Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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The policy section of the village pump is used to discuss proposed policies and guidelines and changes to existing policies and guidelines.
If you want to propose something new that is not a policy or guideline, use the proposals section.
If you have a question about how to apply an existing policy or guideline, try the one of the many Wikipedia:Noticeboards.

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

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



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.--69.157.252.247 (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 [1] 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.--76.65.42.142 (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.


Metrics[edit]

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 is 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)

Another important point seems to be missed here: from the point of view of an article writer, an AFD tag reads like "somebody wants to delete your article, come to our arguing page to argue about it"; whereas a PROD tag reads like "somebody wants to delete your article because <reason>, please edit the article and fix it, and we'll keep it". An important part of PROD is that if somebody prods an article for (e.g.) lack of sources, then whoever removes the tag is encouraged to add sources. Wikipedia benefits more from fixing articles than from arguing about them. >Radiant< 15:27, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

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)
William Daniell Old Man of Hoy (colour).jpg
  • I came across this image of the Old Man of Hoy recently. This seems to be a colorized version of an image at the Tate but its exact provenance is not clear. I prefer it to the grey-shaded alternative but agree that we should have some markup so that the history of any image manipulation is clearer. Andrew (talk) 12:40, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
If you look at the catalogue information for the engraving at the Tate you'll see the author sold them as aquatint engravings where they were hand painted by an agency and signed by Daniell. So the picture is basically as Daniell wanted though of course it has probably faded since then. I'm sure a machine that automatically examined paintings to figure out the pigments used and produced a good approximation of the original using a version of 3d printing would make quite a bit of money for people wanting to see what their old paintings would have looked like. Dmcq (talk) 13:18, 25 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)
    • I've cited specialist encyclopedias on Wikipedia, but AFAIK not generalist ones (not even Britannica) WhisperToMe (talk) 09:07, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Nothing to see here. OP is a nontroversy pusher. --NE2 09:35, 30 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)

