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Create a BOT to alphabetize and organize categories automatically

Discussion was recently opened at Wikipedia:Bot requests/Archive 61#Create a BOT to alphabetize and organize categories automatically however it was closed off arbitrarily within 24 hours without allowing for fuller exchanges of views and examination of the core issues, just based on initial negative reactions without allowing decent time and a forum for this important discussion that would only benefit Wikipedia! The user who closed the discussion was requested to re-open the discussion, see User talk:Mdann52#Create a BOT to alphabetize and organize categories automatically, he then suggested that the discussion should be on this VPP page. I am therefore re-posting the original question/request with some initial responses to the prior negative responses. Please do not close off this discussion, this is not a vote, it is an attempt to deal with a problem that supposedly involves a "policy" issue that is in fact very weak. Thank you in advance. IZAK (talk) 22:30, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

As someone who has been doing this manually for years, I hereby dutifully beg of anyone who is technically proficient and knows how to create and run a bot that will:
1 Automatically sort all Categories on each article and category page alphabetically;
2 Create a uniform system for where to place categories on each article and category page that commence with numbers, such as years of birth/death, centuries, and any category that starts with a number/numeral.
(A) 1 To see an example of just how tedious this process can be, see this article I just alphabetized the categories manually: before and after. 2 Whoever will undertake this will be doing Wikipedia a great service because it will create order out of the growing chaos as tens of thousands of categories are added and mushrooming, and instate a built-in system for finally automatically alphabetizing categories (after they have been inserted by an editor of course) and placing them in the correct alphabetical and number sequence thus making it easier for any users and readers who search and read categories to locate any categories in a rational manner that are now often just a hodge-podge jumble of scrambled categories, the more notable the topic the more categories on that page and the more jumbled they all are. 3 Wikipedia has all sorts of bots to check spelling, wikify some things, check on citations and even fix them, etc, so it would be greatly appreciated by us poor "categorizers" who just cannot keep up with this at this rate. Thank you so much to anyone who will finally undertake this long-needed improvement that stands to benefit all editors, users and readers of Wikipedia. I will (again) re-notify a few related talk pages about this discussion in order to centralize it. Thank you IZAK (talk) 22:30, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
(B) In response to some prior "objections": 1 While many editors expressed their opposing POVs not really based on solid established fixed WP policies, just on so-called nebulous "conventions" while this subject is important in light of the massive proliferation of categories causing confusion in articles. 2 Many of the POV's expressed assume that what they have to say is "well-known" but it is not! I have been categorizing articles and creating many categories since the inception of categories about ten years ago on WP and I have NEVER come across ANY requirement to abide by ANY rules for all WP categories, that is reflected in the wide array of opinions as to how to categorize. 3 Some say "do it more or less like this" and others say "do it more or less like that" while others say "it would interfere with something" or "it does not interfere with anything", all very confusing just like the state of categories are themselves. 4 Unless there are "mini infoboxes" on each article about how categories are to be applied and used, right now the system is a total unholy mess and no one is willing to do anything about it. IZAK (talk) 22:30, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
(C) Additional comments: 1 All the objections that claimed to cite "policy" were very weak and just seemed to indicate an attitude of WP:ITBOTHERSME & WP:IJUSTDONTLIKEIT and mentions nebulous and undefined "precedent/s" more than anything else. 2 From what I have experienced in the realm of policies about categories, they are rather weak and have perhaps been formulated in the by-gone times of a decade ago when one or two categories started being placed on articles, now it's a case of many articles getting a blizzard of new categories to the point where they are not practicably usable. 3 Something must be done to rectify this situation. No other system uses "random chaos" or "whatever any random editor desires as criteria" as a "method" for organizing names of anything that makes it impossible to locate a subject when looking for it by category. Millions of articles are suffering from this situation. 4 Even the internal structure of each and every category itself requires that every article be listed in it alphabetically, often with the help of the {{DEFAULTSORT}} template so that it would be insane to claim that alphabetization as the most basic method of organization is not a sine qua non on Wikipedia at this stage. 5 Anyone who has ever used a telephone book or an index or bibliography knows this. It is taught to young children as requirement! People have been brainwashed by the ease of Googling and easy access to "search engines" large and small posted everywhere, but that does not help when visually looking for something and searching for categories on article or category pages. It is just a confusing mess and it's detrimental. Like looking for a needle in a haystack more and more. Thanks you, IZAK (talk) 22:30, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
This is not a !Vote but rather an attempt to gather information and arrive at a rough WP:CONSENSUS from as many users as possible about this proposal regarding a BOT that would primarily organize categories on all pages alphabetically in a systematic and systematized manner.
  • Question Does it have to be a bot? From what I see, a simple Javascript would be sufficient to sort the categories on a page. Paradoctor (talk) 23:04, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
  • @Paradoctor: 1 Since I am not a "techie" I cannot answer that question in the technical sense. 2 What we have here is a huge problem, the more important an article or a category is, the more categories are placed at the bottom of those pages and the more confusing it is to to zero in on anything. 3 Now while there are those who think that categorizing should proceed via a system of "clumping" groups of "generally-related" categories while ignoring the fact that most educated and literate people assume that they will be able to access information or leads to educational sources (which is what this is about) by simply relying on the alphabetization of names, as anyone would expect from an old-fashioned "basic" telephone directory or as "Indexes" or "Bibliographies" work in all academic works, but that are just missing from something as basic as categories that WP has been kind enough to provide but that in effect are functionally useless. 4 Obviously it is too time-consuming and frustrating to either search for things easily or to do the job of alphabetizing, but that is all part of the problem. What is needed is a solution to this problem that will be solved by whatever automatic system will be deployed to create order out of the current chaos within millions of pages that is just, well, the best word is, unprofessional for such a world class encyclopedia. By the way, classical encyclopedias list all articles in strict alphabetical order as is well known! Thank you, IZAK (talk) 10:05, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
@IZAK: I asked because a Javascript would allow you to have alphabetized categories without having to do any edits to articles. You don't need to ask for permission or cooperation from anyone for using a script. If that would solve your problem, I'd gladly write it for you. I could throw in some nice formatting, too, like displaying the categories in a vertical list, or in columns. Paradoctor (talk) 11:35, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
@Paradoctor: Thanks! Personally I would need some coaching in this, but the broader issue still remains will the people objecting accept this and is this in fact the best over-all universal solution? My feeling is that this is still a manually-driven activity that requires too much human labor and many man-hours of application, while on the other hand a BOT would be able to sweep along the length and breadth of WP and create standardized alphabetical uniformity that everyone could benefit from, from simple beginner users and casual readers to advanced scholars and editors. Thanks also for illustrating this below, but as I say, the discussion is still at its early stages. If nothing comes of this then I would like to know more about your simpler solution. Thanks again, IZAK (talk) 12:41, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support: [Reproducing here my comment originally posted at "Wikipedia:Bot requests/Archive 61#Create a BOT to alphabetize and organize categories automatically".] I'm going to be contrary here and suggest that the problem with ordering categories according to some "logical" scheme is that such a scheme is often not obvious to other editors. Unless some conventions develop (e.g., for biographical articles, dates of birth and death come first, followed by categories related to the subject's education, and so on), an alphabetical arrangement of categories would arguably make it easier for editors to scan through the list. Even if the first part of the proposal does not pass, I agree with the proposer that it would be helpful for a bot to ensure that the block of categories is in a consistent place in each article. — Cheers, JackLee talk 23:10, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
    • Basically the bot proposal to alphabetize was shot down and any discussion here to change that close should be quickly shut down! As to the other point of making sure that categories are in the correct place. I'm not sure. Is this really a problem? I have seen more problems with external links, references and see also being in the wrong order. Add to that the fact that {{commons}} is almost always in the wrong place in categories and that {{coord}} is almost always surrounded by extra blank lines and I could say we need bots more in other areas. Vegaswikian (talk) 23:18, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
      • @Vegaswikian: Indeed, 1 Wikipedia is not perfect and many things need fixing and upgrading and improvement so your argument is very weak. 2 You are applying a reverse-logic of WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS that somehow "since other things are broken on WP, let's not fix this major broken item". 3 Remember WP:NOTPAPER and there is no limit on what can be created and deployed on it! WP is advanced and sophisticated enough to create solutions for many things, we have come a long way from the early days of WP when anyone could just enter any old information. Now there are WP:ARTICLEWIZARD to help in creating articles, various templates to help with inserting citations. Various bots that pick up and warn users about the most minor spelling mistakes or broken links or copyright violations. None of this stuff and tools existed when WP started out, and with time and good will various features have been created, added and deployed for the betterment of WP and readership. 4 You forget that ease of use and easy access is important for the hundreds of millions of readers who spend time on WP pages and when they see a mess they don't use the categories since who has time to skim through the blatantly mixed-up listing of 51 categories on the Frank Sinatra page for example when all you want is one bit or type of info. 5 Why do you want to cut off this debate? Is there something that frightens you about it? Keep your cool. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 10:20, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
        • There was no reverse logic used. How is changing something that is not broken a useful task? It is now clear to me that your reason for wanting to do this is WP:IDONTLIKEIT. As for cutting off the debate, you are WP:FORUMSHOPPING. You had your discussion and the suggestion was soundly rejected. If you want to discuss the other points that is fine. But the alphabetizing task should no longer be on the table especially here which is clerly not the best place since it is not clear how many interested parties follow this discussion. Vegaswikian (talk) 17:48, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
          • @Vegaswikian: In response, quoting you: 1 "How is changing something that is not broken a useful task?" Nothing is being changed, the majority of users do strive to alphabetize categories in any case, but due to the huge growth in articles and categories even those efforts are not sufficient to maintain that standard, hence the need for help such as via a BOT that would save lots of time and labor that is in short supply. 2 "It is now clear to me that your reason for wanting to do this is WP:IDONTLIKEIT." Not at all, if you scan the vast majority of articles you will clearly see that they all strive for alphabetization of categories because that is what most educated people automatically do when dealing with disorganized titles. 3 "As for cutting off the debate, you are WP:FORUMSHOPPING." No I am not, the previous discussion was cut off barely 24 hours after it began, had it run at least a week I could live with any results. 24 hour cut-offs are not only an insult to human intelligence it's also rude. 4 "You had your discussion and the suggestion was soundly rejected." There was no "discussion". Just one-way reactions, I, or anyone else, was not given an opportunity to discuss anything. 5 "If you want to discuss the other points that is fine." There are no other "points". I am being very clear and at least now there has been an opportunity for the various options to begin to be addressed. Democracy is very refreshing. 6 "But the alphabetizing task should no longer be on the table especially here which is clerly not the best place since it is not clear how many interested parties follow this discussion." Alphabetizing categories is the default choice of the majority of essentially all users (check it out all over for yourself) but it is an imperfectly completed task that needs help because too many categories -- when users choose to focus on organizing categories on pages -- are still left disorganized. I have done my best to bring this discussion to as many concerned people and centralized it here as advised by the user who had hastily closed the prior 24-hour discussion. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 22:26, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
            • The simple answer is bull. I have mostly been working in category section within articles for about 2 years now. I will say, and this is OR, that the vast majority are not alphabetized! There are a few here and there that are, and many users try to respect that, especially if there is a request to do that. Vegaswikian (talk) 23:35, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
              • @Vegaswikian: In ten years of creating hundreds of categories and alphabetizing even more categories I have never had to either "request" to do so nor have I ever encountered any opposition to alphabetizing categories, until I ran into this brick wall over here. And I can tell you I am mighty surprised because having crossed paths with hundreds of editors and creators of articles and categories not once has anyone ever objected to my alphabetizing categories ever! In fact often-times when I arrive at good articles someone has already done that job well and I follow their lead/s! And by the way, just look at most WP articles and you will see they all veer in the direction of the categories on their pages being alphabetized, just with over 4,500,000+ articles and categories & growing, just that the task has become impossible for humans alone to do without some serious assist from the right computer program and software that a BOT could do. So I don't know where you are coming from on this, as you say, maybe just your own "OR". Take care, IZAK (talk) 10:03, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
                • So let me understand this. Your statements are not OR. My changing categories in maybe 50,000 to 100,000 articles may produce a sample that has different results then your smaller sample and is likely wrong. I accept the fact that you have a problem with the opposition to a bot alphabetizing categories. That is something you really need to deal with. While consensus can change, in this case that change, if memory serves me correctly is that the opposition to this change is much stronger. So I don't see why we need to read through this ever lengthening discussion with nothing new really being added. So let's just accept the fact that we don't disagree. Vegaswikian (talk) 17:57, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
                  • @Vegaswikian: Please see the updated #Compromise proposal section below by User Paradoctor (talk · contribs) where we have made quantum leaps of progress and have arrived at a workable solution and hence hopefully agreement that will benefit Wikipedia and all its editors, users and readers, and will supply us with the kind of workable functions we wish to see in categories. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 09:15, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose this is something that is built in to the interface, and can be directed as needed from articles; the task is not well fitted for a bot as the pages would still need to be tagged as to how they should sort in to each category. — xaosflux Talk 23:31, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - This should not be done project-wide. I think this covers it well: "The order in which categories are placed on a page is not governed by any single rule (for example, it does not need to be alphabetical, although partially alphabetical ordering can sometimes be helpful). Normally the most essential, significant categories appear first." -- Netoholic @ 23:37, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
    • @Netoholic: 1 This is precisely the core of the problem, vague and grossly self-contradictory non-practical policies from yesteryear that no one even hears (when last was anyone blocked or a case made for "violation" of such obviously ridiculous non-rules?), that is causing sheer havoc for users of categories and needs to be updated and changed and solved. People get used to living with problems when simple solutions could make life a lot easier! In any case the type of thinking you reflect dates back to the days when there was not a blizzard of categories raining down each day on articles with no system in place to make them usable for end-users. 2 As an example, just take a look at the 51 (yes, that's fifty one) categories at the bottom of the Frank Sinatra article (no doubt over the next year or two it will swell to a few dozen more categories!), it's basically useless to even try using one's eyes to scan for any category because the eyes just swim away from it -- dizzyingly. 3 Some of the categories were alphabetized at some point by someone, but then as is typical it's let go, and then what happens is people use the easy way of adding categories via the "Add a new category" Wikipedia:HotCat tool (also a form of bot or whatever they call such an easy tool!) that just lets any random users (experts and no-experts alike) plop another category at the bottom of the categories lists at the bottom of the article without any logic of where it should go, and there it sits in a hodge-podge "alphabet soup mix" until someone cares enough to fix it which may be never, since it's asking too much of overworked editors to do this kind of "housekeeping" chore. 4 So how anyone can justify such a situation of proliferating chaos and bedlam is beyond belief. Thank you, IZAK (talk) 10:05, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This kind of proposal comes up periodically but I still have no idea why anyone would think it's a good idea. Alphabetical ordering of categories is little better than jumbling them up randomly. It does not help readers find them nor give them any sensible ordering because their names follow various rules depending on the subject, and categories embody every possible subject. Alumni categories, for example, follow the form of "[SCHOOL] alumni", so alphabetizing would necessarily split up a biographical subject's education-related categories. Career-related categories also follow different forms depending on what is being subcategorized; writers, for example, follow forms that include "[XX]-century writers", "[NATIONALITY] writers", "[GENRE] writers", and "Writers from [LOCALITY]". So alphabetizing does not help insure that related categories will be grouped nor would it help a reader locate them (and are we pretending that a reader is going to be looking for a particular category on an article rather than browsing which ones are there?).

    The proposer points out that articles within individual categories are alphabetized, but 1) that's not strictly true given that we need to pipe different sorting on everything from people's last names to lists or topic articles where the relevant noun is pretty far into the article title ("History of X" or "List of Xs that Y"); and 2) where we don't need to pipe, that's because such articles will all be of the same kind so that alphabetical is a meaningful ordering, e.g., we're sorting countries with other countries.

