project retains WP:FAG as a shortcut to it. Tarc (talk) 02:56, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Find a Grave is user generated content. How is it different than using any other crowd sourced reference?--Mark Miller (talk) 03:15, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Considering it is a redirect to Wikipedia:Find a Grave famous people it seems clear that should be WP:FAGFP but what do I know...better to offend people than to be accurate.--Mark Miller (talk) 03:19, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Are we really going to go through another long RfD process regarding this issue? - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 03:22, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
As the last one closed as a no consensus, maybe we'd have a better shot this time around, overcoming the libertarian flag-wavers and free-culture fanatics. There's also the similarly absurd WP:Cum, kept for the same rationales. Tarc (talk) 03:30, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
We also have WP:JAP, WP:WOP, WP:DICK, and WP:QUEER from whose point of view do we draw the line? Per WP:NOTCENSORED and WP:DISC there are bound to be things on Wikipedia people don't like. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 03:33, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for proving that you're part of the problem, Kid. Tarc (talk) 03:48, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
If the problem is seeing that redirects don't get deleted needlessly by those who want to choose what most offends them on Wikipedia then so be it. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 03:51, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
It is offensive and it is inaccurate and seems to actually be something used for the shock factor in this case. It isn't going to change and you are not going to shut people up that are offended. It really is that simple.--Mark Miller (talk) 03:58, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Put it up for deletion at RfD if you feel so strongly about it. Reyk YO! 22:12, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

[edit conflict]

Again, no stake here, but here's my understanding at a high level:
  • References: No biographical information can be used. What can be used are memorial data from photographs of gravestones or supplied by the VA and American and UK War Graves Commissions -- if there aren't any exclusions, like posting of copyright infringement info on the page.
  • External links: There's a lot of exclusions to go into - the situations are very limited. But the summary at least spells it out all in one place.
The point of getting the information posted is to make guidelines clear + make it real clear what to do when the references cannot be used. Right now, there are users following the instructions, which are to remove to replace with a reliable source. If it's removed, without a citation tag, then it looks like the following source covers the information. Since generally the only "new" data that would come from Find a Grave would be the cemetery. It's not likely that the following source had that info.--CaroleHenson (talk) 03:27, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't know anything about a previous AfD process, I mean specific to Find a Grave. I'm just trying to get info documented which limits the use of the Find a Grave template more clearly than the existing language.--CaroleHenson (talk) 03:30, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately it all depends. For example, if a known-good editor does many useful edits and happens to add a couple of find-a-grave links, others would probably conclude that there was good reason to leave them as is. By contrast, if someone focuses on adding such links, others would probably conclude they were junk and should be removed. It is extremely unlikely that a formula can be produced that specifies when find-a-grave links are reasonable. Johnuniq (talk) 04:42, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Johnuniq, That's a good point! If that's the case and it's better to never use Find a Grave, then why don't we say so on the Find a Grave template, etc.? Thanks!--CaroleHenson (talk) 05:25, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Staying on point this time, the reason may well be that the template itself should not exist and that having it as an option only seems to give the excuse to those wanting to use Find A Grave as a source. If we have the template to use...its going to be used as just an excuse why we should be able to use Find A Grave. Another reason may well be that Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources is only a guideline and not policy and easily ignored (not being flippant. Many editor do ignore it and use all manner of sourcing). Really there is nothing on Find A grave that is useful as a source. If the headstone has the information than that is the source. Should that be used as the inline citation? Is using tombstone information on Wikipedia a reliable source? Do we even have a format for an inline citation to use such information? If not...should there be?--Mark Miller (talk) 10:20, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree with all your points, Mark Miller. I can more easily find information, for instance on questionable / unreliable sources like encyclopedias, peerage information, etc.
Having the template is what made it seem right to me to use it for date of birth, date of death, and cemetery information. It makes sense that if it didn't make it into print, then it's not notable enough to use.--CaroleHenson (talk) 14:39, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes. If it isn't in a secondary reliable source, or primary source or tertiary source, we shouldn't be adding the content. But...."should not" falls short of policy. We allow too much leeway in these instances but I don't see it improving. I do, however, support the idea that the template should be deleted.--Mark Miller (talk) 22:05, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
What if I drafted something for the Template:Find a Grave page that was sterner about not using the template (thinking back about an initial comment about a long, drawn out AfD discussion sometime in the not too distant past)? Or, someone else-if there's a problem with me doing it-draft something sterner about not using it so that there's better guidance about this?--CaroleHenson (talk) 22:39, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Minor nit: Mark, every source, including unpublished ones, can be categorized as primary, secondary, or tertiary. A gravestone is normally considered a primary source, as are most sources whose natural citation template is {{cite sign}}. It's not an WP:Independent source, and it is a self-published one, and it has none of the characteristics of reliable sources (reliable sources may be primary, secondary, or tertiary), so it requires a little judicious handling. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:03, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Proposed copyedit and layout change at WP:AVOIDYOU[edit]