What objective do you see being achieved in upgrading the essay to a guideline? AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:51, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
My objective is that if editors find themselves in discussions like the one I had at Talk:Mikhaylovsky (surname)‎#Requested move, they can point to the this description of common practice without drawing a response that the essay is just one editor's opinion (not that this happened in the discussion at issue, but there I had nothing to point to directly addressing the dispute, despite the uniformity of the titling practice). In a sense, in essay is just someone's opinion which can be considered or ignored if the reader feels like it; a guideline is a reflection of the preferences of the community. Since I have made a diligent effort to draw up a set of examples that reflect community preferences for choosing titles in various situations, I would like the status of the page to reflect that it does so. bd2412 T 19:28, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Speaking in no small part as a person with whom bd2412 had a discussion/disagreement in the Talk:Mikhaylovsky (surname)‎#Requested move RM, I, too, think upgrading this essay to a guideline would be a good idea. If that discussion is of any indication, and drawing on my own experiences in this area, the essay documents the existing consensus fairly accurately and thus has my full support.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); September 23, 2014; 19:46 (UTC)
The essay currently states that it supplements Wikipedia:Article titles - which is policy. I'd have thought that the appropriate response to an "it's only an essay" argument would be to see what the policy says, and then discuss the merits of the particular case - which is what the essay seems to advocate anyway. If the essay does merit upgrading to a guideline, it will need doing so via a formal process, rather than a discussion here (unless I've misunderstood Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines) - you'll need to start a RfC at Wikipedia talk:Consistency in article titles, and announce it in the appropriate places. AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:52, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
I thought this was the appropriate place. Oh well. bd2412 T 20:25, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Note: I will initiate an RfC within the next few days. I would like to give a little more opportunity for comment on the page itself. Regarding the suggestion that editors "see what the policy says", the problem is that the policy only says to be consistent, without offering further guidance on what that means. This essay, hopefully soon to be a guideline, summarizes what that means to the community based on the wealth of talk page discussions that have been on the topic. bd2412 T 20:43, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
WP:PROPOSAL doesn't actually require you to have an RFC at the page itself (or to do anything in particular), but that is the most common process, and it may be the most convenient (since everyone who is already interested the page is likely to have it watchlisted). WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:51, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Isn't that likely to have an inherent bias, though? I don't have any proof, but my guess would be that "people already interested in a page" are more likely to agree with it than the average Wikipedian. --Trovatore (talk) 21:56, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Not necessarily. Being "interested" in a proposal may also mean that an editor is firmly against it. What it does often boil down to in practice, sadly, is that editors with strong and polar opposite views are often drawn to such proceedings, instead of a wider and more moderate community. But that is a common and already well-known problem with any Wikipedia proposals. Around here there are so many useless mega-long threads discussing the value of adding/removing a comma or arguing about metaphysical benefits of a "primary topic" that rational proposals which actually have practical applications and make a difference often get thrown under the train of indifference as well, leaving only a handful of hardcore fans duking it out.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); September 24, 2014; 18:10 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia:Consistency in article titles is a great effort. Intending constructive criticism, I've been trying to find any unrealised problems. I recommend proceeding through a 30 day RfC before tagging as a {{guideline}}. I definitely agree with Trovatore above. Similar pages on other naming criteria remain desirable, but this is a great step. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:11, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
  • If not to be a guideline, it can be a policy supplement linked from the policy. I see it is currently tagged with {{Supplement}}. In principle, policy supplementing essays should not be tagged as such unless linked from the policy page. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:46, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Would keep it an essay — some useful thoughts, but should not supersede (or come to a comparable level as) checks and balances in the specific guidelines, e.g. WP:NCPDAB, WP:MUSICSERIES. Such guidelines are sometimes updated, e.g. WP:NCPDAB, months of discussions over a few words, and WP:MUSICSERIES more recent complete overhaul. Don't think when rewriting such guidelines it would be a great help to have a "competing" view in a consistency guideline. E.g. this exception to WP:CONPRIME: "A particular example of this is Johann Sebastian Bach and his many composing namesakes. Conventionally J. S. Bach's compositions would be the primary topic in any genre, i.e. without disambiguator (Brandenburg Concertos) if not needed, and disambiguated or serialized by BWV number (Missa, BWV 232a) or (Bach) parenthical disambiguator (Orchestral suites (Bach)). Only descriptive titles (including category names) would usually give the full name for any composer after "by" (List of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach, Category:Compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach). For the other Bachs, if parenthical disambiguation by name of the composer is needed: add the initials (with periods and spaces) in the parenthesis: Trio Sonata for Two Flutes (W. F. Bach)Sonata in G major for two flutes and basso continuo, BWV 1039." --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:13, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
    • After the additional explanations given below, which didn't convince me as explained, also seeing this discussion, showing how difficult it is to get a grasp of all what is already in the guidelines consistency-wise (we really don't need more of that), I say with even more conviction: Keep it an essay --Francis Schonken (talk) 04:35, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Would keep as an essay WP:TITLE plus the various specific guidelines is quite enough, we don't need a guideline that competes with the specific ones or tries to put itself above them. See also Wikipedia:Consistency which is inactive for good reasons, it would have just caused too many problems and conflicts with articles being independent. Dmcq (talk) 09:55, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
    • @ Francis Schonken and Dmcq, you both seem to be concerned that the proposed guideline would be competing with project specific guidelines. The intention of the proposal is to reflect common practices already in use in the encyclopedia, but it also notes at several points that there are topic specific guidelines for many fields (for example, noting that persons with titles of nobility are presented differently from human names generally). I would also reiterate that the proposed guidelines do not create anything new or inventive; they merely collect in one place various determinations that have been made regarding the general application of consistency. Would it help if it was more clearly stated in the proposal that topic-specific guidelines override these general practices, and that editors should refer to project-specific guidelines? Of course, not all projects address consistency in titling in their guidelines, and not all topics fall neatly into one topic - I don't imagine that anyone objects to providing guidance where there is no applicable project-related guidance. Cheers! bd2412 T 13:31, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
      1. Don't get me wrong, I like essays, wrote a few myself, for example this one I'm quite proud of