    Also, as noted in the previous thread opened by the same proposer, bots should only be used for mass edits that are clearly consensus-supported. This obviously is not. postdlf (talk) 23:50, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

    • @Postdlf: Could you please explain how on Earth this makes any sense?: "Alphabetical ordering of categories is little better than jumbling them up randomly. It does not help readers find them nor give them any sensible ordering because their names follow various rules depending on the subject, and categories embody every possible subject." Any clear thinking person would be aghast to say that "alphabetization = jumbling up" or "alphabetized categories = no rules"?? Thanks, IZAK (talk) 10:05, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. IZAK's summary of the previous discussion (and the rationales provided) is inaccurate. Those opposing the proposed bot task did so on the basis that it's inconsistent with the relevant guideline (a product of longstanding consensus) and explained why the current setup exists (and why uniform alphabetization would be counterproductive). There's nothing "nebulous" about that. No one used the word "precedent", and I don't even know how WP:ITBOTHERSME and WP:IJUSTDONTLIKEIT are relevant (unless IZAK believes that they apply to any instance in which someone expresses disagreement with an idea). —David Levy 00:29, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    @David Levy: So you admit that there is no clear "policy" to back you, only some nebulous "consensus" from by-gone simpler days that is not officially enshrined anywhere, and certainly does not work as dozens of categories are added to important pages. IZAK (talk) 10:05, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    I mentioned "the relevant guideline" (Wikipedia:Categorization, to which you were directed in both the original discussion and this one). Are you attempting to draw a distinction between policies and guidelines, wherein the former are "officially enshrined" and the latter are not? —David Levy 13:18, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    @David Levy: You miss the point and that is why we are having this discussion here at WP:VPP (that last letter stands for "Policy" -- a place to thrash it out anew or afresh if need be) because whatever "guidelines" there are or aren't, they are not succeeding in facilitating changes. There is stagnation. Most users when inserting categories veer in the direction of alphabetizing them because it's the default mode practiced by most educated humans when confronted with a jumble of names that are out of order. Step A for most people is always to alphabetize and if you look at most articles that's the way categories generally tend to veer. The problem however is that there are now so many articles and multitudinous categories piling up that far too many categories in articles are just a scrambled mess that reflect neglect and confusion and hence the usefulness of the categories is lost. I am trying to rectify this and propose a solution that will ensure the most basic constancy based on ABC->XYZ. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 22:46, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    You miss the point
    I replied to your comment – purported to describe an admission on my part – "that there is no clear 'policy' to back [me], only some nebulous 'consensus' from by-gone simpler days that is not officially enshrined anywhere".
    and that is why we are having this discussion here at WP:VPP (that last letter stands for "Policy" -- a place to thrash it out anew or afresh if need be)
    Do you sincerely believe that I require such an explanation? In the original discussion, I stated that "it's reasonable to propose that categories be ordered in a uniformly alphabetical manner" and explicitly cited this page as an appropriate forum.
    At no point have I asserted that the guideline (in its present form) is sacrosanct and cannot be changed. If and when consensus for a different approach (uniform alphabetization or another alternative) is established, the guideline will be modified accordingly. Until such time, the current version remains in effect, and I (among others) have tried to explain to you that the proposed bot task is inconsistent with it. You've responded with a claim (incorrectly attributed to me) that it "is not officially enshrined anywhere" (the meaning of which you've declined to clarify). —David Levy 00:42, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
    @David Levy: "If and when consensus for a different approach (uniform alphabetization or another alternative) is established, the guideline will be modified accordingly." And that is precisely why we have commenced this discussion! Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing! There is nowhere else such a discussion can be held if not here and now. Thank you, IZAK (talk) 10:18, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
    @IZAK: No, you gave this discussion the title "Create a BOT to alphabetize and organize categories automatically". It's therefore about tasking a bot to enforce alphabetical sorting. It is not about modifying the guideline. --Redrose64 (talk) 15:06, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
    Such a bot could only be allowed after a corresponding change to policy. Presumably, this proposal is framed in terms of a bot because that would make indeed sense if the proposal gets accepted. Note that IZAK came to VP/P, not VP/T. See also this edit. The name of this section can be changed if you insist. Paradoctor (talk) 15:21, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
    Framing the discussion in that manner would make sense. Instead, IZAK denies the guideline's existence/validity, claims that "alphabetization of all categories is the preferred choice of almost all WP users", and insists that "nothing is being changed" under this proposal (purported to merely ensure consistent application of a system already in use). —David Levy 18:45, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
    And that is precisely why we have commenced this discussion!
    And I recommended that the matter be discussed here. But how do you expect to effect change when you explicitly assert that no change is proposed? —David Levy 18:45, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
    @David Levy: Please see the updated #Compromise proposal section below by User Paradoctor (talk · contribs) where we have made quantum leaps of progress and have arrived at a workable solution and hence hopefully agreement that will benefit Wikipedia and all its editors, users and readers, and will supply us with the kind of workable functions we wish to see in categories. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 09:15, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  • No, and furthermore categories should be sorted logically rather than alphabetically. In the example you gave, you have "Communication ministers - Culture ministers - Democratic socialists - Education ministers". You have an ideology (Democratic socialist) mixed in among their cabinet-level positions. This is not optimal. For a typical article, you're going to have "American science-fiction writers" separated from "Writers from Austin, Texas" by the entire list of all the other things she is -- what school she went to and so on. I do not this this is best. "Writers from Austin, Texas" should be grouped either with other categories relating to the person being from Austin or categories relating to the person being a writer -- there's an art to this and and ideally you could get it close to both groups. But to sandwich "Writers from Austin, Texas" in between "Wentworth Military Academy alumni" and "Xavier University alumni".... don't do that. Alphabetization has its place and it's preferable to complete randomness (for one thing, logically connected categories have some tendency to cluster alphabetically -- "American this", "American that" -- but it's a weak tendency), but it's not optimal. Herostratus (talk) 02:32, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
I mean, I don't want to discourage anybody from sorting alphabetically if the categories in a given article are a random mess. It's quicker than logical sorting (no decisions to make), is not subject to error, gives some sort of order to the mess, and probably improves the logical ordering too, over mere randomness. Furthermore, I can't prove that that alphabetic sorting isn't better. It varies between readers I suppose. My gut feeling is that logical ordering is better. It's not something that could easily be proven either way.
So it the categorization is a random mess, fine. But if it's already logical ordered leave it alone, and it it's one of the articles I'm watching I'm liable to reverse it based on not being an improvement. Herostratus (talk) 02:54, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    • @Herostratus: Please see the updated #Compromise proposal section below by User Paradoctor (talk · contribs) where we have made quantum leaps of progress and have arrived at a workable solution and hence hopefully agreement that will benefit Wikipedia and all its editors, users and readers, and will supply us with the kind of workable functions we wish to see in categories. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 09:15, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose – as pointed out already, editors and projects often have good reason for their placement of categories. The nominator's argument that alphabetically sorted categories help readers to find categories they're interested in is a furphy because category names follow no regimented naming system. I also consider edits like the one the nominator offered at Shulamit Aloni disruptive: the revision history tells me that 44 characters have been added, but the total jumble of the categories in the diff view make it impossible to ascertain what was added; I would probably revert such an edit. (Yes, this is a copy of what I wrote 2 days ago at Wikipedia:Bot requests.) -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 04:32, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    • @Michael Bednarek: 1 You say "editors and projects often have good reason for their placement of categories" -- and this is precisely part of what is causing mass confusion because there is no uniformity. 2 You are justifying the chaos of a "Tower of Babel" (i.e. "...Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth... —Genesis 11:4–9") because 3 your end result is not order it is just people talking at cross-purposes and cross-wires and no one one knows which system applies anywhere without "consulting" other editors who have set themselves up as "experts" of confusing readers who just want simple rational easy to locate access to information, and not a "theory" of how subjects got mixed up or how to mix up subjects and then you expect everyone to unravel a "rubik's cube" set-up of categories on every page. IZAK (talk) 10:05, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose (Copying in my original comment that alphabetisation is not beneficial when searching for unknown elements - as is the general usage of category navigation). Categories are better when sorted semantically, with the most relevant first. This is because a reader (using this system for navigation to similar articles) will often not be looking for a category that already have in mind. As a result, alphabetising categories serves little purpose because that is a useful arrangement only when trying to locate elements that are known. That said, I would approve of a proposal that births/deaths/living people categories should always be first listed on biographies as a standard. SFB 06:39, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    • @Sillyfolkboy: What does "Categories are better when sorted semantically" mean? Does it require a degree in semantics? Most users arrive with far more basic assumptions and expectations. When searching or researching through a good text book you head straight for the Back-of-the-book index and not for the "semantics" of it. IZAK (talk) 10:05, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
      • @IZAK: It means moving the most relevant and similar categories to the top and the less relevant ones to the end. (You can read semantics if you want to learn more.) A reader will view categories from start to finish. No reader goes to the index to read it from A-Z. Readers use an index because they are already looking for a certain term. It is only in that instance where alphabetising gives a navigational benefit and known elements can be located more quickly than in an non-alphabetised list. SFB 06:41, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
        • @Sillyfolkboy: Granted, there can be only ONE category at the top of any list of categories that I will say, and that is an eponymous category that matches the exact name of an article, just as all category pages aim to have their equivalent {{main}} article at the top of each category's page. Other than that, as they say "one man's bread, is another man's poison" and what one person may consider to be the best and hottest "theme" or "semantic" "guideline" for a category grouping will drive another editor up the wall. There will never be any solution or agreement about such things because people have subjective criteria for what they hold to be important to themselves. To people from California coming from that state it may be more important than being a band leader, etc. Take care, IZAK (talk) 10:18, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
          • @IZAK:Placing eponymous categories at the start would be another proposed guideline that I would support. There is certainly some subjectivity in the preferred order of the semantic groups, but (at least in biographies) there are often high level choices with a sound basis. See Usain Bolt as an example: birth/living leads, followed by occupation categories, then competition categories grouped (the remainder are more assortive). I hope this helps to show how a non-alphabetised system can make a lot of sense for a reader looking at previously unknown categories. SFB 18:12, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
            • @Sillyfolkboy: Please see the updated #Compromise proposal section below by User Paradoctor (talk · contribs) where we have made quantum leaps of progress and have arrived at a workable solution and hence hopefully agreement that will benefit Wikipedia and all its editors, users and readers, and will supply us with the kind of workable functions we wish to see in categories. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 09:15, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose—per above and the fact that there a number of logical ways to organize entries, and alphabetical is only one. It is also not always the best one. Imzadi 1979  06:53, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose This proposal is putting the cart before the horse. Per most of the above !votes there is no consensus (or even a really good argument) for alphasorting categories at all. Proposing a bot to do <something> automagically when there is no consensus that the <something> even should or needs to be done at all simply makes no sense. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 07:07, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose What I said at Wikipedia:Bot requests/Archive 61#Create a BOT to alphabetize and organize categories automatically still stands, and see also Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Categories/Archive 4#re alphabetizing categories on the article pages. --Redrose64 (talk) 08:45, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    @Redrose64: 1 Your "see also Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Categories/Archive 4#re alphabetizing categories on the article pages" basically sounds like a group of people saying WP:ITBOTHERSME & WP:IJUSTDONTLIKEIT because it does not address the current situation whereby dozens of categories are being added to articles all the time and 2 with the "opinions" expressed on that talk page, basically only the users who place their jumbled-up groups of categories on a given article would know how to use it. 3 This is like arguing for the acceptance of an esoteric and secret language or mysterious "code" that requires something on the level of "code breaking" to figure out the random no rhyme nor reason for the way categories are clumped up in groups all over the place and no one knows how to easily and quickly reach the related contents they may be looking for in any article. 4 It also overlooks that Wikipedia users include basically all school-children who can read, college students, and just ordinary people (hundreds of millions of end users) all of whom have been educated and trained to find things in an orderly alphabetical fashion. That is the way the world works. 5 In fact ALL Wikipedia categories internally list ALL articles alphabetically automatically sorted based on either the first letter of an article's name unless corrected by "|" sign in a category that then directs the article to its correct position in the alphabetical listing within the designated category. 6 The same alphabetical rules and methodology and system should apply to categories when placed on any article or other category pages, and this is what a BOT could easily solve and thereby make life easier for the hundreds of millions of the global READERSHIP of WP who are not WP "experts" nor are they editors with their own turf to protect for whatever reasons. Thank you, IZAK (talk) 11:38, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    The order that pages are listed in a category has nothing to do with the order that categories are listed on a page. The rules of one do not apply to the other. Please also note that WP:BOTREQUIRE, fourth and fifth bullets, means that no bot will be approved to carry out the task you want, since it is far too controversial. You're also not going to get many people to change their minds by bashing off a 1,000-character response to each of the responders here; WP:TLDR applies. --Redrose64 (talk) 13:15, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    It's become clear that you regard your preferred method as self-evidently correct and intend to dismiss any contrary views as "people saying WP:ITBOTHERSME & WP:IJUSTDONTLIKEIT". Editors have attempted to explain why they regard the current approach as more practical, but you're so convinced that it results in sheer pandemonium that you characterize others' arguments as advocacy of such. This is unhelpful. —David Levy 13:18, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    @David Levy: To repeat, if you review the vast majority of articles on WP you will see that no matter all the opposition being expressed here, all of that is a minority view because simple alphabetization of all categories is the preferred choice of almost all WP users, just the task is not being completed and performed proficiently and far too many articles are looking like they are "schizophrenic" in the categories department. It's also becoming clear that while most users are expressing themselves and I am taking the time to respond as fully as I can and we are having a frank exchange you are choosing to respond by violating WP:AGF. Please cut me some slack and don't be "strict" with me, we are not in "high school" and you are not the "headmaster" to crack the whip at me. If you wish not to respond fine, but to just read me the riot act gets us nowhere. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 22:59, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    To repeat, if you review the vast majority of articles on WP you will see that no matter all the opposition being expressed here, all of that is a minority view because simple alphabetization of all categories is the preferred choice of almost all WP users,
    You've begun asserting this continually. I just viewed twenty-five random articles, of which four contained categories listed alphabetically. Of those, one contained five categories (and the alphabetization appeared deliberate) and the other three contained two or three categories each (so the alphabetical order might have been coincidental, but let's assume that it was intentional). Note that I excluded two articles (containing one category each) from the sample. Also note that had I encountered an article containing a large quantity of alphabetized categories with some deviations, I'd have counted it too (but that didn't occur).
    just the task is not being completed and performed proficiently and far too many articles are looking like they are "schizophrenic" in the categories department.
    And I assume that this is your explanation. (In your view, apparently, categories not arranged alphabetically are inherently disorganized and serve only as evidence of chaos.)
    It's also becoming clear that while most users are expressing themselves and I am taking the time to respond as fully as I can and we are having a frank exchange you are choosing to respond by violating WP:AGF.
    Please quote the message(s) in which I accused you of acting in bad faith. For the record, I believe no such thing.
    Please cut me some slack and don't be "strict" with me, we are not in "high school" and you are not the "headmaster" to crack the whip at me. If you wish not to respond fine, but to just read me the riot act gets us nowhere.
    I opined that your approach has been dismissive of others' views. You're entitled to disagree, but I'm baffled as to why you interpreted that criticism as something analogous to the above. —David Levy 00:42, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @David Levy: No David, you are simply proving my point there is NOTHING "coincidental" about what the "alphabetical order might have been" of categories in articles, as you have seen for yourself from your field trip across WP (surprised you have not noticed this before) while I can tell you from hands on ten years of experience that almost UNIVERSALLY the "default" practical methodology of organizing categories is alphabetically-motivated and as you rightly point out it's an over-all disorganized, and thankless, situation and task, that is in serious need of a remedy and therefore as I suggest let a BOT do the sorting and stop all the disorganization you have just borne witness to yourself. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 10:33, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

How carefully did you read my reply? Yours is a non sequitur (bordering on self-parody). —David Levy 18:45, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
@David Levy: To Repeat: Please see the updated #Compromise proposal section below by User Paradoctor (talk · contribs) where we have made quantum leaps of progress and have arrived at a workable solution and hence hopefully agreement that will benefit Wikipedia and all its editors, users and readers, and will supply us with the kind of workable functions we wish to see in categories. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 09:15, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose When creating new biographies, the first two categories I always list are year of birth, then either living people/year of death. These seem to be the most important. Then I'll add the most relevant categories related to the subject (IE - the defining aspects of why the bio was created in the first place) and then add the semi-trival ones last. A-Z doesn't really serve much purpose, unless the article literally has dozens and dozens of categories. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 09:39, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    • @Lugnuts: 1 You have obviously not read point two of my proposal that deals with precisely your concern, "Create a uniform system for where to place categories on each article and category page that commence with numbers, such as years of birth/death, centuries, and any category that starts with a number/numeral", by creating a BOT that will simultaneously alphabetize the categories and put any categories beginning with any sort of number (such as years, decades, centuries) into one rational systematized order across all WP pages. 2 Right now many users have no clue where to place such number-categories, sometimes they are at the bottom of the list and sometimes at the top or in the middle. 3 The easy to use Wikipedia:HotCat buttons at the bottom of every article's and category's pages add to the problem because if a user wishes to add a category beginning with a number (like a date or year or century) it simply gets placed at the bottom of the existing categories list on an article's page awaiting some kind-hearted editor to come along and put it at the top or wherever it should have been in the first. 4 That's like making a big mess and waiting for an adult figure with sense or responsibility to clean up after the mess-makers and enablers, and it's gotten out of hand, which is why I have finally brought up this untenable situation. Thank you, IZAK (talk) 10:58, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
      • @IZAK: You have obviously missed the point. Read my post again. And again. It's about not having the Category:Living people buried in a mess of other categories, when that is clearly the most important. Got it now? Good. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 11:28, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
        • @Lugnuts: Totally absurd. You mean, for example, that even a very minor living French pop-singer who may have a {{stub}} about themselves should be more WP:N than, say, the long-dead Napoleon? Who came up with such a "rule" that if someone is alive they get "top-billing" on Wikipedia? All people do die, so what happens when people die off, do you then go around and "demote" them to the realm of the "dead" on their WP pages? You do realize how absurd such a system sounds don't you? That is why alphabetization is used by all humanity everywhere since it does not "discriminate" between those who are dead or alive, because there cannot be system of "favorites" where people who favor one subject get to choose where a clump of categories goes on an article while those who favor another way put the clumps somewhere else. One group alphabetizes and another reverts them, that is setting up WP:EDITWARS over NOTHING! This is totally bizarre and in all of my ten years of active categorizing articles and creating hundreds of new categories, I have never heard of such a non-proposal. Thank you, IZAK (talk) 11:55, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
          • Lugnuts meant that Category:Living people is more important in the context of a living person than most other categories are (with a "year of death" category the equivalent in an article about a deceased person, as noted above). No comparison between living and deceased people was made. —David Levy 13:18, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
            • DL has it correct. The below example of Frank Sinatra is a good one. Let's say he is still alive. The Category:Living people would sit snuggly between Cat:Kennedy Center honorees and Cat:Male actors from New Jersey. D'oh! Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 14:13, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @David Levy: @Lugnuts: That is why it is bad precedent to set up arbitrary "rules" of "living" or "dead" since there is absolutely no way to arrive at a consensus for such things, while simple alphabetization is the simplest universal default choice and the manner of doing this for most people, and it is hard to believe such a truism would need so much "proof" it is just so self-evident. I had cited the Frank Sinatra article as an example of chaotic categories before it is changed to suit anyone's POV. "sit snuggly"?? IZAK (talk) 23:17, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