There is a copyedit and layout proposal at "Avoiding personal attacks". Your participation would be appreciated. Lightbreather (talk) 00:36, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

As a high school teacher I have been lenient with students using Wikipedia. The Neil Tyson edits have me concerned.[edit]

To be honest I'm not a big fan of my students using Wikipedia for research. But after reading about the scrubbing of facts as to what things Neil Tyson as actually said, I'm considering banning Wikipedia sources entirely.

The whole point of research it to create a solid, defensible, position. Now, my students cannot honestly say that data is apparently "whole", and thus cannot be defended at all.

So for now, in my class anyway, no more Wikipedia in the bibliography until this policy is cleared up. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:C:AB00:E3D:3DD4:AD30:7D76:9029 (talk) 14:55, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Hi there. You'll be hard pressed to find someone here who thinks your students should be citing Wikipedia! Even Wikipedia doesn't think Wikipedia is a reliable source. Instead, encourage your students to use the references cited in a Wikipedia article as the source of their information. Sam Walton (talk) 15:00, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Well they should not be relying on Wikipedia, in the opinion of many, including me. Using it for background research is often quite helpful, however. It would be good for students to learn to question Wikipedia as with anything, then further research, question, question, dig further, etc.Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:16, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Actually, now that I've worked out who Neil Tyson is, and what we are talking about, the extremely lengthy discussion of the matter on the talk page is a pretty good case study in the issues surrounding covering such a controversy, if a bit long and complicated for high school students. Is it really true that "the whole point of research is to create a solid, defensible, position"? Hmmm. Johnbod (talk) 15:46, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Come on. Help us all. Who the hell is Neil Tyson. What did he do? And so what? (That link is to a massive slab of text. Educate those of us from a different part of the world.) HiLo48 (talk) 19:11, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
He apparently said something about Dubya, but c'mon, who hasn't? --Redrose64 (talk) 20:00, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Ah, so he is alleged to have misrepresented Dubya. Yeah, well, people misrepresent me on Wikipedia Talk pages all the time, especially when they are losing a debate to me, and there's never any consequence for them. HiLo48 (talk) 00:22, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
We also have Wikipedia:Risk disclaimer. --Redrose64 (talk) 15:51, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
@IP. What you should be doing is teaching students that Wikipedia is an excellent starting point for research but is not in and of itself a source that should be cited in their final presentations. Carrite (talk) 18:55, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia is an excellent source for sources. HiLo48 (talk) 19:11, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Agreed. Wikipedia, a tertiary source, should never be cited directly. The sources used on the articles should be cited instead. Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 07:44, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
I think that, with the vastly increased amount of attention people seem to pay to various types of "credit" nowadays, at some point we're going to see teachers demand that students not merely list their sources, but also somehow acknowledge what sources they got the sources from - i.e. to cite all the searches performed, on which engines, etc. There is a peripheral encroachment of the political concept (which I vehemently oppose) of database copyright; copying Wikipedia's list of sources verbatim in order might be a regular copyright issue but copying even a chunk might eventually end up under that rigamorale if we don't fight it. But the right reason to consider such a move is one of ascertainment bias -- in other words, if Wikipedia POV-pushers have slanted the article and taken out most of what one side has to say (which nowadays, some highly placed administrators have begun to treat as their civic duty!), then the student's paper is going to reek of this inherited slant.
Wikipedia may validly be cited either for that purpose, or if an outside body has reviewed and passed a specific revision (this is under discussion at WP:MED currently, I think). But in every case the student who references Wikipedia should cite a specific revision (with "oldid=" in the URL) rather than the ever-changing topmost version. Wnt (talk) 14:21, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Assuming good faith that you are a teacher and not someone trolling us, you are absolutely correct in barring Wikipedia as a source. As others have pointed out, Wikipedia is not a reliable source. In fact, we even have a policy against using sources which cite Wikipedia (see WP:CIRCULAR). So, I absolutely agree with your decision, regardless of how the content dispute at Neil deGrasse Tyson plays out. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 14:51, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
The OP should be referred to Wikipedia:Education program. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 15:00, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
  • If your concerned about a source covering the whole story, then Wikipedia is certainly inadequate. For various reasons material on Wikipedia may not be covered, and in general if you want students to get a big picture then looking up many sources should be required. Also user generated content from wikis are in general not reliable sources, but the reason we outright ban information from Wikipedia to be cited is to avoid circular citing; reliability always depends on context and in some cases even user-generated content from wikis is allowed on Wikipedia to be cited. Information on Wikipedia can(and should) always have superior sources which can be used as references, and if a student cites Wikipedia then they should be prepared to defend why they did so. An example I can think of where it would be appropriate to cite Wikipedia is in the case of an obscure topic where the only sources covering the topic are behind paywalls and inaccessible to students. It is inappropriate and dishonest to cite a source for information if you can't read the source yourself, and in such circumstances you should cite Wikipedia as citing the source for that information with the understanding that Wikipedia's representation of the information from that source may be dubious.AioftheStorm (talk) 15:45, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Like AQFK above, I'm a little suspicious that a real teacher posted the above. Years ago when I was in school (admittedly roughly contemporaneous with the end of the Middle Ages & after they stopped teaching Latin in high school) we were repeatedly told Do not cite encyclopedias in your research papers -- with that kind of emphasis. Part of the reason was that the teachers wanted us to learn how to do research & maybe evaluate sources on our own. The rest of the reason was that all encyclopedias are notoriously inaccurate -- even the venerable Encyclopedia Britannica. Yes, an encyclopedia is good for looking up facts like the capital of Paraguay & how many bushels of corn were harvested in 1965, & if it features signed articles then those articles might provide a useful, if dated & opinionated, introduction to the subject. (Although you run the risk that the article has been abridged or radically pruned to make room for more trendy articles.) But if you want to truly know a subject, you don't limit your research to an article in an encyclopedia -- although it would be nice if we could accept that no encyclopedia will ever contain all of human knowledge, but it can serve as a good introduction & starting place for further research into various topics. -- llywrch (talk) 17:05, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Proposal to elevate Wikipedia:Consistency in article titles to guideline status.[edit]