      2. Either the page has something specific, guidance not found elsewhere, or its value is rather illustrative w.r.t. approved guidance (e.g. giving an overview and examples). For me it would need to be demonstrated it has enough specificity so that editors should know about it when they're tackling an issue for which all other guidance combined wouldn't have the appropriate guidance, and secondly, it has to be demonstrated that tackling an issue according to this guidance, and to whatever other guidance, would not result in different results. An explicit "other NC's take precedence" declaration would take care of the second point (but that would be so when it remained an essay too). The first point — why would it be necessary for editors to familiarize themselves with this guidance? — is still open to me.
      3. The general point is also: there are so many guidelines, what a workload to get to know them all... Fresh editors might get frightened for less... what would be the upside for saying to a fellow editor: this is a guideline you shouldn't miss? Can you explain in a few words where its force lies (which would not be the current content of its nutshell, as that much is already clear from WP:AT)?
      4. Again, giving summaries of other guidelines and giving examples is good and helpful, but most of all I see an essay you can be proud of. --Francis Schonken (talk) 14:19, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
      5. To make it a bit more practical, as an example, where would you expect the proposed guidance to make a difference in this consistency-related discussion? --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:10, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
      The proposed guideline collects common practices not only from topic-specific guidelines, but from the results of move requests and other discussions where no topical guidance was available, but where there has repeatedly been a strong consensus in favor of maintaining consistency. The problem with referencing topic-specific guidelines is that they are topic-specific. Here's what I mean - we have articles on Economy of Hawaii, Economy of Ohio, Economy of Vermont, and so on. There is a Wikipedia:WikiProject Economics that gives some guidance on how these articles should be laid out, but says nothing about titles. We can't turn to the guidance offered in Wikipedia:WikiProject Music or Wikipedia:WikiProject Biology to decide how these articles should be titles. There is no guidance that says we can't have articles titled Economy of Hawaii, Ohioan economy, and Vermont economic profile. It may seem like common sense that if 48 out of 50 states have articles titled "Economy of..." then the last two should be titled that way also, but there is no rule in the encyclopedia that clearly says this, only a large number of move requests and other discussions where similar discrepancies have been resolved this way. Similarly, although Florida is a primary topic and Florida (disambiguation) lists other places called "Florida" (which have there own economies), there is no rule that an article titled Economy of Florida should be about the economy of Florida rather than the economy of Florida, Chile. There is no guideline that says that we can title an article Georgia in the American Civil War rather than Georgia (U.S. state) in the American Civil War, there is only a discussion where it was decided that this kind of move was common sense.
      As for the specific consistency-related discussion to which you refer, that is precisely within the purview of the relevant WikiProject, which says "[w]hen a track is not strictly a song (in other words a composition without lyrics, or an instrumental that is not a cover of a song), disambiguation should be done using "(composition)" or "(instrumental)". This seems to distinguish "(instrumental)" from "(song)", so if there is still confusion about there being overlap, it is the project's guideline that should be fixed. The proposed general guideline would suggest that the use of disambiguators should be consistent, so you would need to see if there are other instances where two works of the same name are distinguished by one being disambiguated with "(song)" and the other with "(instrumental)", which would indicate that this is either a common practice, or a bigger problem that needs to be addressed in the topic-specific guidelines. bd2412 T 17:35, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
      For Economy of Hawaii and the others in that sentence, see WP:NCCST#Guideline. --Redrose64 (talk) 19:00, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
      Even if the "Foo of" status is used consistently, we could still have one group of articles with titles like Economy of Hawaii and another with titles like Economics of Ohio. If "Foo" and "Bar" mean the same thing, and there is no WP:ENGVAR issue, then articles should consistently be titled "Foo of Place" or "Bar of Place", but not a mix of the two (or all titled "Foo of Place" with a single article title "Bar of Place", and a defender of that title arguing that there's no policy or guideline requiring that it be changed). Of course, even if this goes from essay to guideline, we will still have editors who like their inconsistent titles saying, "it's only a guideline".
      Re. specific consistency-related discussion: you seem to have missed my argument in that discussion to extend consistency across the somewhat illusive classical/popular music border: both types of music are treated in the same guideline (WP:NCM), separately, leading to inconsistency between the two genres. The discussion is about an issue fellow editors apparently can't get worked out for the popular music genre. The suggestion I made: apply what we'd do if it were a classical composition. Problem solved. And, relevant to the discussion here, more consistency. But, indeed, the proposed guidance wouldn't seem to have any effect there. In other words, no specificity proven, at least not enough for this to go beyond essay level. --Francis Schonken (talk) 04:35, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
      • Francis Schonken, I am not claiming "ownership" of this proposed guideline; if you feel that it can be improved in any particular please do improve it. However, I don't think it is invalid because it does not resolve a problem distinctly under the purview of a particular project. Cheers! bd2412 T 11:51, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
        • Tx for the invitation. A bit too busy here now however (trying to find a solution to a consistency issue...) --Francis Schonken (talk) 12:22, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
    I see it as unnecessary mission creep. Any extra instruction has to have a very good reason for its existence - otherwise its very existence degrades the rest by simply being there occupying volume. I know it's not too practical but I'd like an impetus in government so every time they passed one law they had to make a real effort to remove another. I can't see one I'd like to remove to pt this in instead. Dmcq (talk) 23:58, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
    The instruction exists whether this is a guideline or not; it merely takes a more arduous and roundabout process to inform people about it. It's like the story of the monkeys who get doused with cold water whenever they try to grab the banana hanging there as bait. When a new monkey comes in and tries to get the banana, he gets beaten by the other monkeys for it without knowing why. Eventually there are only new monkeys in there, and all they know is that if an even newer monkey tries to get the banana, he gets beaten for it. Rather than having unwritten rules that are only acknowledged when someone tries to move a page to an arcane title, we can offer guidance. This makes no new rules, it merely explains what the common practices are, and why it makes sense to have those practices. bd2412 T 00:26, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Keep as an essay. It is very new and very few editors have contributed to it. If in a years time talk pages frequently link to it then the question of whether it should become a naming convention can be revisited. Also note the section Wikipedia:Article titles#Proposed naming conventions and guidelines. -- PBS (talk) 17:55, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
    Actually, the 'last straw' that lead me to start this essay was a discussion on the Wikipedia:Article titles talk page, where I have already outlined the parameters that have become the current essay. Please do feel free to improve the proposal if you think that it is lacking, particularly if it is missing anything about common practices that we use to maintain title consistency. bd2412 T 18:40, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Great idea, but keep as an essay for now. The current content of this page is excessive for a guideline; lots of space is occupied by discussing exceptions, and guidelines of this sort really need to be concise. We desperately need to start enforcing this kind of thing against harmful RMs put forward against naming conventions, but promoting the current page would produce more confusion. Nyttend (talk) 15:20, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Notice re: RFC: Are fictional characters people or objects?[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