That is why it is bad precedent to set up arbitrary "rules" of "living" or "dead" since there is absolutely no way to arrive at a consensus for such things,
That isn't even an on-topic response; you simply dropped relevant keywords into yet another reiteration of your argument, presented as though it somehow refutes something written above.
while simple alphabetization is the simplest universal default choice and the manner of doing this for most people, and it is hard to believe such a truism would need so much "proof" it is just so self-evident.
And that's the crux of the problem. You regard your preferred method as self-evidently correct, struggle to fathom how anyone could fail to recognize something so blindingly obvious, and can only conclude that we must be a bunch of anarchists rebelling against the practice that all sensible editors employ. —David Levy 00:42, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
@David Levy: I am not "struggling" with anything. I am just amazed that in my ten years of creating hundreds categories and alphabetizing hundreds of them if not more, with not so much as peep to oppose what I have diligently been doing, if anything most people tend to neglect this area of categories (no wonder when they are so confused and confusing) having spent basically a decade trying to sort out the mess. Now comes this discussion and about half a dozen or so editors are adamant that alphabetizing categories is equivalent to the "original sin". Don't worry about me, whatever happens as a result of this discussion it will not be in vain for "Rome was not built in a day" and neither was Wikipedia or its way of organizing categories. So now I have met the people who like to organize by "theme" or "semantics" or who just prefer what they imagine to be "random chaos" or just go by the theory of "if it ain't broke don't fix it" no matter that categories are seriously broken as they pile up in articles following no rule or method of organization and it is fascinating to watch the scorn that people heap on the power of the simple alphabet to get us all out of the growing quagmire. Oh sorry, some think it's a "paradise" -- take your pick. Either way, I am not worried, life will go on. Thanks, 10:54, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
I am just amazed that in my ten years of creating hundreds categories and alphabetizing hundreds of them if not more, with not so much as peep to oppose what I have diligently been doing,
Are you under the impression that others' position is that alphabetizing categories is never appropriate and must be stopped?
Now comes this discussion and about half a dozen or so editors are adamant that alphabetizing categories is equivalent to the "original sin".
That answers my question, I suppose. —David Levy 18:45, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose default alphabetization, bot or not I sorted the Sinatra categories with the following result:

This is clearly no better than the current situation. Having said that, it is clear that there is considerable room for improvement in this matter. Paradoctor (talk) 11:51, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

  • @Paradoctor: Thanks! That's one down and four and half million articles plus who knows how many more tens of thousands of categories to go on the English WP alone! Thanks for admitting that "Houston we have a problem" though, much appreciated, it is definitely a step in the right direction for solving the massive unholy mess. By the way, why do you oppose a BOT so much, since after all by now no human being or even a group of willing and able editors can fix the millions of pages with the jumbled up categories. Thank you, IZAK (talk) 12:03, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • "you oppose a BOT" Hein? It's not the bot I have a problem with, it's the proposal to require "default alphabetization", which should have been clear from the bolded description of my !vote. For articles with few categories alphabetization makes no difference, and for articles with many categories there always a more useful way of arranging categories. This means that alphabetization is either useless or detrimental, depending on where it hits. That is why the guideline says "it does not need to be alphabetical". This means that what you propose has already been discussed by the community, and has been rejected, by wide consensus. For a nice and clear example of how non-alphabetic order beats alphabetic hands down, see the Stephen Hawking example below. Paradoctor (talk) 18:26, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • @Paradoctor: The way I read "it does not need to be alphabetical" is that "of course most people would and do alphabetize categories since that's the normal rational and simplest way such things are done, but if someone comes up with unorthodox or alternate ways of categorizing it is not a violation either." It is just giving wiggle room for the thankless task of organizing categories, which may have been good for a bygone era when there were fewer articles and categories. Now we have millions of articles and related categories. With most users as evidenced by perusing most WP article pages striving for alphabetization of categories, but because of the vast numbers involved huge numbers of articles are being bombarded with unsorted categories that makes Wikipedia look unorganized. "Hein"?? IZAK (talk) 23:17, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • WP:CATDEF "Normally the most essential, significant categories appear first." (my emphasis) This is similar to MOS:DABORDER, and contraindicates alphabetical order for the vast mojority of cases.
"Hein" wikt:hein#French Face-wink.svg Paradoctor (talk) 10:14, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Categories have enough issues without worrying about order. JMJimmy (talk) 12:00, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    • @JMJimmy: Very puzzling comment. While you admit that categories have many problems you are unwilling to support the creation of a BOT that would alphabetically automatically sort out categories reducing the need for human intervention beyond the creation and application of a WP:BOT. Pray do tell what you are thinking. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 12:07, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't see any value in organizing them alphabetically. The only sorting value I could see is a hierarchical one and doing that properly would require a code update not a bot. The only possible value I might be convinced of is on pages with insane number of categories, however, in those cases I'd prefer to trim rather than sort. JMJimmy (talk) 12:17, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
@JMJimmy: 1 You say "The only possible value I might be convinced of is on pages with insane number of categories" so you do partially agree with me, because as things stand right now the problem is growing and the question of what is an "insane" number is left out in the open. 2 Someone may find ten categories on a page "insane" while another user may think that anything under 50 is "normal" and anything above that is "insane" so who gets to decide what is "sane" or"insane" on WP? 3 However, a BOT that automatically organizes all categories in alphabetical order without prejudice to any other criterion would impose sanity on what is an over-all insane situation. 4 When you say "however, in those cases I'd prefer to trim rather than sort", as anyone who has been on the front-lines of categorization knows people get very touchy and possessive in WP:OWN manner of what they regard as "their" favorite way of listing categories and any long-term attempts at making sweeping changes will land you in a WP:EDITWAR with someone monitoring those pages, all this contributes to a stalemate where categories get neglected and other users are afraid and couldn't be bothered to make needed upgrades and positive changes. Thanks again, IZAK (talk) 13:00, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
1) I don't agree with you - when something like this happens I think they should be gutted as categories like that are better served by list pages. 2) not important 3) I'd much rather a human editor who can sort them by subjective importance than alphabetically. 4) see 1, people get touchy about everything here, it's nothing new. There's an in-crowed who can do what they want and an out crowd who have to justify every action. It is what it is. JMJimmy (talk) 13:15, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
@JMJimmy: Love your response, at least you make sense from your POV. IZAK (talk) 23:33, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
@JMJimmy: Please see the updated #Compromise proposal section below by User Paradoctor (talk · contribs) where we have made quantum leaps of progress and have arrived at a workable solution and hence hopefully agreement that will benefit Wikipedia and all its editors, users and readers, and will supply us with the kind of workable functions we wish to see in categories. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 09:15, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per @Imzadi1979: who makes the case most succinctly. --Rosiestep (talk) 13:28, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. alphabetization is a standard organizing principle. But beyond that, automatization frees up the brain cells of humans to do other things. If at a future time further adjustments need to be made to the relatively simplistic system of organization by alphabetical order, those adjustments too should be made by bot. For instance perhaps articles need to be addressed differently by type of article. Bots can be made just for WP:BLPs, for instance. Bots can be made just for articles on geographical locations, for instance. And a general bot can be set loose on everything that does not fit into neat areas set aside for special treatment. Bus stop (talk) 11:37, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
So you are saying we should not put the most important/relevant categories first, except when they begin with "1" or "A"? That would be the consequence of requiring alphabetization. Paradoctor (talk) 13:09, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Who is deciding the order of importance for Categories? Presumably a Category is important or it would not be used. The prose portions of an article are written according to conventions of good writing. Our Manual of Style or other style guides can tell us about how to write an article. But what is guiding us in the organization of the collection of Categories found at the bottom of a page? I think alphabetization is a good method of organization. I think the Category box at the bottom of the page would be easier to peruse if all Categories were stacked in single file, one above the other. Just as we have [show]/[hide] options we could have an [organize Categories vertically] option above the box containing the Categories. It would not be hard to peruse a vertically organized collection of Categories and alphabetization would rationalize the order in which Categories appear. Bus stop (talk) 14:23, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
"vertically organized" Copy #mw-normal-catlinks li,#mw-hidden-catlinks li {display:block} to User:Bus stop/common.css, that should do the trick.
"Who is deciding" I think you mean "which criteria decide". Since the category box is there to enable navigation, the answer is: Whatever makes navigation easiest. This situation is pretty much analogous to disambiguation, so MOS:DABORDER applies in spirit, if not in the exact letter. All things being equal, the category that will take the most clicks to their intended destination comes first. Paradoctor (talk) 16:34, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Sorry to pile on, but this is a bad idea. Enforced alphabetization does not help readers. I firmly agree with Lugnuts on this issue, and I do the same exact thing. We should logically group related categories and prioritize the most important ones. If someone is alive, that is a (maybe even the) defining characteristic of the person. Within logical groupings, it is entirely reasonable to alphabetize them, but it is wrong to compulsively force everything into alphabetical order. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 23:47, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The funny thing that I have requested something similar many many years ago. I realised at some point that this is not a good idea. It's impossible to create a generic law for that kind of things. For instance if the page title matches the category (for example: Stephen Hawking and cat:Stephen Hawking) it is better to have this on the top IMO. Similar things may apply to other things such as cat:Living people which makes more sense to be after xxxx births cat. Same applies for Year of birth missing cat which makes more sense to rename it as soon as the birth year is found instead of replacing it and moving it. Probably, there are more examples but I think I made my point. I do not recall any epic edit wars for category sorting. I would not like to see one starting now. -- Magioladitis (talk) 22:57, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
Of course any Category that is identical to the title should come first. All who have commented on that have agreed with that. But the other Categories actually don't have any "right" order or any "preferable" order. These Categories are found in a box at the bottom of the article to be used as the reader sees fit and we editors haven't the foggiest idea how a reader will see fit to use Categories. It is humorous to think that we know the reason a reader is using our encyclopedia. The more important purpose of an encyclopedia is as a source of pure knowledge as opposed to applied knowledge. Wikipedia is not an instruction manual or a "how-to" guide. Among our purposes is not the training of automatons. I for one would like to think that I am writing an encyclopedia for some readers who have original ideas. I wouldn't think for a minute that I could contrive an arrangement of the Categories that would facilitate their research. We should not delude ourselves into thinking that we know, on an article-by-article basis, the best order for displaying Categories. Bus stop (talk) 01:01, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Identifying types of articles for which alphabetical arrangement of categories is undesirable

I see a lot of editors using biographical articles as an example of why categories should not be alphabetically arranged. Perhaps, then, we should think about reaching some consensus on how categories should be arranged in biographical articles. Are there other types of articles for which an alphabetical arrangement of categories would not be desirable, and if so, what is the best order for arranging their categories? If these particular situations can be identified, then perhaps an alphabetical arrangement would be all right for other situations. — Cheers, JackLee talk 10:38, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

  • In all articles some or other thematic arrangement is best. Alphasorting within a "thematic cluster" of categories might make sense if such a cluster is large enough to make it worthwhile. Simple alphabetic-only sorting is undesirable in all cases, unless there is no discernible thematic cluster - very unlikely to be the case with articles that have more than 5 or 6 categories - sorting such short lists of categories is pretty pointless anyway. I don't see how it would be possible to even identify any "types" of articles where alphasorting would be preferable over any other arrangement. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 11:39, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
    • @Dodger67: Question: Who came up with this notion of sorting categories by "theme" and who decides what themes are good and what themes are a no-no? when internally ALL categories sort all the articles they hold alphabetically and it's even alphabetically facilitated across the board by the {{DEFAULTSORT}} template found on many pages that pushes any other "system" aside. Thank you, IZAK (talk) 12:13, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Helpful would be a few concrete examples of articles with a lot of categories, where the arrangement of the categories is generally agreed to be close to optimal. This would help determining what rules are useful in arranging categories. Do such examples exist? Paradoctor (talk)
  • @Paradoctor: Now that is one heck of a request because it touches on the core problem -- that there is NO such "optimal" set of articles or method, it's everyone doing as they please and when it does not suit someone they just revert as they please, something an automated BOT sorting ALL categories alphabetically would finally put a stop to and create simple order of vast bedlam. You are dealing with trying to discover and aggregate something out of over 4 million articles and countless category pages. Just choose random articles all over the place of notable topics and you will see for yourself that what you ask for does not really exist, just mountains and mountains of self-contradictory unhelpful chaos in categories to the point that their usefulness is lost as the tide of more categories are added to pages each guided by the whims and fancies of any particular editor who just has his or her own way of placing categories! Thanks, IZAK (talk) 12:19, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm afraid you misunderstood me. I did not ask for a set of articles jointly conforming to some rule of ordering categories, I asked for examples where each article on its own is considered to have a nicely organized set of categories. Comparing these pages then might permit to find general rules worthy of discussion as a proposal to improve upon WP:CATDEF.
"vast bedlam" Lots of people around the globe find our bedlam rather tasty, I daresay. It's kind of like democracy: much messier than monarchy, but people still seem to prefer it. Face-wink.svg Paradoctor (talk) 18:39, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
@Paradoctor: Needless to say my love of Wikipedia is as great as anyone's else's, why else would I still be editing here and getting into discussions like this after over 11 years on the job as a pure labor love? But from what I can tell, you are now saying, the heck with everything because WP:IGNOREALLRULES is now the new "law of the jungle" by which to "sort out" categories on Wikipedia. IZAK (talk) 23:33, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
"as great as anyone's else's" Nobody doubted that. The way you talk, though, one can get very easily the impression that you are intent on imposing a single simple ruleset on everyone, when numerous members of the community give you reasoned arguments to the contrary. Your reaction above is a point in case. You framed my request in terms of a single rule, rather than seeing the possibility that I could've meant to evaluate pages individually. You mentioned that Wikipedia has grown and matured quite a ways from the CamelCase days. Maybe it would be a good idea to apply that argument to our policies. They evolved, too, which makes it rather likely that any single rule in it represents WP:CONSENSUS hashed out very thoroughly. Paradoctor (talk) 10:33, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
@Paradoctor: Neglect does not "equal" "consensus" and an open discussion does not mean the end of the world either. Hang in there! IZAK (talk) 10:54, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
More than 500 watchers and ≈400 views/day pretty clearly negate any idea of "neglect".
If you talk about the individual articles, you might want to consider WP:SILENCE. As long as nobody objects, there is absolutely no problem with you alphabetizing categories. Paradoctor (talk) 13:43, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
      • Isak... What's wrong with editors at each article ordering the categories as they think best? Why do we need a system? You call the current situation bedlam... I call it flexibility. The current situation is only a problem if you think categories need to be in some sort of uniform system. If you don't care about the order (and most of us don't) then there is no need a uniform system. My take... If editors want to list categories in alphabetical order at article X, fine... if they want to use some other system at article Y, that's fine too... and, if at article Z, they want to have no system at all (and just have the cats be random)... that's also fine. Blueboar (talk) 12:54, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
        • @Blueboar: 1 While your comments are well-meaning, what you say applies to simpler days when categories first started about 10 years ago and in that early era a couple or more categories pasted in any which way did not matter in any way because anyone could take a look at the articles and use the categories. It still works that way for many simple articles. 2 But the situation has drastically changed since those early days because as articles have evolved in complexity, and richness of content is improved, like-wise proportionately one finds that such articles become loaded with bloated amounts categories that are so randomly sprinkled about that no one can make heads or tales of them without looking at them through a "microscope" as it were. 3 The problem is compounded with the Wikipedia:HotCat tool on every page that simply lets anyone add categories that are then placed at the bottom of any list of categories at the bottom of any page, without them ever getting sorted into any schemata whatsoever, something an automated BOT that could place all categories in alphabetical order would solve. 4 Here are just a few random examples of the chaos in categories I am talking about, see these articles: Leon Trotsky (49 totally scrambled categories); Dean Martin (with 29 jumbled-up categories); Alfred Hitchcock (23 confused categories, with some sorting); Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (32 categories spread around); Jane Fonda (37 categories, about 15 are totally out of order). 5 While here are good examples of how alphabetization helps: Napoleon; David Ben-Gurion; George Washington (one is out of place at the bottom); Adolf Hitler; Marlon Brando; Golda Meir; Walt Disney. 6 This dissonance and variance needs a way to be standardized so that one system of alphabetization of categories prevails. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 14:05, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I disagree... If editors desire to place the categories listed on those pages in some sort of order, I have no problem with them doing so... but there is no pressing need to do so. And if the desire exists, why choose alphabetization over some other ordering system? To be honest, I would find an alphabetized order to be just as confusing as leaving the cats in random order. An alphabetized list of cats certainly would make it any easier for me to navigate to other articles on similar subjects (which is the whole point of categorization) than a random order would. If I felt the desire to order the cats, my gut instinct would be to organize thematically. Blueboar (talk) 15:32, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • An arrangement for David Ben-Gurion clearly better than alphabetic:
Paradoctor (talk) 19:24, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • And how is this sequence from Adolf Hitler sensible?
  • Austrian writers
  • Chancellors of Germany
  • Conspiracy theorists
  • Fascist rulers
  • Flag designers
Paradoctor (talk) 20:00, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Paradoctor: Because it's alphabetical and people know how to spell way before they can figure out complicated "themes" and "semantics". IZAK (talk) 23:33, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

That would be an argument if we left the readers to their own devices. In that case, alphasorting might indeed be marginally preferable to, say, the order in which the categories were added. But, as has been pointed out several times to you, even rather broad grouping beats alphabetic by a wide margin, and requiring alphabetic order would interfere with this. This kind of grouping gives the reader those themes and semantics exactly so they don't have to figure them out themselves. The Hawking example does this, and sorting it would completely destroy the assistance this arrangement provides to the reader. Paradoctor (talk) 10:43, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
  • An example of thematically sorted categories.