Following a spate of discussions relating to consistency in article titles, I have condensed our common practices regarding title consistency into a set of explanations that I believe covers the major issues arising in this area. I do not believe that anything I have said on this page is novel, but that it merely restates in one place our existing practices and determinations regarding consistency in article titles. Of course, constructive suggestions for improvement are always appreciated. Cheers! bd2412 T 17:35, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Biased and ideologically charged editing[edit]

When has wikipedia started to use personal opinion and political bias in the redaction of it's articles [21]? Isn't an encyclopedia article about referenced facts? Shouldn't an Encyclopedia be as neutral and factual as possible? Why even have WikiProject_Feminism [22] (a clearly delined political and ideological master censor) dictating newsworthy facts as sound or not? There's a clear inferred vested interest by that WikiProject in controlling the article about "GamerGate" just by looking at the number of edits it received (specially when compared to other articles, some much more relevant to the topic of Feminism). I can't phantom how this type of procedure will make Wikipedia reliable to the eyes of the public. What's next, a "WikiProject_Creation" dictating what is and is not science? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:35, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

We already tell creationists that their views are not science, and your arguments show a lack of assumed good faith and basic understanding of the site.
WP:Feminism is there to edit pages that document the history and ideas of notable feminists. They are not there to censor stuff.
Per WP:SELFPUB, Zoe Quinn is at least a reliable source about herself. GamerGate is a conspiracy theory, and per WP:GEVAL, their reinterpretation of news sources will not be given equal validity.
Your claims of "clear invested interest" fail WP:Assume good faith, and are are pretty solid proof that the cause you're pushing for is conspiracy theorist bollocks at any rate.
Further posts that continue to make the above mistakes will be treated as trolling.
The GamerGate folks are sadsacks who are using their conspiracy theory to ignore problems in their own lives (or in themselves). Are you sure you want to be a member of their ranks? Are you sure you want to make the world just a bit worse by propagating a conspiracy theory?
Ian.thomson (talk) 18:05, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

So this " are sadsacks who are using their conspiracy theory to ignore problems in their own lives (or in themselves)" is what it is to be expected from a moderator of a n encyclopedia. I understand now how you do your "fact checking" and what your standards of exemption and neutrality are. Revealing, at least. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:18, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

That you think I'm a moderator only confirms your ignorance. You have no idea what's going on, go home. Ian.thomson (talk) 18:24, 23 September 2014 (UTC)