There is an RfC concerning whether it is appropriate to use pronouns such as "he", "she", or "who" when referring to fictional characters in out-of-universe portions of articles. The discussion is at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Comics#RFC: Are fictional characters people or objects? Curly Turkey ⚞¡gobble!⚟ 22:46, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Next I should raise an RfC on whether characters in books which are not out of copyright are subject to WP:BLP ;-) Dmcq (talk) 15:07, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Nazi flags[edit]

Hi, on the talk page for WikiProject Chess I raised a concern about tables for chess competitions played between 1933 and 1945 featuring the flag of Nazi Germany. I am not satisfied with the WP:NOTCENSORED response I received from Cobblet, and taking his responses to their logical conclusion, it would appear that he has no problem with putting a Nazi flag opposite a Jewish player's name, something I would consider patently offensive. While it is a common practice on wikipedia to include flags in sports tables, the fact is it's unnecessary and is done purely for cosmetic reasons, possibly in violation of MOS:FLAG. They add no information to an article, so removing them would not be "censorship".

As this issue has an impact on other sports-related pages I am asking for opinions from the wider wikipedia community on this. MaxBrowne (talk) 16:48, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

I don't see it as offensive in this context, where it's clearly representing the flag of the country they represented rather than a statement of political affiliation. The hammer and sickle appears next to everyone who represented the USSR, but doesn't imply they were communists, and religious images appear on dozens of national flags but we don't presume, or expect readers to presume, that we're claiming in Wikipedia's voice that (for instance) English and Iraqi nationals are automatically Christians and Muslims respectively. Mogism (talk) 17:02, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
If a person competed for Germany in an sporting even from 1935-45, then as distasteful as the image may be for some, the Nazi flag is the one that should be used. We can't whitewash history. Tarc (talk) 17:40, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
To make sure of one thing: we don't want to use flags in tables like this when they are only representing nationality, as opposed to actually representing a country. If it is the case that the players from Nazi Germany were playing as representatives of that state, then there is no reason to remove the flags, and it should not be taken that chess players necessarily shared the same "ideals" that the Nazi government supported, so the fact that a Nazi flag appears next to a Jewish flag should not be taken as insulting. (eg: what Mogism and Tarc said) If it is the case that these just only are the nationality of the players and they were not playing as representatives of that country, they (all flag icons) should be removed per MOSFLAGS. --MASEM (t) 18:11, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
I wasn't aware of MOS:SPORTFLAGS when this discussion began and think it is a reasonable policy. I think following it may alleviate MaxBrowne's concerns in the specific cases he has in mind, where the players in question may have been lived in Nazi Germany but not represent it in any official sense. Cobblet (talk) 19:55, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Please don't duplicate discussions. Let's keep any any new comments at talk:WikiProject_Chess#Flags_in_tournament_crosstables. Thankyou. Alsee (talk) 04:45, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Drive-by tag?[edit]

The article Washington Redskins name controversy has again been given a POV tag, with even less posted on the talk page. How long to wait until removal of the tag? I'm thinking a week.FriendlyFred (talk) 04:05, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

A week seems reasonable - unless the article is obviously POV (read through it befoire de-tagging it), if the tagger can't even be troubled to give somer indication of what makes him/her think it's POV within a week, the tag should be removed. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 06:35, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

Deprecation of archiveurl and archivedate[edit]

I was told some time ago, by a senior editor, that archiveurl and archivedate are now deprecated in favor of archive-url and archive-date. That editor has since left the project, according to his user page. {{Cite web}} shows both forms in various places but does not include archiveurl and archivedate in its list of deprecated parameters. What is the status of this change? Unless the unhyphenated parameters are truly and officially deprecated, I will continue to use them in new cites. The hyphenated forms allow the parameter name to be split by a line break in edit mode, diffs, etc., and I see that as undesirable. ‑‑Mandruss (talk) 12:41, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

'archive-url' and 'archiveurl' are aliases and have the exact same meaning; ditto for 'archive-date'. There is some opinion that 'archive-url' is preferable because it does not get marked as a spelling error in some browsers. We are working to standardize names so other parameters will work with and without hyphens. Bottom line: it isn't broken with way you use it. --  Gadget850 talk 16:58, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, what Gadget850 said. But, why are you asking this question here? Questions about Citation Style 1 are best answered at Help talk:Citation Style 1.
Trappist the monk (talk) 17:29, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks to both for the answer and the correction. ‑‑Mandruss (talk) 18:39, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

African-American Categories[edit]

What criteria determines whether or not a person is placed into categories such as "African-American singers" or "African-American actors"? The reason I'm inquiring is because numerous times on Wikipedia I have come across a person who is biracial or multiracial and is being placed into one of these categories. Frequently these persons do not even appear African-American (which in the U.S. is basically a synonym for black) e.g. Derek Jeter, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, and numerous others who have a similar "ethnic mixed" appearance. How do we even know these people identify as "African-American"? Also if there are no sources saying they do, then why are they automatically being placed into these specific racial categories? 2604:2000:7FC0:1:E8D7:5FA9:D5A4:AD1 (talk) 22:48, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

Can someone please help out with this question, thank you. 2604:2000:7FC0:1:E8D7:5FA9:D5A4:AD1 (talk) 10:48, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
The relevant guideline is at Wikipedia:Categorization/Ethnicity, gender, religion and sexuality. The most important principles are scrupulously reliable sources, and self-identification. If you have a clearly reliable source where, for example, Derek Jeter refers to himself as African-American; that is usually what is required. Idle speculation by any source is generally not sufficient to use at Wikipedia, however. We usually need a clear statement by the person themselves. The second principle is relevant to their biography, which is trickier to make a case for. For a person like Jackie Robinson, his ethnicity is a large part of his biography, so including it seems relevant. For other famous people, it may not be a major part of their biography, so it may not be worth bringing up. --Jayron32 12:13, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Whistleblower complaints[edit]

I want to petition Wikipedia to make special consideration for whistleblowing sections with slightly less restrictive guidelines. Whistleblowing is an important part of our democracy, but increasingly challenging to accomplish in an organized and effective way with an increasingly populous and information stuffed society. Having regular Wikipedia whistleblower complaint sections with different, not absent, standards should mean that Wikipedia can preserve the integrity of it's entries and still provide this valuable social service. Though Wikipedia does not have the goal to be controversial, silencing this controversy seems to be inconsistent with it's goals of informing the people. I think Wikipedia is in a rare position to give very special and valuable information to the community.

For my whistleblower issues I have gone through the normally designated employer and government grievance processes and found that investigators, instead of investigating, consistently advocate for the employer and/or fail to complete investigations. My allegations appeared very serious to your volunteer editor, but are treated dismissively by many of the investigative and enforcement agents; this investigative corruption enables indefinite other corruption. While you might understandably be skeptical of my allegations I am sure you have seen stories in the news about investigative and enforcement agencies not doing their job and you must have realized that it is at least plausibly true. Wikipedia becomes a very valuable resource because other clicktivism avenues do not give the opportunity for the community to add confirming information and fall flat if there is no initial popular interest. Wikipedia is well established and would allow for slow builds of allegations and evidence. I know that other people witnessed the same misbehaviors with my employer, , but right now those complaints are all staying inside individuals' heads or floating around on message boards and in living rooms, never building into an organized piece of information that could be used as a tool. Imagine the tool that could be formed by people having direct personal experience and insider access to employment practices normally only viewed through disorganized gossip?