I added small text annotation to identify the theme of each group. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 13:14, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

Good example. Blueboar (talk) 13:38, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Dodger67: @Blueboar: And who is now going to do this new job? Can't wait to see the arguments over placement of which categories in what order. A total waste of time and useless spinning of wheels when simple organization by alphabetization is in any case preferred by almost all Wikipedia users, just look around and see, just that the task has become too overwhelming and now needs technical help from a BOT since we live in the digital information age & cyber age whereby computer programs are designed to make our lives easier and we are not meant to fight the obvious. Life is complicated enough as it is, no reason to make it more so or settle for a chaotic work environment on WP. IZAK (talk) 23:33, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

Who is going to do this new job? The editors who work on each individual article.
Remember that There is no deadline. Deciding how the categories should appear on the bottom of any specific article may not be a priority, but eventually someone will come along and do it... if only because each of these articles will get to a state where the only thing left to do are "tweaks" like putting the categories attached to the article in some sort of logical order.
One final thing... your state that "simple organization by alphabetization is in any case preferred by almost all Wikipedia users"... given what others have said here on this pump page (which is a good random sampling of users), I have to question that assertion. It seems that alphabetization is not actually preferred. At least not over thematic ordering. Blueboar (talk) 11:33, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
@Blueboar: Please see the updated #Compromise proposal section below by User Paradoctor (talk · contribs) where we have made quantum leaps of progress and have arrived at a workable solution and hence hopefully agreement that will benefit Wikipedia and all its editors, users and readers, and will supply us with the kind of workable functions we wish to see in categories. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 09:15, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
We also should be mindful of the different perspectives that people hold—both readers and editors. There can be disputes among editors over the seemingly most minor of things. "Thematic ordering" may not represent the best of organizing principles in this collaborative editing environment. Bus stop (talk) 11:59, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
True... I am not saying that "Thematic ordering" will always be best... just that sometimes it will be. "What is best" is a decision that should lie with the editors at each individual article, not a bot. If the choice of system becomes an issue, the editors can discuss that issue and reach a consensus on which system they think is best (for that specific article). As I have said, I have no problem with alphabetization - if that is the choice of the editors at the specific article. However, if the editors reach a consensus to use some other ordering system, they should be free to do so. A bot will not recognize situations where editorial consensus is to use some other system. Blueboar (talk) 12:22, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
And even if it did, what IZAK is asking is not giving the choice to use any ordering but alphabetical. "Bedlam" aka deferring to local consensus is already policy. Paradoctor (talk) 12:44, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Please give me an example in which "thematic ordering" is clearly preferable to an alphabetically ordered list of Categories. One need only glance over the twenty or so odd Categories to see ones that might be of interest. To make this even easier there could be an option of viewing the alphabetically organized Categories in a vertical stack. Just as we have a [show]/[hide] option we could have a [view vertically]/[view linearly] option. I think it is very easy to peruse entries when they are stacked vertically. Bus stop (talk) 14:40, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
@Bus stop: Please see the updated #Compromise proposal section below by User Paradoctor (talk · contribs) where we have made quantum leaps of progress and have arrived at a workable solution and hence hopefully agreement that will benefit Wikipedia and all its editors, users and readers, and will supply us with the kind of workable functions we wish to see in categories. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 09:15, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Already done. The Sinatra and Hawking examples. If you wish, I will present a thematically ordered list for Sinatra. "Glancing" works only for articles with not too many categories, the Sinatra case is clearly a "searcher", not a "glancer". And let's not forget that not all our readers are quick readers. Thematic ordering helps skipping stuff.
Also, one might want to notice that of the Hitler categories, 1889 births comes first alphabetically. Compare this fact to [1] [2] [3]. With these numbers, Recipients should be presented before 1889 births. Even 1945 deaths edges it out. Paradoctor (talk) 16:58, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

  • Comment IZAK asked for my opinion here. I think his original proposal has a good point, and it is seen more clearly in typical examples with a medium number of categories. Looking at University of Florida, the first 8 categories are in alphabetical order; the last 3, which may have been added separately, are not. I do not think the ones in the alphabetic listing are at all confusing--the others are the ones that are confusing. Looking at Gainesville, Florida, the categories are at random. To see if an article is in a specific category would be easier if they were alphabetic.
But this mis-states the problem. They would be easier if they were in any logical consistent arrangement. By far the easiest one to accomplish is alphabetic, which is a very simple sort. Anything else is far more complicated. The arrangement above by [[User:Dodger67{|Dodger67{]] is a very good one, and better than plain alphabetic. I think many of us could probably find alternative equally good ones,(and, knowing Wikipedia, I expect elaborate discussion over just which one to adopt). But how would it be accomplished without manually coding every individual one of our categories into groups (and, knowing Wikipedia, dealing with the disputes about how to do so in specific cases) Looking just at BLPs I can think of algorithms for some groups (such as "born in" and "died in" before everything else. I can't think of many others--even "People from" is often a multiple, but perhaps it doesn't matter "Alumni" is also distinctive . But how we're going to pull out the occupational categories without listing every one, or separating the various awards, I do not know. And, as mentioned elsewhere non-BLPs are more difficult, though for organizations there could probably be a similar scheme; and for places we could put the purely geographic location categories first.
The question is whether it is worth the trouble. That of course depends if someone wants to do it. (I certainly don;t, and do those supporting it intend to volunteer?
I propose a hybrid solution:
  1. Sort all categories alphabetically programatically. Any further work on them will be easier if they are in a consistent order. Could be done in a few days, depending how fast the bot is permitted to go. (There would need periodical additional runs , of course)
  2. Gradually arrange the categories in a manner similar to that suggested, going by type of article, as those people who want to work on it. There would be a flag to indicate that this had been done, so the alphabetic bot would skip them. There would need to be followup work as people add categories or mess them up, but that's normal for any process. This would still fail the moment someone devised a new category. so there would be continuing maintenance. And continuing arguments. This step would go as fast or slow as people did the work, which probably means it would start off well, but never finish.
  3. Devise something better than the existing system of categories. This is the key step. I understand the potential for category intersection is available in MediaWiki. I think there are some practical difficulties, but I don't know details. We'd still have to sort the unit terms that would intersect, but the work would be much smaller. (deciding on the unit terms' may not be quite so simple.). There may also be other solutions than intersection, but I'm not immediately aware of any. Since as a librarian I do know a little information science, I'd be willing to work on something better. Personally, I think it's folly to spend any substantial time on the present system. DGG ( talk ) 16:23, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
I took a look at the Featured and Good article criteria pages, neither even mentions categories, so I'm not convinced that the order of categories is really worth fretting about at all. WP:HotCat, which practically everybody except newbies uses, just puts them down in the order they are added anyway. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 19:03, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment After reviewing the comments and suggestions, I have to say that DGG's suggestion corresponds best to what I would have suggested on my own. IZAK's proposal to alphabetize works best on articles with fewer categories. As DGG points out, it's articles where the subject falls into a large number of categories where thematic grouping can be an extremely useful alternative to strict alphabetization. The examples from David Ben-Gurion to Frank Sinatra are typical of these exceptional cases. Alansohn (talk) 04:27, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

@DGG:@Dodger67:@Alansohn:: Please see the updated #Compromise proposal section below by User Paradoctor (talk · contribs) where we have made quantum leaps of progress and have arrived at a workable solution and hence hopefully agreement that will benefit Wikipedia and all its editors, users and readers, and will supply us with the kind of workable functions we wish to see in categories. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 09:15, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

  • Comment I can't help thinking this is a solution desperately searching for a problem. The orderly arrangement of categories is way down near the bottom of the list of things that need fixing on en:WP - we have far bigger fish to fry, so this whole thing looks a lot like "make-work" (keywords: deck-chairs, Titanic, iceberg). As I remarked earlier, the GA and FA criteria don't even mention categories at all. HotCat, the tool most used to add categories doesn't order them at all. Oh and don't forget that entropy always wins. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 07:21, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

OK, OK, the proposal is not gaining a lot of acceptance, and fine, but let's not get carried away. I think it is almost certainly true that alphabetizing categories is preferable to the categories being listed completely (or mostly) at random. Right? There are two reasons for this: 1) it imposes some sort of order that at least some readers might find useful, and 2) it will tend to increase the logical order somewhat compared to mere chaos -- all the "American such-and-such" will be grouped together and so on, which is an improvement over mere randomness.

Alphabetizing has advantages from production point of view -- it's much easier, so it could be done by a bot or an editor working quickly and mindlessly (as opposed to having to cogitate on the best logical or semantic order). It's not subject to error or opinion and removing those factors reduces time spend in argument. And it is true that ordering by semantics or logic means there will be some mistakes -- not everyone is good at that, while everybody can alphabetize correctly.

So it's not like it's a crazy idea. It's a reasonable idea. If most of our articles had categories in essentially random order (or in some unhelpful order like length of category name or whatever, or organized logically by a person who is very bad at logic) then a bot to alphabetize them would be a net improvement. However, I suppose that many articles are probably reasonably OK already. Herostratus (talk) 16:02, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

We should be aiming for a completely arbitrary method for organizing the layout of Categories at the bottom of an article, and all articles should employ the same arbitrary organizing principle. This is not an area that should have any human input at all, beyond agreeing from the outset, on the arbitrary method to be used. There is nothing special about alphabetization. Its only virtue for our purposes is that it is arbitrary. It should simply be a project-wide principle that the Categories at the bottom of all articles are organized alphabetically. Bus stop (talk) 21:54, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Why? Why is any arbitrary system (i.e., any system based on willful ignorance) better than a thoughtful one?
I saw one a while ago. The categories were something like Grammy Award-winning artists, Female rock singers, People from New York, and Breast cancer survivor. The breast cancer claim wasn't even mentioned in the article. In what intelligent system would you deliberately put the least important category first?
Contrary to the comment above, I think that alphabetizing short, easily managed cats is worse than alphabetizing long ones. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:48, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm sorry but I see absolutely no logical reason for making Category:Articles created via the Article Wizard as the first listed category in many articles! Vegaswikian (talk) 23:23, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
We are not writing articles for a hypothetical average person. We do not know a hypothetical person's reason for using this encyclopedia. Our aim should be to provide knowledge for knowledge's sake. The body of an article is distinctly different from a collection of "Categories" at the bottom of an article. Categories are only names of boxes containing factors that articles have in common. We don't have to make editorial decisions concerning the order of importance of those boxes. We fundamentally don't know how a reader may choose to use Categories. It is presumptuous of us to think that we know which boxes (Categories) are most important to a given reader. We never let the number of boxes (Categories) grow so large that they cannot be perused visually without great difficulty. I don't think looking at 50 Categories is enormously problematic for most readers. The information conveyed by our Categories is supposed to be present in our articles, with sources provided. The Categories serve the purpose of showing other articles embodying similar factors. We do not know which of these factors is of greatest interest to a given reader. Are our editors really going to get bogged down in ordering Categories as we think is best? I don't think that most editors rearrange the order of Categories. Human input is definitely a part of creating Categories meaningfully. And human input is definitely a part of judiciously placing articles in only those Categories in which they belong. But we should stop at that point and allow an arbitrary system to array these Categories in a vertical display for easy perusal. The most familiar arbitrary system I know of is alphabetization. Bus stop (talk) 00:01, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
And being arbitrary is a key point. If one or more editors arrange categories in a particular order, since it makes sense, how can a bot change that to a different arbitrary arrangement? I prefer the human touch. Vegaswikian (talk) 00:09, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
It should be arbitrary and all articles should conform to the same system. The information which is "Categories" is processed information. You say "one or more editors arrange categories in a particular order, since it makes sense". It makes sense to them. That is a problem. That is their bias. It is their fairy tale. Those "one or more editors" should not be trying to make sense of categorized information. It is not the same as information found in sources, from which we construct articles. We have already created those Categories. That information which is categories is processed information. The best analogy I can think of is taking Velveeta cheese and then trying to make an artisanal food product from it. It is foolhardy. It is best to handle information in a way appropriate to that information. We are no longer in the mode of writing an article when it comes to arraying a collection of Category boxes. Alphabetization is appropriate to the processed information that is Categories. Bus stop (talk) 00:34, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
"not the same as information found in sources" That is entirely incorrect. WP:CAT#Articles requires categories to be verifiable, just like any other claim in an article. Actually, the requirements are narrower than for prose statements, as the characteristic assigned by the category must be used "commonly and consistently" in the literature. Paradoctor (talk) 14:07, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
@Herostratus: You are missing the point of IZAK's proposal. If editors at some page decide to alphabetize their categories, that is entirely fine with the current guideline. What IZAK wants is to make alphabetical ordering mandatory across all of Wikipedia. That is the bone of contention.
"as opposed to having to cogitate on the best logical or semantic order" Face-surprise.svg Are you really proposing that we go down the path of least resistance? What kind of argument is that?!? Paradoctor (talk) 01:05, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
It is not necessary to have the "best logical or semantic order" when placing Categories in a box at the bottom of an article and in fact it is better to avoid this imposition by the editor on the reader because there is an element of fiction to such ordering of Category boxes. The Categories themselves are already of our creation. We have in many cases already had lengthy discussions and debates about the existence of these Categories. And then we have in many cases had lively debates concerning whether or not an article warrants placement in that Category. These Categories are sometimes in a sense creations of Wikipedia editors. We should not be parlaying the results of a Categorization process into another form of article-writing. The proper (and only) place for article-writing is in the body of the article. That takes place in prose form. And that is directly supported by sources. Bus stop (talk) 01:44, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
Your argument here sounds an awful lot like "Editors are too stupid to figure out the most salient and WP:DUE categories, so we should force them to never put the most relevant category first (except by accident)" with a side order of "Readers don't mind sorting through a disorganized mess". I'm not buying it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:10, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
@WhatamIdoing: First of all while the single most eponymous category -- meaning sure, it is acceptable that if a category matches an article's name exactly, it can be listed first, as the only exception, such that only if main article = main category 100% that a BOT could do as it alphabetizes all other categories on every page, but ALL other categories should be alphabetized for easy access. Note, editors are NOT "too stupid" it is just that READERS and end users are too busy in real life and do not have the time to go searching for needles in haystacks. But were they to see and know that WP uses the simplest of criteria to organize its categories, namely the alphabet, it makes WP categories that mush more user friendly and quicker to access than having categories remain diffused all over the place of organized into "thematic" clumps that only the creators of those "themes" are privy to their usefulness. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 09:12, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Herostratus:@Paradoctor: "What IZAK wants is to make alphabetical ordering mandatory across all of Wikipedia. That is the bone of contention." -- indeed, Bingo! IZAK (talk) 09:12, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

The difference between the cats on the page and the cat page

Someone (Izak, probably) said something above about it making sense to alphabetize the categories in an article, because articles are alphabetized on the cat pages.

This is not logical. Not everything is reciprocal. The fact that the telephone company has assigned me an account number does not mean that I need to assign them an account number. The fact that Category:X alphabetizes pages in Category:X does not mean that all pages need to alphabetize the categories on them.

Furthermore, it is not sensible. For some pages, it is clear to any reader that some categories are very important, and that others are relatively unimportant. Nobel Prize winners and US Presidents ought to have those categories listed prominently. People born in the same town or on the same date? It's just not that important. Someone might want to find that category, but 99% of readers just won't care.

Any category's importance to an article's subject can cover a wide range, from extremely important to barely relevant, but most pages listed in a category are going to have approximately the same relevance as the other pages in the category. The contents of "Grammy Award-winning artists" are approximately all equal to each others, but when you look at a biography, winning a Grammy may be far, far more important to the musician's history than the university she attended or the town he was born in or the exact year of her birth.

This fact is not specific to biographies. It is more important to get readers of Golden-crowned sparrow to the category for the genus Zonotrichia than to send them off to look at "Animals described in 1789". It is more important for Jeep to link to its eponymous category or to Category:Off-road vehicles than to link to "Auburn Hills, Michigan". WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:49, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

  • @WhatamIdoing: You say 1 "Someone (Izak, probably) said something above about it making sense to alphabetize the categories in an article, because articles are alphabetized on the cat pages. This is not logical. Not everything is reciprocal." What is not logical about that? Not only are ALL categories organized alphabetically internally, but WP even provides the template {{DEFAULTSORT}} to make sure and ensure it happens! 2 "The fact that the telephone company has assigned me an account number does not mean that I need to assign them an account number." Wrong analogy and comparison. No one is assigning anyone anything if we stick to the alphabet which is the most common denominator for organization by anyone. It is those who are assigning "themes" and "semantics" to category names who are changing the established rules assumed by most people and are deciding to assign "order" in an esoteric away that is based on the way they prefer. 3 "The fact that Category:X alphabetizes pages in Category:X does not mean that all pages need to alphabetize the categories on them." Why not? Now that would be very logical! 4 "Furthermore, it is not sensible. For some pages, it is clear to any reader that some categories are very important, and that others are relatively unimportant. Nobel Prize winners and US Presidents ought to have those categories listed prominently. People born in the same town or on the same date? It's just not that important. Someone might want to find that category, but 99% of readers just won't care." The problem is what if you have ten "important" categories, who gets to decide which comes first? or second? or third? etc, it is a recipe that invites WP:BATTLEGROUND& WP:WAR reactions. Someone from Ohio will feel that coming from that state is more important than being a congressman etc. 5 "Any category's importance to an article's subject can cover a wide range, from extremely important to barely relevant, but most pages listed in a category are going to have approximately the same relevance as the other pages in the category. The contents of "Grammy Award-winning artists" are approximately all equal to each others, but when you look at a biography, winning a Grammy may be far, far more important to the musician's history than the university she attended or the town he was born in or the exact year of her birth." Again, who is going to decide all this? Since every user and reader may have a different set of values and criteria for what they deem to be important. 6 "This fact is not specific to biographies. It is more important to get readers of Golden-crowned sparrow to the category for the genus Zonotrichia than to send them off to look at "Animals described in 1789". It is more important for Jeep to link to its eponymous category or to Category:Off-road vehicles than to link to "Auburn Hills, Michigan"." While this sounds nice, and I can agree with ONE eponymous article having its mirror-image named category being at the top of a list of categories as many articles with fully alphabetized categories in fact do it, with main article=main category, just as every category with a basically eponymous matching article has a {{main}} template at the top to link that category with its main article. But categories are NOT like articles, they do NOT require "WP:LEDES" to be useful. On the contrary, different human beings value different things and would obviously prefer to have what they value get top billing over others' preferences. And that is precisely what happens when grouping categories by "theme" which is essentially what almost all users avoid if you look across the length and breadth of Wikipedia's millions of articles. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 09:40, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
What is not logical about that?
As explained repeatedly, it ignores real-life usage. Readers often view categories to find articles whose inclusion they anticipate, so alphabetization (with some tweaking to account for titular deviations) is helpful. The likelihood of someone seeking Frank Nabarro at Category:People educated at Nottingham High School far exceeds the likelihood of someone seeking Category:People educated at Nottingham High School at Frank Nabarro.
The problem is what if you have ten "important" categories, who gets to decide which comes first? or second? or third?
The article's editors. You know, like a wiki.
it is a recipe that invites WP:BATTLEGROUND& WP:WAR reactions.
Can you cite actual examples of this occurring, or do you still maintain that uniform alphabetization of categories is used at Wikipedia "almost universally"?
Someone from Ohio will feel that coming from that state is more important than being a congressman etc.
You give Wikipedia's editors very little credit. —David Levy 18:45, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

Articles may be alphabetically sorted in categories by default, but it's simple enough to override this. Don't give us an edit-warring bot that thinks Category:Roads in X County, Y state is more important than Category:State highways in Y state. --NE2 09:57, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

  • @NE2: Thanks for your comments, but they appear to be self-contradictory, while you say that "Articles may be alphabetically sorted in categories by default, but it's simple enough to override this." Okay that's great since a BOT would be perfect for this task! but you also say that "Don't give us an edit-warring bot that thinks Category:Roads in X County, Y state is more important than Category:State highways in Y state." (You know you just made those fake categs up for this argument.) That just does not have to be so! Most cases are not like this, as can be proven by the majority of Wikipedians' attempts to organize all categories alphabetically, albeit imperfectly in many instances. For example everyone accepts alphabetizing in books that have both a Back-of-the-book index and a bibliography, it's also the way any dictionary and encyclopedia is organized in alphabetic order! Take a tour for yourself all over WP and see for yourself. A BOT would not create any issues of "edit warring" whatsoever. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 10:54, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
    • A bot would certainly edit war with someone who tries to revert it. I've seen it happen before. PS: no, I didn't make up the categories. Peep and weep. --NE2 23:12, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
      • @NE2: Please see the updated #Compromise proposal section below by User Paradoctor (talk · contribs) where we have made quantum leaps of progress and have arrived at a workable solution and hence hopefully agreement that will benefit Wikipedia and all its editors, users and readers, and will supply us with the kind of workable functions we wish to see in categories. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 09:15, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Collation: alphabetical order & numerical order

IZAK's position more in depth:

Main articles: Alphabetical order and Collation

"Alphabetical order is the basis for many systems of collation where items of information are identified by strings consisting principally of letters from an alphabet. The ordering of the strings relies on the existence of a standard ordering for the letters of the alphabet in question.