Still maintain standards for these whistleblower sections: whistleblowers present their complaints only as plausible allegations, keep those allegations in properly identified sections, post only allegations stemming from direct personal experience accompanied by whatever confirming evidence is available. May we please have this avenue to give and receive information about the employers of the world? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Watchtower25 (talkcontribs) 01:33, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

I think the issue of verifiability is pretty well covered on your talk page. Content without a reliable published source is not acceptable. --  Gadget850 talk 01:39, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Watchtower25, as has already been explained to you,[2] everything on Wikipedia must be supported by verifiable and reliable sources. See Wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought and Wikipedia is not a soapbox. You are certainly free to suggest that we change these policies (and this is the right place for doing that) but you need a far better reason than you have provided above.
Might I suggest the National Whistleblowers Center at http://www.whistleblowers.org/ as a better place to air your story? --Guy Macon (talk) 11:32, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
I hope you don't actually have to go through something like what I am going through to realize what an important and unique resource Wikipedia can provide. I do not want to damage the integrity of Wikipedia as an encyclopedia because I very much value it in that capacity, but I maintain that these sections or maybe special pages could be kept without damaging that integrity. And if you were going through what I am going through, I think you would easily see how important that compromise is.
Going to whistleblowers.org does not help because I have never heard of whistleblowers.org and popular awareness is very important for this to work. Even if whistleblowers.org were well known they have no way for the people to pool information for a common goal. One of the several investigations I filed for was with the EEOC, the federal government's complaint processing agency. The EEOC was ridiculously receptive to my employer's pretense and would not allow me to disprove the validity of that pretense because to them one person is not worth the cost of prosecuting the matter. In other words I lost that battle because I was alone. It seems many people have similar problems with the employer, but they quit the job and keep their complaints to themselves, or vent on a message board that never gets outside exposure. Employees do not believe the fiscal cost and stress of pursuing this corruption is worth it and so far they are turning out to be right. But because of Wikipedia's broad usage, people can discover things they didn't know they were looking for, like whistleblower complaints. If someone sees that I have filed a case for something they are having trouble with then they may feel empowered or inspired to file also. The EEOC and all such agencies take thousands of complaints annually. They won't notice when two people have matching complaints, but if I saw that other person's case # on Wikipedia I could call my investigator and inform them of the matching complaint and I wouldn't be the only one anymore.
I don't need advice on where and how to whistleblow. I have filed with every proper agency: the employers grievance office, the state's grievance office, the federal grievance office, and finally in court. All have been corrupt and dismissive. It's easy for them to be. The employer's office refused to investigate. Later they were compelled to investigate and when they couldn't reach a person I made accusations against they denied any wrongdoing on her behalf. The state agency accepted this ridiculous internal investigation. The feds started an investigation, but stopped as soon as they received a pretense and would not allow me to counter the pretense, seriously would not even hear the arguments and said the decision was final no matter what I said. The court ruled that I don't get a trial because according to the court the employer did a better job of proving their side, even though this is an illegal decision for a court to make without a trial.
It is easy for an agency to dismiss complaints without investigation or to conduct an empty investigation and insure that one side wins. It's was easy for the judge to illegally dismiss my case without trial. (But I am filing appeals now). It is imperative that people be able to pool information and have a more informed basis for challenging things like this. Whistleblower webpages cannot achieve this. The message boards already involved in this kind of thing are not achieving this. Wikipedia probably can.
How about separate whistleblower pages linked to the main pages, where contributors must at least post case #'s, but don't need full factual verification? This would prevent lots of random complaining though it would also cut out some people who never got a case number for their legitimate complaint because it was refused for investigation.Watchtower25 (talk) 15:46, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
No. Find another soapbox. Wikipedia is never going to change from being an encyclopedia to being a whistleblower website, and no Wikipedia page will ever be allowed that "doesn't need full factual verification." --Guy Macon (talk) 19:02, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
It is important to remember that Wikipedia is not the only wiki on the Internet, just the most well known. As an encyclopedia, Wikipedia is very much not an appropriate place for publishing whistleblower materials. Not only would such material be unverifiable, and thus violate one of our core content rules, but we also have no mechanisms to protect the identity of a whistleblower. There are other sites and other wikis that may provide what you are looking for. WikiLeaks (which has no connection to Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation) may have what you need. Or you might also consider going to the press, as some large news organizations have secure online dropboxes for whistleblowing purposes. But Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a news organization. We only provide information that has been written by others in existing sources. Novusuna talk 22:05, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

OTRS[edit]

After a lengthy discussion here: [3] concerning the role of OTRS agents, and in particular how potentially WP:COI edits are approached, DGG offered the following summary:

"MrBill3 asked me to comment--so, to expand a little on what I said yesterday at Wikipedia talk:Volunteer Response Team:
I don't think we are finished until the policy statements at WP:Volunteer Response Team and elsewhere have been revised. Even if they were intended properly, they make much greater g=claims of privileged editing than supported by the fundamental policy of the nature of WP as a user-contributed encyclopedia. Several issues have been confused:
(1) The actual quality of the edits that gave rise to this discussion. In general , I support the edits. They did mostly serve to remove a rather blatant bias. Whether they went to far in the opposite direction is for the article talk page.
(2) The attempt to use OTRS authority in making the edits. This was totally unnecessary and inappropriate. They used no confidential information. There was nothing there that could not and should not have been openly addressed. If agreement could not be reached on the article talk page, then the further ordinary on-wiki steps were available.
(3) As an OTRS agent, I've seen the communication there that gave rise to the edit. It is a COI communication from a paid public relations agent, and, as is often the case even with justified complaints, claims altogether too much, and should not have been taken at face value. To do so implies a non-critical approach and an unawareness of the actual situation. The job of OTRS is to filter and mediate complaints, not necessarily to resolve them. Sometimes a necessary edit is so obvious it can be made without prior negotiation. This was not one such an instance.
(4) In a situation like this, I consider it to have been poor practice within the existing parameters of OTRS to proceed immediately from such a complaint to make an edit--the better course would first to have discussed the problem with the complainant, to clarify what would and would not be possible within WP editing policy. After that, in a case such as this , the ORTS agent would have had the choice between making what they consider the appropriate edit, while saying they were doing it on the basis of an outside request (we must indicate when we edit on behalf of another) but not claiming any special authority other than that of trying to assist a situation, or of referring the complainant to the article talk page for discussion, or of posting appropriate portions or paraphrases of the hopefully revised complaint there themselves, explaining what they were doing. The OTRS agent was illegitimately attempting to bypass normal editing is correct--even if the edits were desirable.
(5) This situation was not unique: other OTRS agents have done similarly. They should not be doing it in such situations. They have in disputed situations like this no special powers whatsoever, and an attempt to claim it is an attempt to claim super-editor, a privilege that does not exist in WP. (There is a privilege to suppress material or to block vested in every administrator but subject to the review of every other administrator and discussion on-wiki, and in some cases supervision by arbcom; and the right of WP:LEGAL or the oversight team to make a suppression or a block that cannot be reversed by an admin or ANI in the usual way, but which there is an existing review mechanism).
(6) The unique ability of an OTRS agent is the access to private information. Nothing further.
(7) Problems from this will continue to arise. The OTRS policy pages must be revised to indicate that all changes other than those that are specifically stated to be based on private information are subject entirely to the normal editorial processes. Complaints about OTRS agents overstepping their authority or making errors should probably normally be handled within OTRS by an appropriate procedure , but there remains a right of anyone to deal with them directly on-wiki as for any other actions or any other editor. The current special dispute resolution procedure is only indicated for ones that are specifically stated to be based on confidential but verified communications,and it must be so indicated.
(8) Assurances that this is all being dealt will will be justified when they have been dealt with. The responsibility for training and supervising OTRS is the joint responsibility of the Foundation and the community. The Foundation does have the responsibility to grant or withhold OTRS access, as for everything requiring access to identifying information; I assume that they would not refuse an on-wiki request that such access be removed, but the community does retain the power to block anyone. Legitimate power in a complex organization is based on a systems of balancing and overlapping authority."

It was generally agreed subsequently that discussion should continue elsewhere.

A suggested opening point for discussion was:

"We need a section with two subsections which clearly describe the delimitations of the OTRS system. There should be two lists (not prose):

A. What OTRS volunteers can do for you
  1. If you don't understand the editing process or Wikipedia policies and need help assistance , they can give you pointers advice. They will tell you dispassionately and honestly what can and cannot be properly done at Wikipedia.
  2. They will attempt to address any privacy concerns you may have, and assist in protecting your privacy to the extent permissible.
  3. If you feel that you or your organization have been libeled or treated unfairly, they will see if anything needs to be done and can be done. They will follow the normal manner of dealing with information covered by our Biographies of living persons (BLP) policy.
  4. They will ask you to provide any reliable sources which can be used to back up and justify any changes. Your word alone is what we call "original research" and cannot be used to justify changing any content.
  5. They will advise warn you about not making legal threats or personal attacks, and advise you that getting too aggressive, whether here at Wikipedia or in the real world, can create a Streisand effect. Tread lightly and be patient.
  6. In some cases they may choose to make or suggest edits for you , but will usually advise you how to request them or make them yourselves. If they do make or suggest edits, they will identify that they are doing it on the basis of a request.
  7. or More suggestions.....
B. What OTRS volunteers will not do for you
  1. Volunteers have no more rights than any other Wikipedia editor, so they cannot be used to strong arm over-ride the reasoned opposition of other editors. They cannot force other editors to do anything, and they will discuss the matter with other editors. This is a process of give and take, and patience is required. Many situations are best solved by compromise
  2. The OTRS system is not a means to circumvent normal Wikipedia policies and guidelines. Volunteers will use the normal collaborative editing processes while dealing with your request.
  3. Volunteers will not violate any policies for you. If what you disclose or what they see for themselves leads them to conclude that policies have been violated, they will try to correct the situation.
  4. You may have a conflict of interest (COI), and thus your concerns will be dealt with in the same manner as anyone else who has a COI. Volunteers will not automatically take your side: they will not insert advertising; and will never force your preferred version of content into an article, nor will they and will not delete negative content which is properly sourced and of appropriate weight.
  5. More suggestions.....

That section (possibly as a template) should be placed on at least these two places:

Please feel free to suggest other points and alternate wordings. -- Brangifer (talk) 16:57, 30 September 2014 (UTC)"

Since the feeling at ANI was that discussion would benefit from wider community input, I'm opening this discussion here. I'll leave it to other editors to decide how this should proceed, although the feeling at ANI seemed to lean towards this being a widely advertised RFC. Begoontalk 00:45, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

I've made a few strike-outs , and added some substitutions or additions in italics. They're based upon what I understand to be the best current practices, and to address the concerns that people are likely to have. I myself deal with only a limited range of situations, so there are undoubtedly other things to include. DGG ( talk ) 05:42, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Those are definitely improvements. Thanks! -- Brangifer (talk) 06:09, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
I support these proposed changes. The version as modified by DGG seems quite clear and this provides needed clarity on important policy. - - MrBill3 (talk) 07:21, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Hi BullRangifer, I just stumbled upon this discussion as it was mentioned on the OTRS team's IRC channel and thought that maybe I can give an outsider's perspective to the issue; feel free to ignore :), it's just that I've been involved in similar discussions on other Wikis in the past. I think the points you make in that list are mostly perfectly valid; thanks for that! I just feel that it's not addressed at the right people. Speaking with my OTRS volunteer hat on, let me say that we already have huge difficulty explaining people even which address to send their request to (I'm sure DGG can confirm that). So I'm a bit concerned that overwhelming them with ever more information makes all these things even worse. From my impression, most people who write to the info address just don't understand how Wikipedia works -- either they do not know where they should put their question or they deliberately want to save time and just write an email. They may have questions, they may have suggestions, they may have concerns. If you give them such a long list of do's and dont's before they send their email, that will just add to the confusion. And it doesn't really fit the friendly environment we're trying to create: Imagine you want to help Wikipedia and suggest a change to an article, but don't know how Wikipedia works. We should be happy that you drop us an email about that! In my opinion it's a bad idea to give you the email address only accompanied by a huge list of "BUT"s; if I were a newbie, I'd have the impression that someone is trying whatever they can to distract people from sending emails -- and that, in my opinion, is certainly not the environment we want.
I think the people you should address this to are the OTRS agents. (The very fact that you're considering this a policy is quite indicative of that: We don't want to set policies for the general public that would like to send us an email, do we?) Agents must be able to process requests in accordance with Wikipedia policies. If a request cannot be fulfilled because that would be in conflict with Wikipedia policy, you'd expect the agent to communicate that to the requestor. For me, the right approach is to tell the agents what to do and not to do, rather then tell the public what to ask and not to ask -- people should feel free to ask us anything really. So what about re-wording your suggestion in this spirit and thinking about a good way to make all info-en agents aware of it? Wouldn't that be a better way to achieve your (completely understandable) goal of avoiding problematic "OTRS edits" in future (or at least one without downsides)? Cheers, — Pajz (talk) 12:32, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Hi Pajz. Thanks so much for your comments and insights. To start with, I don't want there to be any misunderstanding. What's above Begoon's comment was moved by Begoon here from ANI, where a discussion has been running for some time. We thought a different venue might be appropriate, possibly an RfC (which hasn't happened yet), and he thought that this might be a good place, so I said "go for it". Maybe it's a good place, maybe not, but there is no intention to actually create some new policy. What we need is wider input, and input from OTRS volunteers is very welcome.
We just need a basic list on those two places listed above which makes it clear what OTRS is for and what it's not for. That's all. It's just as much for Wikipedia editors and OTRS volunteers, as it is for the public, maybe more so. We've got to stop these occurrences where misuse of OTRS causes problems. The discussions we've been having have shown that the assurances from a couple OTRS administrators(?) that "we're dealing with this internally" have been rejected as insufficient. We (editors and others) need to have it spelled out very clearly in list form, so if you have any suggestions for tweaks, they would be very welcome. Some of the problems which get mentioned are more for the frequent requests from COI parties who wish to misuse Wikipedia. They may not realize that that is what they are doing, but that's what's happening, and sometimes OTRS volunteers have unwittingly acquiesced and it has caused problems. Those people/organizations need to be disavowed of that possibility. Maybe it could be worded more gently. Please help with that. -- Brangifer (talk) 15:29, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I wasn't sure of the best "pump" to put this on, but based on the opening post above I don't think we are finished until the policy statements at WP:Volunteer Response Team and elsewhere have been revised., I figured this might be the place. I was assuming that once we'd agreed on the proposed wording, that would be the time to reframe it into a clear RFC question, and add an RFC tag etc. Begoontalk 16:05, 1 October 2014 (UTC)


It was my intention in writing what I did to propose policy; I agree that it is more a policy addressed to the OTRS agents (and the wikipedians) than to the general public. To the extent it's worded as being addressed to the general public, what I had in mind was a statement that the OTRS agents can use to explain to the people who write to them, explaining their expectations and limitations. But the phrasing can easily be altered, by being written in the third person, not the second. I'll do it later today. Where I suggest it would go is on the Wikipedia:Volunteer Response Team page.
I think it needs to be complemented by a complete and radical revision of the policy for how to challenge an OTRS edit at Wikipedia:Volunteer Response Team section 4.1, to indicate that the proper place to complain about an OTRS edit not based on confidential information is on the talk page of the article, and the existing method there is a backup for special circumstances where that would be unsatisfactory. I'm going to propose a wording here also for use there.
I think this is better developed at a common area, not a specialized talk page, but it doesn't matter all that much, as long as it's done in one place. Adopting it probably would need a RfC, unless by some chance there is general agreement.
I did not plan to get involved in this. I am not among the most active OTRS agents. Until very recently, I worked only on complaints regarding schools and colleges, where I could use my particular experience. But as I have over the last year or so been increasingly working on-wiki with COI editors,I came to realize that here too I had experience with our practices I could use there. As I've been observing the work of other agents, I see a great range in approach, from the inappropriate use of merely the official templated responses (it would be good to have these stock responses public on-wiki for general criticism--there's nothing confidential about them) to an overly activist approach. I've talked with some of the most active OTRS agents whom I most respect, and they have each developed their own balance here, a little different but pretty much in agreement--as would be hoped for and expected. I base my work on what I see of theirs. I am also aware of the great temptation for anyone working with COI editors or correspondents to adopt a non-neutral POV, which can equally likely be hostility to anything they suggest, or the complete adoption of their outside POV. (Generalizing further, there is no such thing as a truly neutral editor on any thing controversial--no one can look at a controversy without internally taking sides. One can avoid expressing the POV by relying on technicalities, but one can not be neutral if it is necessary to balance the issues. As a consequence, many of our rules focus on technicalities, as do legal or quasi-legal codes generally. The results are often pretty inappropriate. But the only way to keep erratic decisions in check is to have some rules, and some manner of applying and enforcing them. )
Normally, I think the operation of the enWP should be as autonomous as we can handle. OTRS (and oversight and of course Legal) is to some extent an exception,because it deals with matters that the Foundation must ultimately take responsibility for. They need to be involved in this too. It's a coincidence that the particular matter giving rise to this has been noticed a the same time the WMF is also taking action. They have sometimes had a critical role in doing things that for some reason or other are stalemated or avoided on the enWP, and it is therefore good that we are not altogether autonomous. DGG ( talk ) 16:45, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Is saying a fact is trivial as basis for exclusion a POV edit?[edit]