To decide which of two strings comes first in alphabetical order, initially their first letters are compared. The string whose first letter appears earlier in the alphabet comes first in alphabetical order. If the first letters are the same, then the second letters are compared, and so on, until the order is decided. (If one string runs out of letters to compare, then it is deemed to come first; for example, "cart" comes before "carthorse".) The result of arranging a set of strings in alphabetical order is that words with the same first letter are grouped together, and within such a group words with the same first two letters are grouped together and so on.

Collation is the assembly of written information into a standard order. Many systems of collation are based on numerical order or alphabetical order, or extensions and combinations thereof. Collation is a fundamental element of most office filing systems, library catalogs and reference books.

Collation differs from classification in that classification is concerned with arranging information into logical categories, while collation is concerned with the ordering of items of information, usually based on the form of their identifiers. Formally speaking, a collation method typically defines a total order on a set of possible identifiers, called sort keys, which consequently produces a total preorder on the set of items of information (items with the same identifier are not placed in any defined order).

The main advantage of collation is that it makes it fast and easy for a user to find an element in the list, or to confirm that it is absent from the list. In automatic systems this can be done using a binary search algorithm or interpolation search; manual searching may be performed using a roughly similar procedure, though this will often be done unconsciously. Other advantages are that one can easily find the first or last elements on the list (most likely to be useful in the case of numerically sorted data), or elements in a given range (useful again in the case of numerical data, and also with alphabetically ordered data when one may be sure of only the first few letters of the sought item or items).

Numerical and chronological order

Strings representing numbers may be sorted based on the values of the numbers that they represent...A similar approach may be taken with strings representing dates or other items that can be ordered chronologically or in some other natural fashion.

Automated collation

When information is stored in digital systems, collation may become an automated process. It is then necessary to implement an appropriate collation algorithm that allows the information to be sorted in a satisfactory manner for the application in question. Often the aim will be to achieve an alphabetical or numerical ordering that follows the standard criteria as described in the preceding sections. However, not all of these criteria are easy to automate.

The simplest kind of automated collation is based on the numerical codes of the symbols in a character set, such as ASCII coding (or any of its supersets such as Unicode), with the symbols being ordered in increasing numerical order of their codes, and this ordering being extended to strings in accordance with the basic principles of alphabetical ordering (mathematically speaking, lexicographical ordering). So a computer program might treat the characters a, b, C, d and $ as being ordered $, C, a, b, d (the corresponding ASCII codes are $ = 36, a = 97, b = 98, C = 67, and d = 100). Therefore strings beginning with C (or any other capital letter) would be sorted before strings with lower-case a, b, etc. This is sometimes called ASCIIbetical order.

...It is therefore often applied with certain refinements, the most obvious being the conversion of capitals to lowercase before comparing ASCII values."

Thank you, IZAK (talk) 11:19, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

You forgot to discuss the advantages of trees, which is what grouping amounts to. Face-wink.svg More to the point, this made me realize that this "sorting vs. grouping" is a battle between apples and oranges. Sorting is good when you already know the name of what you are looking for. Grouping is better at finding articles by thematical relation, or simply finding out the name of the category you want, and we can put more useful categories first. See below for more. Paradoctor (talk) 14:52, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
Well said, and with far less text than the OP. postdlf (talk) 15:59, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Paradoctor: Wow, thanks, I really think you are on to something here. Personally I have always found {{Category tree}} & {{Category tree all}} (click on those to see how they work alphabetically!) highly useful and I have even deployed the former on Category pages from time to time. Let's keep thinking, and working, and solving along these lines. I like it! IZAK (talk) 18:29, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

Compromise proposal

Discussing this proposal, I realized that pretty much all of the debate rests on the assumption that this is an either/or situation. Which does not seem to be the case. It should not be too hard to whip up a couple of templates and/or an ECMAScript gadget that provides the ability to switch between sorted and grouped display, and to set one's preferences. One can set defaults Wikipedia-wide, for individual articles, and for articles in this or that category. So, yes, we can have our cake and eat it. This would it also make that much easier to offer more display options for categories, like inline vs. vertical list vs. sectioned list vs. grid. Are there any reasons we should not do that? Paradoctor (talk) 14:52, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

Sounds good, if it can be easily done. — Cheers, JackLee talk 16:09, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
Or to put it another way, toggling between alphabetical sorting and sorting by the editor-determined order the tags appear in the article markup. I don't see a problem with that, except to the extent it would be a waste of time to implement given (as has been explained ad nauseum above) how little value alphabetization of categories contributes. postdlf (talk) 16:31, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
"Easily" is of course subjective, but I see no blocking concerns. The actual functionality is simple HTML+CSS+ECMAScript stuff, no worries here. Most of the work would be finding out how to integrate it into the surrounding software ecotope, and addressing compatibility and usability issues. Lots of hair, but no Gordian hairball, if you get my drift. Much less complex than HotCat, and I know where to find the source for that. Face-wink.svg
"waste of time" Compared to the amount of time already spent discussing this, implementing the sort functionality part will be insignificant, I assure you. Face-grin.svg Paradoctor (talk) 16:51, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
What does "sorted" mean? What does "grouped" mean? Bus stop (talk) 16:49, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't understand your question. Surely you know the meaning of "sorted" and "grouped"? Examples of sorted and grouped lists have already been provided above, did you overlook them? Paradoctor (talk) 16:53, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
Paradoctor—you refer to "sorted", but "sorted" is meaningless. "Sorted" is no more meaningful than "arbitrary". Can we please discuss "Categories"? What are they? Categories are boxes that contain factors that articles have in common. That is all that they are. Categories do not say something about the topic of an article at which they are found, except of course that a factor found at this article is also found at the other articles contained in that Category-box. Rearranging these boxes is like rearranging the deck chairs on the sinking Titanic in that doing so is pointless. Nothing can be accomplished by a so-called "thematic" arrangement of Categories. The "theme" is the commonality of articles vis-a-vis a given factor. A reader uses Categories as they see fit, and there are as many uses for Categories as there are readers. We are not in the business of spoon-feeding pseudo-information to readers. You are not at liberty to extract "themes" as you see fit. We provide information. We don't provide guidance on what to do with that information. Consider for a moment our article on Adolf Hitler. There are many Categories at the bottom of that article. The only one that deserves primacy is the Category:Adolf Hitler. The importance of all other Categories are determined by what a given reader is looking for. We don't determine a reader's interests. We should not suggest to a reader what they should be interested in. That is why "thematic sorting" is fundamentally wrong. As an encyclopedia we do not ever direct a reader's interests. We only supply the readers with good quality information. To the greatest extent possible we are unbiased. You are arguing to re-add bias back into the article. A researcher interested in Category:20th-century Austrian painters does not necessarily have to have it suggested to them that they really should be interested in Category:Holocaust perpetrators. This is where we should be taking a hands-off approach. We are suppliers of information to be used in any way a reader sees fit. Bus stop (talk) 16:55, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
"we do not ever direct a reader's interests" Nobody is suggesting we do that. What we're looking to do is facilitate finding what the reader is interested in. Since different readers have different interests, we have to compromise. Arranging categories in some fashion is a tool to improve upon random placement. Which arrangement is best is determined by how much effort the readers have to spend to find what they're interested in. Category:Holocaust perpetrators has about four times as much traffic as Category:20th-century Austrian painters, which makes a clear case for putting the former before the latter on the unavoidable search path. Depending on the situation, a well-constructed presentation can greatly reduce the time spent on looking up things. See optimum binary search tree for more information.
"That is why "thematic sorting" is fundamentally wrong." If you want to propose forbidding it, please make a proposal of your own. In this section, this is off-topic. I only want to know whether there is something that speaks against implementing my proposal. To the best of my knowledge, it is fully compliant with current policy, so discussion is expected to mostly revolve around practical issues. Paradoctor (talk) 18:05, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Paradoctor: Mostly (very mostly) agree, just please try to explain a bit more to us non-technical folks what you are saying so we can be absolutely sure. Thanks. I assume by "sorted display" you presumably mean "alphabetical display" of categories (either horizontal or vertical, although I think that vertical [up-down] individuates each category and makes it easier on the eye to spot and read and comprehend) as happens when clicking on either of {{Category tree}} & {{Category tree all}}) -- but while one can see the ease of creating a mechanism that will facilitate an option to sort categories alphabetically (which contrary to assertion @Postdlf: It has a LOT of value!), the question remains though how to set up criteria for "groupings" within that would be universally applicable to any and all categories, and who determines how to create such "groupings" by theme of "meaning/semantics" given the huge range of options and variances between so many fields and topics? But hey, at this rate you are about to earn some serious awards given the amazing quantum leaps you are helping us out with here! Over-all this is the kind of progress I was in search of that is really at bottom an attempt to plug a big hole in the way categories are working, or more accurately are being neglected and not working, compared to so many other features on WP that have been upgraded and streamlined over the years. So, THANKS SO MUCH! Love ya, IZAK (talk) 18:48, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

"please try to explain a bit more" By all means, if my rambling becomes incoherent again, sling as much fish as you consider adequate.
""sorted display" you presumably mean "alphabetical display"" Yes, though it is a snap to add more sort criteria.
"how to set up criteria for "groupings" within that would be universally applicable" That's the beauty of it: We don't need to decide. What makes you think there can be such universal criteria, anyway? Presumably, categories on Category:living people articles would be grouped differently from, say, categories on Category:cities articles. If the set of categories on an article is sufficiently large, I can easily imagine that it could be sensibly grouped in three different ways. Which is not a problem. We just offer them all to the reader.
Arranging categories is to a great a degree uncharted area, so I think WP:CATDEF's refusal to proscribe an arrangement makes sense. I expect to people will experiment, and feedback will determine which arrangements work and which ones will fade into edit history.
"THANKS SO MUCH" You can show me your gratitude later, in my private chambers. Face-tongue.svg Paradoctor (talk) 19:36, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
@Paradoctor: Thanks again! I do not see people objecting, so would it be possible for you to start the process so that we can see the solution in action? I am really looking forward! Sincerely, IZAK (talk) 08:51, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
@IZAK: I have already begun. With a little luck, I have something to play with by Monday evening. Paradoctor (talk) 13:49, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  • On the fence I like the idea so long as the default is Wikipedia's sorting. The reason I am on the fence is that I see potential performance issues and technical conflicts which would sway my view on the subject. I'd be open to seeing a test script/template/etc but would request a re-vote before it's implemented widely. Finding edge cases/unusual categories would be a good place to start to ensure proper development. JMJimmy (talk) 09:28, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
"default is Wikipedia's sorting" Absolutely.
"potential performance issues and technical conflicts" I can't imagine there could be dealbreakers, but would appreciate it if you could point out specific issues.
"before it's implemented widely" Face-grin.svg It's going to start life as a user script, and I aim for producing an opt-in gadget. If it turns out popular enough, it would make sense to merge it with HotCat, but that is something that can be discussed if and when the issue arises.
"edge cases/unusual categories" I'm not sure that is relevant. The script would not analyze the categories, it simply pulls grouping and sorting information from the the article, and then displays the categories the way the user want to see them. Paradoctor (talk) 13:54, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
It's not clear that it will be 100% scripted, there's mention of templating which, due to the nature of categories in the code/db the wrong kind of template could put significant stain on resources. If pulling category data (like number of visits) every time the page loads/is refreshed/etc could cause a fair amount of extra traffic to deal with (again, depends on how lean the code is or if this is within the scope of what you're talking about). On the scripting end, the DOM navigation/manipulation might be problematic due to the HTML for categories, it may be too much processing/re-rendering on larger pages and/or a large number of categories. Fringe categories like "¡All-Time Quarterback! compilation albums" "Æon Flux" come to mind (both break in UTF-8 and JSON encode/decode) - not really sure what your idea is from a technical standpoint so it's hard to judge what exactly to look at. These are just some of the things that immediately came to mind reading the brief description at the start of this section. JMJimmy (talk) 16:28, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
"templating" The templates to be used here merely format descriptions of category arrangements, nothing complicated. And WP:PERFORMANCE is generally not much of an objection, there is always a way of doing it that doesn't precipitate our Downfall.
"pulling category data" Doing that on each page load might be a problem. But let's not cross that bridge before it's built. Right now, I'm not aware that any algorithm even exists that would produce useful results, so there is no need to worry about implementation.
"DOM navigation/manipulation" We're talking about milliseconds here, don't worry. Besides, that is something I would notice long before it gets released.
"break in UTF-8 and JSON" Huh? Javascript can handle UTF-8 just fine, and JSON is not even involved here. Collation may introduce some hair, but that can be handled.
If you have further technical concerns, I suggest we continue discussion at User talk:Paradoctor/CatVisor. Here, I'm interested in possible problems with policy I'm not aware of, and objections for other reasons, these are the unknown unknowns that tend to blindside you. Face-wink.svg Paradoctor (talk) 01:49, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
As I say, it's hard to know without a full description. Wiki may have people who deal with performance but that doesn't mean they get it right all the time. By example I just tested the United States page and it took 26.72 seconds to trigger the onload event. I refreshed, getting 1.3mb of 1.4 mb from cache, it still took 11.21 seconds to trigger onload. Adding on DOM manipulation/traversal to a document with over 2000 nodes and the re-renders that come with that manipulation... it could get very heavy very fast on the users side given the existing slowness. It's not clear whether you'll be pulling additional data or not (for sorting by popularity, or parent categories, etc) JMJimmy (talk) 11:01, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
"tested the United States" You make me giggle. My old, well-worn laptop did it in ~10 seconds, 8.5 for reload, and my connection is rather pedestrian by today's standards. You need to upgrade, my friend. Face-grin.svg
Really, this is all WP:CRYSTALBALL stuff. Should permance issues arise, they will experience extreme prejudice, rest assured. Paradoctor (talk) 17:56, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
@Paradoctor:, @JMJimmy: The error that both of you are making is opting for the default being Wikipedia's sorting. This should not be the default. In fact this should not even be permitted. Editors should not be tinkering with the order in which Categories appear at the bottom of an article. The only exception to this, is in the case in which there is a Category with the exact name as the article. Thus at the article Adolf Hitler, the Category Adolf Hitler should appear at the top of the list of Categories. But that is where we run out of reasons for tinkering, on an article-by-article basis, with the order in which Categories appear at the bottom of an article. We are not, or should not be, directing the consumption of knowledge. This is solely the province of the reader. Categories are navigational tools. "Categories allow readers to navigate through Wikipedia and find related articles." The reader needs only to know the system(s) that we use at Wikipedia for determining the order in which Categories appear. More than one system, or "view", can be available to the reader, though I personally don't see the importance of this. The system(s) should be automatic and consistent project-wide. A simple sentence above the Category collection can inform the reader as to the system(s) in place. Alphabetical order is just one such system. Another system would order Categories by the amount of traffic they receive. This would be more complicated to implement but I think it should be perfectly acceptable to all. If two systems are used, a reader should be able to toggle between them, or somehow set a default for one or the other. This should be mindless. Essentially, once this is set up, there should be no more editorial reordering of Categories on an article-by-article basis. Bus stop (talk) 12:04, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
@Bus stop: Adding options that have no effect unless the user wants it to have an effect is never a bad thing. It's also not going to be added wiki wide just cause one or two of us want or don't want it. It won't go into wide spread use unless there's significant acceptance of it. Besides, some of it already exists like the CategoryTree extension. Also, the page you link... did you know there are 17 hidden categories already being influenced? It's also very rare for categories to be sorted in any meaningful way, it's usually just first come first serve. JMJimmy (talk) 14:22, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
@JMJimmy: There is no preferred order for Categories. The correct order in which Categories should be presented is the order which follows a rule which the reader understands. Notice the amount of explanation that is accompanying the "thematic" ordering of the Categories for Stephen Hawking on this page. @Dodger67: notes (on this page) "I added small text annotation to identify the theme of each group." Please look at those "small text annotation[s]":
  1. "BLP and EGRS categories"
  2. "Occupational categories (the stuff he is notable for)"
  3. "Alma mater catégories"
  4. "Career categories"
  5. "Professional memberships categories"
  6. "Professional awards and honours categories"
  7. "Civil honours categories"
It takes too much thinking for a reader to quickly grasp how the "Stephen Hawking" Categories are organized. The reader presumably has in mind their own inchoate "themes". I think that editorially presented "themes" would be only an encumbrance. Categories should be organized by a simple scheme, such as alphabetization, that applies project-wide. This can easily be conveyed to a reader in a short sentence above every collection of Categories. The identical sentence should be found at every article, explaining to the reader the scheme governing the order of presentation of Categories. I think that alphabetization is by far the easiest to implement and the easiest to understand. Bus stop (talk) 08:42, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
@Bus stop: consensus disagreed with you. JMJimmy (talk) 16:06, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
@Pong: "sorting. This should not be the default" Just for the hell of it: How do we not order the categories when displaying them? Even arranging them in a circle around the article involves an ordering. Tell me what you think should be done, and I'll add it to CatVisor. Paradoctor (talk) 18:08, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

@Paradoctor:—you bring up an ordering scheme that is just as acceptable as alphabetization. I find it perfectly acceptable but I doubt that a computer program, bot, Javascript, or any other means could result in an ordering of Categories by the amount of traffic received. This is the problem. You say: "Arranging categories in some fashion is a tool to improve upon random placement. Which arrangement is best is determined by how much effort the readers have to spend to find what they're interested in. Category:Holocaust perpetrators has about four times as much traffic as Category:20th-century Austrian painters, which makes a clear case for putting the former before the latter on the unavoidable search path." The idea of ordering Categories by the amount of traffic they receive is a great idea. But I don't think you are suggesting that. Nor do I think that is practicable. Nor do I think that is warranted given the enormous difficulty in writing a program to accomplish that. But if it were possible, I would enthusiastically support this scheme. I couldn't even write a program to order Categories alphabetically. But I think that writing a program to order Categories according to the amount of traffic they receive, from greatest traffic to least traffic, would be much more difficult. But again I don't think you are suggesting that Categories be automatically sorted by some sort of computer program according to the amount of traffic received. I am not dedicated to alphabetization as the only acceptable, computer-determined, automatic system for arranging the Categories at the bottom of an article. But I am opposed to editorial tinkering in what is supposed to be a navigation device, in place solely for the reader's use. We, as editors, can make our job much easier if we leave the ordering of Categories to some sort of program. And we would be making our product much more consistent if it were free from article-by-article tinkering by editors in what some are defending as "thematic ordering". All articles should be following the same ordering scheme project-wide as pertains to Categories, and this should happen automatically. The reader should simply be apprised in a brief but explicit sentence near the listing of Categories as to the system we are using for ordering Categories. Bus stop (talk) 12:35, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

There are already external tools that do that sort of thing, not that exact thing, but computationally similar. It's not as complicated as you think here's an example from a page you recently edited: grabs the data and parses/computes/graphs/etc in seconds. This is the type of thing that is theoretically possible, it's just a matter of how lean you can make it to have as little impact on the server as possible (esp important for this issue due to virtually every page having a category) JMJimmy (talk) 12:57, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
"ordering scheme" This is off-topic in this section. CatVisor is about offering options. The decision which one to use is left to the user. Even editors don't really need to argue about that. If some editors think ordering A is the shit, they can put the corresponding order template on the article, and the ordering appears among the available display options for the user. If some other editors think A is the pits, while B will usher in a golden age, they can do exactly the same for B. No need to get into each other's hair.
"reader should simply be apprised in a brief but explicit sentence" Added to the feature list. Paradoctor (talk) 14:10, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I support this gadget idea. It allows alphabetical viewing while continuing the use of a rough category relevancy hierarchy on articles (as I do currently). If I've understood Bus stop's idea correctly, this presupposes that it is possible to have an automatic sorting, with every category having a hierarchical value in relation to every other category in the system. If Stephen Wolfram can't get close to this kind of programmatic relational knowledge system, then a laymen's volunteer network like Wikipedia will surely flouder! Ordering by traffic on the other hand would actually be trivial, though fundamentally flawed as a popular category may be of high relevance to one subject, but a minor aspect of another. Programs will never stop "editor tinkering", at best they can only amplify certain editor's tinkerings over other's preferences. SFB 13:01, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
@JMJimmy:—can you please explain explicitly what you mean by "I like the idea so long as the default is Wikipedia's sorting"?[4] Thanks. Bus stop (talk) 14:55, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Default (computer science) HTH Paradoctor (talk) 15:23, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Hi @Paradoctor: I'm not surprised by the way in which "default" is used in computer science, but thanks for that link. I didn't know it had a technical usage. But what I was really looking for was an explanation of "Wikipedia's sorting". Bus stop (talk) 15:41, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
@Bus stop: I mean that the average user, taking no action, will not see any change from the current norm. Sorting will only take place if the user specifically requests it (applies chosen sorting one time) or sets a new default (applies chosen sorting all the time) JMJimmy (talk) 15:38, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
@JMJimmy: Can you please describe "the current norm" in your own words? I wasn't aware until about 96 hours ago that there was any system in place governing the order in which Categories are arrayed in the box at the bottom of all articles. I simply never thought about it. I don't know how many other editors gave it any thought. Bus stop (talk) 15:52, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
@Bus stop: The current norm is that the first category listed (top to bottom) when editing is the first category to appear (left to right) JMJimmy (talk) 16:28, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

I just want to make sure I understand how CatVisor works... It makes it possible for individual users to choose how they want the cats to appear on their computer screens. If user X wants to see the cats at the bottom of pages in alphabetical order, he can click on a button and see them in alphabetical order... meanwhile... and at the same time... if user Y wants to see them in (say) grouped order, she simply clicks a different button and sees them in that grouped order. What X sees has no connection to what Y sees. Yes? (If so... I heartily support). Blueboar (talk) 11:35, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

@Blueboar: You refer to a "grouped order". I actually have not seen this. Can you point me to an article at which we find a "grouped order"? Bus stop (talk) 12:08, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Sure... look at how the cats are listed at our Stephen Hawking article (to understand the groups, see Dodger's breakdown above... it's in the box marked: "Here are the categories of the Stephen Hawking article in thematic groups"). If I correctly understand how CatVisor is supposed to work, Editor X could choose to see these rearranged in alphabetical order, but Editor Y could choose see them in the current grouped order. And Editor Z might choose to see them in some other order entirely. The order that X sees on his computer screen will be different from the order that Y or Z sees. Yes? Blueboar (talk) 12:43, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
@Blueboar: Grouping Categories "thematically" is treating Categories as information. Categories are not information. Categories are navigational tools to be used by a reader. The way in which we empower a reader to use Categories is to tell them how Wikipedia project-wide orders its Categories. We accomplish that very easily with a sentence in the box in which the Categories appear. No reader should be burdened by article-by-article "thematic" ordering of Categories, however well-meaning an editor's efforts are in this regard. Wikipedia should have a consistent product as concerns the way in which it orders its Categories. This can be alphabetic. This can employ other schemes. A good one that has been suggested relies on the amount of traffic a Category receives, with the most trafficked Categories appearing first. It is possible that other schemes can be arrived at. This is not a big deal. Alphabetic ordering is simple to implement. A reader interested in a topic can easily peruse 30 or 40 or 50 Categories. One way to make this easier is to simply arrange Categories in vertical columns. There is a limitation as to how easy we can make truly creative encyclopedia use. No matter what we do, the reader has to expend the energy to read the Category names. The reader must be pursuing an area of inquiry about which they are truly motivated. Our editors should write the articles. The articles should contain good quality information and they should be written well. Our computer software should take care of arranging the order of the Categories. Bus stop (talk) 23:55, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
@Blueboar: "What X sees has no connection to what Y sees. Yes?" Yes, that's exactly right. Opt-in separation of concerns, I don't think it can be made more unobtrusive without violating Noether's theorem. Face-wink.svg Paradoctor (talk) 18:28, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Then I heartily approve. If the writing editors reach a consensus to order the cats thematically, but a reading editor wants to view them alphabetically... they can. Everybody wins. Not sure if it would work going the other way (where the writers have ordered alphabetically, but the reader wants to view it thematically... how would a bot know what themes apply?)... but that isn't a major concern. Blueboar (talk) 12:06, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
@Blueboar: "Not sure if it would work going the other way" Not a problem. Editors can use a template which is invisible to the reader, but contains data that the script can use to construct various views of the page's category set. This makes the ordering that is used in the wikisource completely irrelevant to CatVisor users. Paradoctor (talk) 17:33, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
@Blueboar: What is a "reading editor"? Some people don't "edit" Wikipedia. For the purposes of this discussion, can't we speak of "editors" and "readers"? You say "If the writing editors reach a consensus to order the cats thematically, but a reading editor wants to view them alphabetically... they can." I am concerned with those readers who do not edit Wikipedia. I am concerned that they understand how Categories are ordered on Wikipedia in general and/or at the article they are reading at that moment. I am concerned with a hypothetical person who is using the Internet and who lands at a Wikipedia article. What assumptions can they have about how Categories are ordered and how can they receive their understandings of how Categories are ordered? Bus stop (talk) 13:22, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Sorry... I meant readers ... some readers will find an alphabetical order helpful in navigating to cats... others will find a thematic order helpful in navigating to cats (I know I certainly do). CatVisor would give each reader the choice of viewing the cats in whichever order he/she thinks is most helpful to him/her. I am completely in favor of giving both readers and writers choices, and letting them decide what they think is best for themselves. Blueboar (talk) 13:35, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
@Blueboar: You say "others will find a thematic order helpful in navigating to cats (I know I certainly do)." Can you give me another example of an article which displays this "thematic order" concerning Categories? (You have already mentioned the Stephen Hawking article.) Bus stop (talk) 13:53, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Sure... as it happens, a few days ago this discussion inspired me to put the cats at the Dean Martin article into a rough thematic order. FYI... The themes are: 1- a few general bio cats, 2- Cats relating to causes of death, 2 - Cats relating to singers and musicians, 3- Cats relating to actors, 4 - other Cats that didn't fit into any of the previous themes. I think it makes sense to lump cats related to singers together, cats related to actors together, and cats related to cause of death together. This way readers who came to the Martin article because they are interested in his singing career (for example), and now want to navigate to other singer related articles will find a bunch of singer related cats, helpfully place all in a row at the bottom of the page. Blueboar (talk) 14:34, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
@Blueboar: Categories are navigational tools. Why should the reader have to know about any "themes" that you feel that you have detected in navigational tools? Are you going to communicate to the reader the "themes" which you feel apply to the collection of Categories found at this article? You write that "The themes are: 1- a few general bio cats, 2- Cats relating to causes of death, 2 - Cats relating to singers and musicians, 3- Cats relating to actors, 4 - other Cats that didn't fit into any of the previous themes." Is the reader apprised of this, or is this tinkering with the order of Categories supposed to take place unbeknownst to the reader? Bus stop (talk) 14:57, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
The reader doesn't really need to know what the specific themes are ... a reader will never the less find it helpful to find cats that relate to similar topics listed together. Lets say I am reading the Dean Martin article because I am interested in actors... At some point I might want to navigate to other articles on other actors... finding all the listed cats that relate to actors and acting lumped together allows me to start my navigation easily. I don't have to search through a bunch of cats that don't relate to actors and acting (and thus don't interest me) to find the cats I am interested in exploring Furthermore, lumping all the actor related cats together makes it less likely that I will inadvertantly skip over the one that might interest me the most). The key here is that the cats are not thematically ordered to give information about the subject... they are thematically ordered to make navigation to categories easier, by listing similar categories next to each other. Blueboar (talk) 15:30, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
@Blueboar: You say "how would a bot know what themes apply" - CatVisor won't be a bot. It's a script, activated on demand by the reader to reorganise the display of the list of cats. It won't edit the actual page source. This means that other readers will be unaffected by your preferred display order and layout. --Redrose64 (talk) 15:46, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
@Blueboar: You are making presuppositions. You are saying "Lets say I am reading the Dean Martin article because I am interested in actors". In fact you do not know why the reader is "reading the Dean Martin article". Furthermore the reader is not told of your "thematic" analysis in your proposal for Category ordering. You are saying "The reader doesn't really need to know...". Alphabetization by contrast is an organizational scheme that is easily communicated to everyone and therefore "transparent". From Wikipedia: "Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed." I'd say we should not be tinkering with the ordering of the navigational tools without informing the reader about this. Bus stop (talk) 15:52, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
It doesn't matter what the reader is interested in... the fact that similar cats are lumped together will aid navigation, no matter what the reader is looking for.
OK... let's run a simple experiment... I just thematically ordered the cats on the John F. Kennedy article. This time, I am not going to tell people what the themes are ahead of time (I think you will figure it out). Read the article without looking at the cats first (as a reader would do), and then pick something (anything) that sparked your interest. Now try to find the categories that relate to that interest. Then revert my edit back to an alphabetical listing... pick something else that sparked your interest and try to find the related cats. Which was easier? Which helped you to navigate to the cats that interested you?Blueboar (talk) 16:50, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Go to the John F. Kennedy article, start reading it, and when you find something that sparks your interest try to find all the cats that relate to that interest. Not easy, right? Now... go to this version of the article (which I have self-reverted), and try to find all the cats that relate to your interest. Which version was easier to navigate? Blueboar (talk) 17:01, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
@Blueboar: A reader is not allowed any insight into your reasoning concerning thematization. I favor preventing any editorial input into the ordering of Categories beyond setting up the software to do that. This is an area of the project that should be carried out by the software of the project. The governing principle of the organization and ordering of Categories should be consistent across the project and should be clearly and simply communicated to the reader. The most obvious governing principle is alphabetization. But other possibilities exist. Most importantly we should move away from article-by-article tinkering. There is no transparency in this. The reader should understand whatever scheme is in place governing the ordering of Categories. Bus stop (talk) 17:15, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
There doesn't need to be transparency because the default is wiki's style. It's not changing the ordering in the article, it's changing the display to the individual user preference. The ordering remains intact otherwise. Anyone can currently do this type of modification on ANY webpage anywhere on the internet with a simple Greasemonkey script - you're really discussing a problem that doesn't exist. JMJimmy (talk) 17:39, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
@JMJimmy: What is "wiki's style"? Wouldn't "wiki's style" include "thematic ordering" of Categories? Bus stop (talk) 17:47, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
@Bus stop:No, at least not that I'm aware of, it only includes consensus ordering. I can think of no policies or guidelines for the ordering of categories within an article. JMJimmy (talk) 17:54, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
@JMJimmy: As you said up above on this page "It's also very rare for categories to be sorted in any meaningful way, it's usually just first come first serve."[5] This is the problem in a nutshell. Categories are either arrayed without rhyme or reason, or they are arrayed in what an editor might genuinely believe is a thematic order. Why not tell the reader the governing principle behind ordering Categories (for instance alphabetization) and have software automatically order Categories that way? This could be done project-wide. And this could easily be communicated to every reader with no ambiguity. Bus stop (talk) 18:10, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
@Bus stop: Yes, I want the consensus method to be the default, what do I care if someone wants to override that local to their settings only (just like adding an extension or greasemonkey script or any of the settings already in "preferences". Initially the talk was about creating a bot to change it globally, that I opposed, this has no effect on your typical user or anyone not logged in so it's of no impact. My only remaining concerns are performance and are rather minimal. JMJimmy (talk) 18:58, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
WP:CATDEF "The order in which categories are placed on a page is not governed by any single rule" Paradoctor (talk) 17:59, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
This means that there is community-wide consensus that no single rule has global consensus, so category order is determined by local consensus. Paradoctor (talk) 18:05, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
@Bus stop: I asked you before, how can we not order the categories? What you fail to realize is that alphasorting introduces its own bias, and is guaranteed to make navigation harder than other arrangements. Also, you are in error if you believe that alphabetical order is the simplest. Besides being biased towards languages with (more or less) phonetical alphabets, it requires more from the mental effart from the reader than a random order. Even sorting by length would be preferable by your criteria.
Lastly, but not leastly, what has this to do with CatSort? Please let me remind you that the purpose of this subsection is to find possible objections against CatSort that I may have overlooked. There don't seem to be any, so this section has served its purpose.
If you wish to change policy with respect to category order, the appropriate approach would be to start your own proposal. As a counterargument to IZAK's proposal it has become moot, and it is irrelevant to CatVisor. Paradoctor (talk) 17:59, 13 August 2014 (UTC)


The kid has a name now. Discussion of the tool, rather than the pros and cons of various sorting and grouping schemes can be done at User talk:Paradoctor/CatVisor. Paradoctor (talk) 13:44, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

  • @Paradoctor: Amazing! Welcome to the aptly and brilliantly named CatVisor. And a hearty and genuine Mazel Tov! on the "new arrival" may it and your efforts in this regard be blessed from up on High and grow up to be strong and wise and helpful and a source of only pride and joy and genuine usefulness to Wikipedia and all Wikipedians, users, editors and readers of this great online encyclopedia! Thanks a million! IZAK (talk) 23:44, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
If this project should falter, it won't be for lack of good wishes. Face-grin.svg I'll try to live up to the Vorschusslorbeeren. Face-wink.svg Paradoctor (talk) 00:07, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
@Jimbo Wales: Welcome to something new to improve the world of WP:CATEGORIES! Please review and direct to the right people at the Wikipedia Foundation who can help out here because User Paradoctor needs all the assistance he can get to bring to perferction and finally complete this complex undertaking that directly improves the usage of Wikipedia, and interface between users and Wikipedia. Thank you so much, IZAK (talk) 03:21, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Please see my comments below regarding calling in the WMF for a local matter. --Redrose64 (talk) 08:32, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

JQuery workaround

This jquery snippet can be added to your Special:MyPage/skin.js it will sort the categories alphabetically. Sold as seen, no warranties.

jQuery( document ).ready( function( $ ) {
    var $cats_ul = $('#mw-normal-catlinks ul');
    var $cats_li = $cats_ul.children('li');
    $cats_li.sort(function(a,b) {
        if(a.children[0].textContent > b.children[0].textContent) return 1; // needed for Firefox
        return -1;

(Edited by Paradoctor: Use textContent in sort, available in a browser near you.)