Say for example a dispute between editors occurs where one says a fact is trivial and should be excluded, and the other says it is not and should be included. And say, for the sake of example, it's a close call and it is not blatantly obvious whether it is trivia or not.

Are not those judgments of triviality or non-triviality points of view? And are those editors, by advocating or opposing inclusion based on their subjective opinion of whether it is trivial or not, thus pushing their POV and making POV edits? Marteau (talk) 10:16, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

What arguments are they making? For example, if they are arguing from sourced evidence (or lack of, or unsuitability of the source) then they are deducing their conclusion (and most importantly others can evaluate their arguments), but if they present statements that others cannot evaluate (the prototypical "I like") it's of little use. Alanscottwalker (talk) 10:33, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
From sourced evidence. In the process of determining if a fact has enough weight to not be considered trivia, a dividing line must be drawn. The process of determining where to draw that line and whether a specific example falls over or under that line has to be considered an individual editor's opinion (aka "point of view"). Does Wikipedia policy really posit that the triviality of a thing can be determined objectively, and does not require subjective opinions (aka points of view)? Marteau (talk) 11:02, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Generally Wikipedia posits that triviality, like other content decisions should be evaluated by the strength of the sources and the treatment in them, not by bare editor opinion. So, for example, if there are several high quality sources that discuss the matter in depth in relation to the subject, one has a better case to actually show others (and the world) it is due (a caveat is that the context and material matters, see eg WP:BLP). Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:10, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Pushing a nontroversy is POV editing. --NE2 10:43, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
"Pushing"... of course. But documenting that a "nontroversy" (aka a "manufactured controversy") did in fact occur and did then have effects which then did become notable down the line and reported by reliable sources is a different matter. Just because the genesis of a thing was corrupt does not mean that mention of the products of and results of that corruption and the events that followed should be squelched. Marteau (talk) 11:01, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Anytime there is a discussion about whether something belongs in an a article the editors on either side are pushing their POV. The whole blowup about Chelsea vs Bradley Manning, each side was pushing their POV. Everything would be so simple if it was cut and dried as to what belongs in an article, but it is not. Everyone has their POV, sometimes it is simple to determine if something belongs other times, hard. As long as the article remains neutral, that is what matters. GB fan 10:57, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
That was my understanding, and it seemed obvious to me, although not documented. All I could find was "POV baaaaad". It would be nice if I could find a guideline, essay or policy that says that. Marteau (talk) 11:03, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Offhand no. But it really depends on what content is in dispute. —Farix (t | c) 11:21, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
In my opinion, this is a pure content dispute, not a policy issue. In my opinion, Marteau should go to Wikipedia:Dispute resolution requests and select an appropriate venue for resolving the dispute. --Guy Macon (talk) 13:29, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Is close paraphrasing acceptable?[edit]

I recently attempted to add some material to WP:PLAGARISM, to reflect the prevailing position of academia that close paraphrasing is in fact a form of plagiarism. However, Flyer22 reverted my changes. I also attempted to improve the essay, Wikipedia:Close paraphrasing, but that too was reverted, first by Flyer22 and then by Dr.K. While there are many other points I want to add, the most important is this:

N Close paraphrasing with a well-placed citation and in-text attribution, but without quotation marks enclosing the author's distinctive words or phrases

  • Closely paraphrasing a cited source with in-line attribution, but appropriating verbatim words or phrases that are creative or distinct without enclosing them in quotation marks is a form of plagiarism.
  • Paraphrasing is defined as an expression of source material that uses different words than the author. When appropriating verbatim text fragments, all distinctive words or phrases must be enclosed in quotation marks.

I feel that my contributions are absolutely in keeping with the advice offered by major colleges and universities, but I'm not sure that the guideline, as currently written, represents the position of the academic world regarding close paraphrasing and plagiarism:

  • Per Wikilegal/Close Paraphrasing, Question: "Is close paraphrasing of a copyrighted work a copyright infringement?" Answer: "Yes. Among other rights, copyright law grants a copyright owner exclusive control over any unauthorized copying of the copyrighted work.[1] Paraphrasing may be construed as copying if it is 'substantially similar' to the copyrighted material. Such paraphrasing infringes on one of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner."

I respect Flyer22's decision to revert, and I accept that changing a core content policy requires a broader community involvement. However, I would like our guideline to accurately reflect that close paraphrasing is plagiarism, not an acceptable form of lesser paraphrasing that passes in featured articles as brilliant prose. I look forward to everyone's input. Rationalobserver (talk) 18:03, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Add the WP:RfC tag to the above post so that you can actually get comments from the wider Wikipedia community, or I will. And for other others, here is a fuller discussion that Rationalobserver and I had at my talk page. Flyer22 (talk) 18:06, 1 October 2014 (UTC)