Hope its some use.--Salix alba (talk): 19:17, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

I think it will be, thanks. Added to the CatVisor page. Paradoctor (talk) 23:52, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Update requested

@Paradoctor:@Salix alba: Thank you both for the amazing productive input. For the rest of us who are not so technically proficient but have full faith in your capabilities, could you please provide a brief update where things stand and how your efforts are progressing? Thanks in advance! I have tried to alert some others via relevant WikiProjects, but I don't know if anyone has contacted you, and if we need to approach specific WP:EXPERTS with request for more help. Best wishes for success! Sincerely, IZAK (talk) 23:11, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

I'm working on it. I just had very little time the past few days, that's all. Right now I'm ironing out an issue with the toggle buttons, so you can expect something usable quite soon. Paradoctor (talk) 23:38, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
@Paradoctor: Yes! I thought I heard those "wheels" humming and grinding away! I had not wanted this long thread to go to waste, so thanks for the update and looking forward. Take your time and be well! Thanks! IZAK (talk) 01:24, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
@IZAK: There you go: CatVisor alpha 0. Paradoctor (talk) 02:29, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
@Paradoctor: Thanks! 1 Now please could you run us through what we are supposed to be looking at and what we are supposed to do or not to do? 2 My understanding is that the "upgraded" features for categories would be "installed" in the "universal" software running on all Wikipedia pages, or what? 3 Does that need special permission from the technical "powers that be"? 4 Pardon my technical ignorance, that is why we need more direct and clear guidance from you as to what is going on! 5 For example, by looking at the main Germany article and its categories, what am I supposed to see or do, since the categories on that page do not seem to be 100% consistently organized by any clear-cut system, mostly alphabetical though manually done over the years, so how and where does your new technical improvement kick in here? Please help us out! Take care and looking forward to your professional guidance. Sincerely, IZAK (talk) 17:04, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
@IZAK: 1,2,5: You need to install the script into your skin. Please read the instructions at User:Paradoctor/CatVisor#alpha 0. If they are unclear, or you need more information, let me know. I've added usage instructions.
3: No
4: I shall endeavour to be as clear as humanly possible. Face-wink.svg Paradoctor (talk) 17:40, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
@Paradoctor: Okay thanks, but please tell me what's going on. 1 I have installed the code as you instructed [6] -- is there anything else I should add, for example "User:IZAK/common.css" and how do I do that? 2 Then looking at the Germany article I see that I now have "CatVisor column row sorted unsorted" reading above the categories, but I when I click on any of them I get some slight "shuffling" but nothing actually happens. For example, when I click on "column" -- no "column" (of the categories) appears of takes place. Why is that? what's supposed to happen? 3 I then manually fixed the categories on the Germany article page [7] placing two latterly added categories in their correct alphabetical positions where they obviously should have been placed, but why couldn't I do that with the new "CatVisor" tool? Or isn't that the purpose of the CatVisor tool? 4 What is the purpose and function of the CatVisor tool? 5 Are you sure that CatVisor works for everyone, or are there differences according to browsers and type of software different users use? Sorry to bother you, but like many others presumably will, I am going through a learning curve here. Thanks in advance for all your help and patience. IZAK (talk) 22:54, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
1: You did it right, nothing more to do.
3,4: What? No, it's the exact opposite. CatVisor (once it is finished) gives you the possibility to arrange the display of categories in any way you fancy, but does not touch the article source. I will include a tool to edit arrangements, and a template will allow editors to offer pre-made arrangements to readers using the tool, but this will not change the order of the categories for non-CatVisor readers, or anything else about the rendered page. I'll update the description. BTW, as mentioned several times in the above discussion, the "slight shuffling" is all the difference you'll get with a handful of categories that are mostly in alphabetical order to start with. Try it on a page with many categories, like Frank Sinatra.
5: No, and I mean NO webpage is displayed the same in all browsers, so there will be differences. Right now, this program at the first stages of being written. What you have is a fragment to play with, not a finished product. The current development goals are described at User:Paradoctor/CatVisor#Planned features.
Everything else: That "column" doesn't work is a bug. Please go to User talk:Paradoctor/CatVisor and a start a new section, and tell me what browser (don't forget the version) on what OS you use, and which skin, if it is not Vector. Paradoctor (talk) 23:25, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
@Paradoctor: Thank you for the follow-up information. 1 I had not realized that we still have a long way to go. My hope and objective is that the final product will be an automatic intrinsic feature built into every page of Wikipedia just as all "general" features are, as basic as one's own user page appearing upon logging in. That would be an ideal goal so that everyone can benefit from the work you are doing. 2 What is the approximate time-frame you are working within? A month or more or alternately how much time will the project take to be complete? I do not mean to impose on you in any way, so please proceed at the pace you are most comfortable with. 3 By the way, are you sure this is a one-man project, wouldn't it be better if more technical-type folks got involved? 4 (& @Jimbo Wales:) How about official help from the paid technical folks at the Wikipedia Foundation who raise money specifically for the purpose of implementing technical improvements that help Wikipedia become a better and more usable and organized online encyclopedia? I am sure we should find a way to approach them sometime soon (started: [8]), because this is for the benefit of everyone at Wikipedia, especially if we want to do this right! Thanks again, IZAK (talk) 03:07, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
1: That would be nice, yes.
2: I wish I knew. One month will clearly not suffice to achieve all I want. The functionality you asked for should be working for you pretty soon, though. You could expedite this quite a bit by providing the information I asked for. You seem to use a browser with incomplete flexbox support, so knowing which one it is would be really useful.
3: "more technical-type folks" Diplomacy is not your strongest suit, it seems. Face-tongue.svg
4: After the crap the WMF just pulled at the German Wikipedia (German), I'm quite certain I don't want the kind of "help" the WMF has to offer. Ras.gif Paradoctor (talk) 19:54, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
@Paradoctor: Thanks again! 1 Please understand that like many users my strengths are in the English language, writing and academic research but I lack the information technology background and abilities of "techies" or "technical types" there is no offense meant by that I assure you! 2 That is why I so much appreciate what you are doing and also why I feel that in order to make sorting categories either alphabetically and/or by topic is something that needs to be installed on all Wikipedia platforms in order to be a feature on all Wikipedia pages something we need the "higher ups" to get involved with in order to bring to reality. 3 I have no idea about the incident/s you mention, as it is impossible to know what goes on in the vast universe/s of Wikipedia in all languages. Yet we have commenced something very positive and for that reason I think it is worth it to request that the top people help out. After all what is WP:CONSENSUS all about if it cannot be applied to improve WP itself. Let's see what can be done! Thanks again, IZAK (talk) 01:23, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
"no offense meant" I know, just razzing you a little. Face-wink.svg
"appreciate what you are doing" Nice to hear that.
"needs to be installed on all Wikipedi" Let's not get ahead of ourselves. We don't even have a beta fit for general release. Give people a chance to try a working version and tell us whether they like it. As you saw for yourself, using CatVisor does not require integration into MediaWiki, so that would be mere frosting on the cake. The real effect that would achieve is promotion, and that would be premature right now.
"worth it to request that the top people" If you think the WMF are the "top people", you don't understand how the Wikipedia community works. The problem with WP:Superprotect is exactly that they introduced it for the sole reason of overriding consensus at the German Wikipedia. It is their position now that how we configure the software is their decision, not the community's. Welcome to New Wikipedia Order. Face-sad.svg
Having said that, do what you feel you must, just don't expect my support in involving the WMF. Paradoctor (talk) 05:27, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Help from Wikimedia Foundation requested

This is the start of a formal process to request help Wikimedia Forum#Help Needed: For Project started to improve CATEGORIES on WP; Talk:Tech/News#Help Needed: For Project started to improve CATEGORIES on WP; Tech#Help Needed: For Project started to improve CATEGORIES on WP, from the Wikimedia Foundation, the parent body that runs Wikipedia, to provide help in the successful completion of the above, see #CatVisor; #JQuery workaround; #Update requested and everything on User:Paradoctor/CatVisor. Hopefully we can get some meaningful responses going here. Thank you, IZAK (talk) 02:18, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

I think that posting to Meta and calling in the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) is a very bad idea for what is a purely local (i.e. within English Wikipedia) matter. If Paradoctor (talk · contribs) needs any help in writing the JavaScript, I'm sure that they will ask those script developers that they have previously worked with; and if necessary, will ask in local venues - such as WT:US and WP:VPT.
The feature being developed by Paradoctor can be used straight away by any registered user by following the installation instructions, but they need to be aware that it is still in development. Once it is out of the alpha stage (and ideally out of the beta stage too), it can be made available, on an opt-in basis, to all registered users of English Wikipedia by setting it up as a WP:GADGET. None of these actions require WMF intervention, but setting up a gadget requires local consensus. If it's made opt-out, there will be outcry (especially so if it's not passed beta testing); you just need to follow WP:VPT for a few weeks to see what happens when an opt-out feature is enabled. --Redrose64 (talk) 08:28, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
I think we've got at least two currents going on at the same time. I am interested in the initiative that was expressed at the top of this thread. It was to replace editor-controlled ordering of Categories with an automatic, software-controlled ordering of Categories. I think that the simplest criteria by which software might control the ordering of Categories might be alphabetical but I don't think alphabetical ordering is the only possible criteria that could be used, and I admit to having no expertise in this area. But I think we should keep it simple. I see this as no big deal. Just take it out of the hands of editors and be done with it. Communicate to the reader in one simple sentence in the Categories box the criteria that the software is using. This isn't the article; this is navigation. Bus stop (talk) 12:45, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
I can see above no general enthusiasm or even consensus for the idea of "automatic, software-controlled ordering of [c]ategories". -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:09, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
The idea definitely does not have consensus. As I have said above, I can support an Opt-in gadget (which give the choice of how categories appear to the individual editor), but not an automatic bot. Blueboar (talk) 13:48, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
@Michael Bednarek: There is no rationale behind the tinkering with the ordering of Categories but you are invited to present such a rationale. There is just a jumble of reasons that vary by editor. The reader has no way of knowing what thinking was going on in the mind of the last editor to tinker with the order of Categories at an article. How does that help the reader? We haven't the foggiest idea what the reader is looking for, and we should stop being so presumptuous as to think we can "help" the reader with something that we know nothing about. We should be aiming for uniformity. The whole project can have one means by which Categories are ordered. That consistency is of value in and of itself. It allows the reader to use the encyclopedia with predictability. The alphabet is familiar to all. But I am open to other systems by which software can unify, project-wide, our layout of Categories in the Category box. Bus stop (talk) 14:09, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Change the name of reviewers to "Pending changes reviewer"

Hi. I'd like to suggest changing the name of reviewers to "Pending changes reviewer" on policy pages, like WP:PERM. This is to prevent confusion among newcomers about what this WP:UAL does- like Zhaofeng Li said, "This has caused some misunderstandings of its purpose among new users who are eager to request this right when it's not actually needed for their work.1 2 and more ". See the preliminary discussion at WP:VPI#Changing the name of reviewers. (Zhaofeng Li: sorry if I'm stepping on your toes, I had a bit of free time on me and decided to use it on bringing discussion here. If you think this isn't the same proposal as yours or otherwise don't want me proposing this here, I'll revert and let you start the discussion.) Cheers and Thanks, L235-Talk Ping when replying 15:15, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

Much appreciated. Thanks for bringing it up here. Face-smile.svg Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 01:41, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
RfC tag added Support as I said over at VPI, this is an issue causing a lot if confusion. IMO, the criteria are far too generous, but that is a different issue. --Mdann52talk to me! 06:52, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Comment I agree that this is a source of confusion, as "review (reviewer, reviewing)" is used in so many ways on Wikipedia. How about removing the word altogether in this case and calling the user right "pending changes approver", or "pc-approver" for short (there are other kinds of "approver" as well): Noyster (talk), 07:38, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
The problem with "pc-approver" is it creates a view that all the right allows you to do is accept revisions. "PC-reviewer" seems to be a better name to use. --Mdann52talk to me! 07:53, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
"Pending changes reviewer" or "pc-reviewer" would be fine with me. However, before changing all that stuff, how about putting a big banner at the top of RFPERM telling people to read WP:Reviewing first, so they understand what's happening? Seems like a simpler solution to me. BethNaught (talk) 07:44, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Expand on my comment: When I say fine, I mean that is the name I would prefer iff consensus is found to change it. I do not support changing it – per 2Flows below, a short name is better and improved explanations will suffice. I never got into this sort of confusion anyway, so I suppose my tendency to keep things "steady-as-she-goes" is winning out. BethNaught (talk) 21:34, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
@BethNaught:I'd like to copy something I wrote below, just so you're aware of it. "But the thing is, you can't advertise it all over. For example, there's been a time when someone went to ANI to say that a non-reviewer was reviewing AfC drafts. You want to put "Reviewer is only for reviewing pending changes" on ANI? Where? Also, where's the disadvantage in "pending changes reviewer"? As OccultZone said below, we have "mass message sender", why not "pending changes reviewer"?" Cheers and Thanks, L235-Talk Ping when replying 23:05, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
@Lixxx235: Your arguments are very valid. I have no rebuffal to them except to question how fast the change would percolate the community and so end the confusion we saw at ANI? It would depend on the implementation. As to new users I still think a big banner at RFPERM would suffice. BethNaught (talk) 05:46, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
It will help, but changing the name may clear the confusion in whole. The situation is that not only new users are confused about its purpose, experienced editors do too: An ANI post where the OP thought the right was required for reviewing AfC submissions (Note that I do not want to attack or offend the OP in any way). The user reported did mess up, but that's a different story, and reviewing AfC requires far more knowledge and experience than that required for the vandal-righting tool. Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 11:37, 7 August 2014 (UTC)


  1. Support "Pending changes reviewer". I'm not quite sold on "PC reviewer". PC is an overused initialism and will only muddy the waters. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 00:29, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
  2. Support "pending changes reviewer" Per NinjaRobotPirate. Since this impacts mostly WP:NEWBs, WP:ACROs should be avoided. Paradoctor (talk) 15:08, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
  3. Support Reviewer term confuses people. When you have a big name like 'Mass message sender', when it could be just 'Messenger', I find 'Pending changes reviewer' to be as good. OccultZone (TalkContributionsLog) 03:41, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  4. Support Pending Changes Reviewer. I personally was confused when I wanted to become an Article Reviewer, I put my request in the WP:PERM (No, I'm not an Article Reviewer due to time constraints, but at the time, I didn't have those), and by the looks of it, I wasn't the only one confused. Looking over WP:CREEP, the first point in support of an addition is "There is an actual problem to solve, and not just a hypothetical or perceived problem", and this confusion would count as an "actual problem". Supernerd11 Firemind ^_^ Pokedex 01:37, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
  5. Comment: Since no articles are to be placed under PC2, wouldn't it be better to just eliminate the user right, or name it something like "unused"?—Kww(talk) 04:57, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
    Remember articles are still under PC1, so reviewers need to review edits to them by IPs/new editors. BethNaught (talk) 06:56, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
  6. Support Sensible suggestion, if not very pressing. Agree with those above saying a faster and easier method to lessen confusion would be a big header box as at WP:PERM/R. All of PERM attracts new and inexperienced users so the more info and warnings we have there, the better. benmoore 13:06, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
  7. I think it won't matter much, the complexity is ours and there is little we can do to lessen the burden for outsiders, but I would at least call it 'pending change reviewer' and not changes. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 14:04, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
    Well, the actual software has long been referred to as "Pending changes", so "pending changes reviewer" to me sounds the most natural. Mz7 (talk) 20:13, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  8. Support. The reviewer-right solely pertains to pending changes, but the word review or reviewer is used in a lot of contexts. (WP:Review and WP:Review/Articles lead to Peer review; Articles for Creation has a reviewing instructions subpage, Did You Know has a reviewing guide; etc. Good Article Nominations addresses those that would asses the nominations as reviewers ("This page has a backlog that requires the attention of willing reviewers."; "ATTENTION NEW REVIEWERS: PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS PAGE BEFORE REVIEWING ARTICLES."), as does DYK ("d) In practice, articles longer than 1,500 characters may still be rejected as too short, at the discretion of the selecting reviewers", etc.) Featured articles has a process called "Featured Article Review"; Good articles has "Good Article Reassessment" but frequently uses the word "review" in its context. WP:Review/Categories is a shortcut to CFD; WP:Review/Message boxes to TFD. There is also the historical WP:Review Board. The WP:Reviewer Summary is a script that shows a summary table of "reviewers" for the whole bunch of Featured-somethings. There are many other examples of this, but I believe that quite clearly demonstrates where the confusion comes from. Because there are so many processes using review or reviewer in a different context, I strongly support renaming the userright to something that more clearly defines its scope. AddWittyNameHere (talk) 16:00, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
  9. Support. I knew before I got here from CENT that there would be opposition based on the fact that it complicates the name, but I see it more as specificity, when the tool, in reality, is for a very specialized task. It is not, for example, reviewing at WP:AFC, or at WP:DYK, or WP:GA or WP:FAC. It's a very narrow user right, and I've seen no shortage of editors with the right treating it like it's a big shiny big deal, but it isn't. And frankly, a long-time pet peeve of mine is that the reviewer flag was originally given out much too carelessly, to editors some of whom shouldn't even be reviewing PC. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:15, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
  10. Support. Seeing this on WP:CENT, I expected to oppose with a rationale such as "what's the point, since changing a name for aesthetics isn't worth the effort". However, since the name itself has caused confusion, we ought to change it for the sake of new editors. Nyttend (talk) 18:51, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  11. Support, Disclosure I have this. The current name is over broad, and thus would tend to cause confusion. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:28, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
  12. Support "pending changes reviewer"; "PC reviewer", as others have stated, includes an unclear acronym. This would go a long way towards clearing up the confusion between the types of reviewing (PC, AfC, and otherwise) on Wikipedia. APerson (talk!) 22:31, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
  13. Support - I've actually thought about this scenario for a long time. Will the name of the "reviewer" right mislead the less experienced editors into thinking it's for "reviewing" something else? Apparently it has, and this change will provide the necessary clarification that this user right is specifically for reviewing pending changes. Mz7 (talk) 01:46, 22 August 2014 (UTC)


  1. Oppose There is no need to change the name, just make sure it is explained better on the appropriate pages what the permission is about. Keeping the name short is best in my opinion. 2Flows (talk) 21:25, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
    @2flows:But the thing is, you can't advertise it all over. For example, there's been a time when someone went to ANI to say that a non-reviewer was reviewing AfC drafts. You want to put "Reviewer is only for reviewing pending changes" on ANI? Where? Also, where's the disadvantage in "pending changes reviewer"? As OccultZone said below, we have "mass message sender", why not "pending changes reviewer"? Cheers and Thanks, L235-Talk Ping when replying 23:05, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
    Malformed ping above because I used lowercase f. Repinging: User:2Flows. Cheers and Thanks, L235-Talk Ping when replying 23:07, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
    I have nothing against "pending changes reviewer" but if I had to choose between the two, I'd go with the shorter one. However, I do agree that the term "reviewing" is used at many places on Wikipedia, so it may be confusing for people who don't know what the permission is about. 2Flows (talk) 09:43, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
  2. Oppose as this over-specifies what the right is used for and prohibits it from other uses (such as if AFC decided it wanted to use it to restrict access to the helper script, the project isn't there yet, but there have been a large number of issues with the current method and people have apparently been using the script anyways) which would then require other uses to have a new userright group created specifically for them contributing to a perceived hat shopping problem. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 14:12, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
    IMO, AfC and PC are two completely different processes, and bundeling them into one would not really work. Reviewer is handed out like candy nowadays with far lower requirements than have been established over at AfC, and using one right to manage both is not a reliable solution. A better one may be to, of there is consensus, to create a special userright for AfC, and remove if it is not used for x months (similar to the admin bit). However, that is another discussion entirely. --Mdann52talk to me! 16:35, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
  3. Oppose. Will lead to more confusion than it solves. It would be better to add a note to PERM and the relevant subpage explaining what the user right is. Yaris678 (talk) 22:01, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
    What kind of confusion will it lead to? I would rather have prospective pending changes reviewers wonder "what is pending changes?" than have them mistakenly think the user right is for a different purpose (i.e. a general "article reviewer"). Mz7 (talk) 00:39, 16 August 2014 (UTC)
    Any name change will cause confusion. This is mitigated by the name being similar but with more specificity, but it is also exacerbated by the name being longer. This could lead people to shortening the name in some situations. Don't get me wrong. I am not saying this extra confusion is the be all and end all. There seems to be a majority who think that it's worth it and I'm not going to start a big argument about this. Yaris678 (talk) 11:29, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

UPDATED: Inclusion proposal for indie dance charts from Beatport, iTunes, Spotify etc

There is currently a proposal for the inclusion of the major digital music distributors, in regards to very specific music charts for indie labels/ music genres, which are not yet covered by Wikipedia. Input and the discussion can be found here. prokaryotes (talk) 23:50, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

There is now a revised proposal for Proposed inclusion of Beatport, for genre-specific notability guidelines. --prokaryotes (talk) 20:06, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Guideline for terminology on immigrants

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


Overall argument

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

Act vs. person

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

Widespread criticism of the terms

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

  • The AP Stylebook was edited in April 2013 to recommend against use of the terms: "Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. ... Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal, illegals or undocumented."[9]
  • USA Today stopped using the terms in April 2013 as well: "The term illegal immigration is acceptable, but do not label people as illegal immigrants, except in direct quotes. ... Avoid using the word alien to refer to immigrants, except in quoted matter or official government designations."[10]
  • Numerous other journalistic entities have stopped using the terms as well.[11][12][13][14][15] (See here for an article on the overall trend in the U.S. news media.)
  • The U.S. Supreme Court, beginning with the case Arizona v. United States, discontinued the use of the term "illegal immigrant(s)" in its rulings in favor of more neutral terminology.[16] Sonia Sotomayor, the Court's only Latino/a Justice, has explicitly spoken out against use of criminalizing language in reference to immigrants.[17]
  • While most discussion of the term has been in the U.S., there has been debate about it in Britain as well.[20]

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

Disputes on Wikipedia

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

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

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


  • Strong Oppose This is a binary POV issue. The terms the proposal seeks to ban are not neutral, but banning them is also not neutral. The proposal seeks to ban the words favored by one side of the immigration debate, while not banning any words used by the other, or even proposing what supposedly neutral language should replace the words. I have to oppose this attempt to enshrine as a guideline the position of one side of the debate. This is no different than if someone proposed a policy of banning references to someone being a "felon" because an action can only be considered a felony, not a person. Monty845 12:37, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Grammar is bunk "Illegal immigrant" is a compound noun derived from the phrase "illegal immigration". By your reasoning, we'd have to stop using "wide receiver" and "shot putter", because the former are not generally wide, and the latter are rarely shot even when they deserve it. I'd say focus on the real argument, namely the claim that term is loaded. Paradoctor (talk) 13:28, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment "Naming conventions" are about article titles, and we don't normally write them to cover just a few pages. I think your best bet might be mentioning this in WP:Words to watch. (I agree that the grammar argument is weak. By that logic, "unauthorized immigrant" is also bad, because only actions can be "unauthorized", not people. Also, the term is applied to people in other contexts: China has illegal second children, India has a problem with illegal child brides, we have an article about an illegal plumber and it appears that illegal landlords are not unknown in the UK. I could go on, but the claim that only immigrants get called "illegal" is obviously false.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:21, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment Okay, thanks for the feedback. I took out the argument on grammar — y'all are right, it's weak (I mostly lifted it from the existing 2006 proposal, and that person was wrong about it too).
I do want to point out, though, that I do propose several "supposedly neutral" terms to replace these ones: "suggested replacements include 'undocumented immigrant(s)' (especially in the U.S. context), 'unauthorized immigrant(s),' and 'irregular (im)migrant(s).'" The term "undocumented immigrants" is the preferred term of most immigrant advocates, but "unauthorized immigrants" and "irregular migrants" are both terms that have been proposed as specifically neutral middle ground — the former in the U.S., the latter in Britain. The term "unauthorized" is probably best to suggest as a "neutral" middle ground, as it suggests wrongdoing but not permanent criminality. (See the argument of linguist Otto Santa Ana here.)
Yes, this is a normative issue, and I expected the "your proposal is POV" argument to come up — but honestly, I wrote this proposal because I found a usage of the term that was pretty clearly a POV edit by someone whose intent was to use the term "illegal alien" in a derogatory way, and I then looked to see what Wikipedia's policy on derogatory terminology is, but wasn't able to find one, which I have to say surprised me. If my proposal was a guideline against using the term "n****r" to describe African-Americans, couldn't you analogously argue that a guideline against its use would ban a word favored by one side of the "white supremacy debate," while not banning any words used by the other? And my point in outlining the shifting perspectives on use of the term among journalists (especially the AP Manual), rather than among immigrant advocates, was intended to demonstrate that it's not just a matter of one side (immigrant advocates) against another side (immigration restriction advocates) — it's a matter of wider public perception about the effect of the term. (And again, this is a guideline, not a "ban" — I'm not proposing any consequences or anything like that for anyone who uses the term, I'm just trying to write something that editors can point to when it gets used.)
WhatamIdoing: I think you're right that this is a words to watch issue rather than a naming convention — but I'm not sure how I would go about proposing this as a "word/term to watch"?
Thanks for your feedback, all. CircleAdrian (talk) 18:25, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Usually, you first figure out if it could be added to an existing section. Then you post your proposed change to the wording on the talk page, people discuss it, and something about it is ultimately either added or it's not. The bias on that page is usually towards being as brief as possible, so keep that in mind when you think about possible changes.
Another option (which might be desirable regardless of the outcome of a WTW discussion) is to write an essay. That requires no "permission" or "consensus", and can be very useful for explaining more details or collecting lists of sources. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:04, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support If it's a WP:MOS thing, and not a ban, as the style guides quoted indicate where possible there is serviceable neutral terminology. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:37, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose... for one thing there is no need for the proposed gudeline. Terms like this are already covered in one of our core policies ... see WP:POVNAMING, section of our NPOV policy. We do not need yet another "style guide" that contradicts core policy (or worse, intentionally seeks to circumvent policy by saying "oh, this is just a style issue, and not within the scope of policy). If you don't like the policy, you can work to change the policy. But don't pretend that there isn't a policy. Blueboar (talk) 01:00, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support as an WP:MOS suggestion, I guess. Don't much care, and my inclination on these things is usually to let editors write as they like as long as the meaning is clear. Also, this Google Ngram shows "illegal immigrant" ahead of the other three combined and, if anything, gaining. So I guess I'm undermining my own vote. But it seems like the right thing to do. You know? "Illegal immigrant" is kind of insulting. It's not just insulting but sort of inflammatory. It frames the matter, at least in undertone, in a way that's not necessarily helpful to our readers understanding what's going on in the events under discussion. Which matters. Sure, we're supposed to follow preponderance of sources... but why? There's no reason for that. Yeah we have to use reliable sources for statements of fact. For style we can do whatever we want. So its OK with me if we get a little ahead of the curve here, since the curve seems to be bending toward less inflammatory language. If I'm reading this New York Times thingy correctly the curve is bending fast at the Times, for instance. Let's not be left behind the Grey Lady for goodness sakes. Herostratus (talk) 02:00, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support- This proposal would align MOS more closely with both WP:NPOV and the majority of non-WP authorities on style, so it's a good idea. Reyk YO! 00:15, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Again... no, it wouldn't. It would, in fact, contradict WP:NPOV. See the WP:POVNAMING section. Blueboar (talk) 12:02, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
You're claim that it contradicts is rather absurd -- NPOV exists to have the goal of neutrality and POVNAMING, says that in exceptional occasions a naming although non-neutral can be used, it does not say always choose the non-neutral, or always prefer the non-neutral, or blatantly ignore reliable style sources that show that there is a more neutral style for many uses. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:06, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
WP:POVNAMING explicitly states: If a name is widely used in reliable sources (particularly those written in English), and is therefore likely to be well recognized by readers, it may be used even though some may regard it as biased. The name "illegal immigrant" is certainly widely used in reliable sources (in fact, in the context of the USA, it is overwhelmingly the single most widely used name for someone who has entered the country illegally), and therefor, according to WP:POVNAMING it may be used. The rational behind POVNAMING is this: For us, as Wikipedians, to ignore what an overwhelming majority of sources call the subject makes us non-neutral... even when our actions are done with the intent to appear neutral. The way to actually be most neutral is to follow the sources. Blueboar (talk) 20:49, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
That's not following reliable sources; you are expressly NOT following the reliable sources on neutrality of style, you are following and introducing POV and selecting the irrelevant (because it does not address neutrality of style), or relying on the unreliable. As I said, "may" be needed on occasion according to POVNaming, so the proposal does not contradict it. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:11, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
You misunderstand. I'm not ignoring the fact that a few style guides may say don't use "Illegal immigrant"... they are POV sources that express an opinion just like other sources... however, when assessing source usage they are outweighed by the literally hundreds of thousands of other reliable sources that actually do use the name "Illegal immigrant". We are not the one's ignoring the style guides... its the real world that is ignoring the style guides. We should be reflecting the real world. The style guides represent an extreme minority view (I would almost classify it as a Fringe view). It becomes non-neutral for Wikipeida to favor an extreme minority view (expressed by a few style guides) and non-neutral to ignore the reality of the majority view (indicated by what all those hundreds of thousands of other reliable sources use). Blueboar (talk) 01:44, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
The style guides don't say "don't use," they indicate where possible there is a more neutral style. They can't be outweighed by other sources that do not address the neutrality of use, so it's not the "real world" that is ignoring the style guides, it is you. Your position is nonsensical. It amounts to 'always pick loaded terms because they are common' , but we are writing a neutral encyclopedia, not sensationalistic yellow journalism nor pulp fiction. Alanscottwalker (talk) 10:11, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Again, you miss the point of POVNAMING... it isn't about the neutrality of the name, its about our own neutrality, as Wikipedia editors. Names don't have to be neutral. Names like Boston massacre and Holy Roman Empire are not neutral... yet we use them anyway. Why? Because so many sources use them that it would be non-neutral for us to not do so as well. We would be substituting our own POV if we used anything else. As for my position, you have it backwards... it isn't "always pick loaded terms because they are common"... its "Always use the most common term, even if it happens to be appear loaded." That's true Neutrality. With true Neutrality we do not pass judgement on whether a name or term is "loaded" or not. We simply use what the majority of sources use. Blueboar (talk) 11:32, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
That's not "true neutrality", because you are not using sources for what they directly address. You are imposing your POV, by misusing sources for what they do not address, where they do not address the word usage. You can't do your original research and come to your own conclusion without introducing your POV. You just said it again, always pick the term that appears loaded because it is common, but we're not in the work of picking the apparent loaded term, quite the opposite. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:49, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
The flaw in your reasoning is that we don't start by always picking the loaded term... we start with picking the most common term (and it needs to be significantly more common). Whether that common term is "loaded" or not is irrelevant to the issue of commonality. About fifty years ago, I would have argued that we should use "Undocumented alien" - because that term was what was most commonly used in sources. Today the sources use "Illegal alien". If, next year, the majority of sources shift and use some less loaded term, I will argue just as strongly that we should change our usage to match the sources, and use that less loaded term. The policy is that Wikipedia uses the names that the the majority of sources use... even if those names seem "loaded" to us. If you don't like that policy, you can work to change it... but policy it is. Blueboar (talk) 12:22, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
The flaw in your reasoning is that you start with original research, and we forbid original research because it introduces POV. If you don't like policy you can work to change it, but what you should never do is make a fetish of a small section of policy and not apply it in context. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:34, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
No... I start with an examination of source usage. That's called "sourced based research", not "original" research. Blueboar (talk) 18:29, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
No. You use your personal research to come to a claim not directly made by those sources concerning word usage. That's original research, entirely in support of your POV. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:41, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
Yup, basically what Alanscottwalker says. Reyk YO! 22:10, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Herostratus: we should, in general, use the most common term when describing something, and Herostratus's research indicates that the most common term for someone who entered a country while bypassing its immigration controls is "illegal immigrant". --Carnildo (talk) 00:50, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Let's not set up a conflict between different WP:MOS pages. Lots of sources use euphemisms such as "passed away", "sightless", etc., but per WP:EUPHEMISM, we use "died", "blind", etc. Why should we care that the euphemism "undocumented alien" is used by lots of sources? It's still a euphemism, a verbose softener for a clear and direct expression that causes no unnecessary offense. Nyttend (talk) 18:57, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong support When the most common term in use is derogatory or condemnatory, we should look for a neutral equivalent. If we were in a period when the most common terms for people were "kike" or "nigger", would we use them? nor, doe we use the wood "crook", however well deserved and widespread. This is especially the case when the standard of current outside use is itself changing to more neutral language. The analogy with "died" is not relevant: it does not apply to living people. More specifically, "illegal" implies a conviction or judgment, and ity is in practice more often just a presumption when applied to a particular individual. DGG ( talk ) 03:12, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support per the sources provided above. The heart of WP:NPOV is still to reflect, as close as possible, the usage of mainstream, reliable sources. The OP has made a clear case that mainstream, reliable sources proscribe the use of "illegal immigrant" (and similar) to refer to people (rather than acts) and Wikipedia usage should reflect the same. The MOS should be brought in line with the rest of mainstream media. --Jayron32 03:40, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose "Illegal immigrants" is a term to properly describe people that, at the end of the day, are in a country illegally (without the proper paperwork etc.) I will note that this is, to some extent, a hypothetical concept in that factually that the person has absolutely no paperwork that allows them to immigrate into the country, but from the standpoint of actually having the evidence or the lack of evidence to this point may not always be there. That it, just because a person cannot immediately show they have evidence of legal immigration does not make them illegal. Importantly, this generally means speaking to the general term and not in reference to any single person. The US may report that increases in illegal immigration increased by some number, that's a completely appropriate use of the term since we are talking abou immigration against the law. On the other hand, unless a person has specifically been charged and enforced as an illegal immigrant, calling the individual as such is not proper. --MASEM (t) 03:54, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

"Dynamic" web news articles

I have been doing a lot of work with refs using web-based news articles and I have noticed a phenomenon that alarms me. For developing stories that unfold over a number of weeks, some sites update and revise the same URL. For example, take this New York Times article.

When this article was added as a ref on August 14, it had these identifying characteristics:

Title: Obama Calls for Open Inquiry Into Police Shooting of Teenager in Ferguson, Mo
Date: August 14, 2014
Authors: Julie Bosman, Michael D. Shear, Timothy Williams

It now has these identifying characteristics:

Title: New Tack on Unrest Eases Tension in Missouri
Date: August 14, 2014
Authors: John Schwartz, Michael D. Shear, Michael Paulson

In this particular example, the article still supports the very simple statement that the ref was created for. But I'm not at all certain that would be true all the time for all news sites that use this practice. I don't know of a web journalism principle that would preclude changing or deleting parts of the article, so we could lose the source without knowing it.

Regardless, the changes in this example have broken the title and author parameters for the ref created on the 14th. That alone is a concern. I don't see any editors going back to reverify existing ref parameters, and I've never read or heard anything about the need to do that. In any case, I doubt many editors would do it even if they were aware of the need, judging from the fact that so few bother with equally important things such as archive.

I don't have a proposed solution, and I wonder whether anyone else has any thoughts on the subject. ‑‑Mandruss (talk) 09:54, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Some kind of bot to tag or update and tag? Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:30, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
This is one of the reasons why we have WP:NOTNEWS... breaking news reporting is often inaccurate or incomplete, and later versions of the report may be changed, based on more up to date information. Note... this does not make the entire media outlet unreliable (in fact, updating a story in light of updated information is one of the things that makes a media outlet reliable in the first place)... but we would consider the updated report to be more reliable than the original. Any information we took from the original version, that was taken out of the later version would have to be considered unverifiable, and unreliable. Blueboar (talk) 18:44, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Thanks for the responses. I'm not sure what Alanscottwalker meant. Since we feel the need to respond to developments almost as fast as our sources do—and the world expects us to do that—it sounds like the only solution is to iteratively keep going back to the source and reverifying everything, including whether it's still a good source (not a trivial task in many cases). Sadly, it's quite clear that we don't have the time to do that, so it's not a solution, practically speaking. So we'll live with this illusion of verifiability—good articles sporting lots of impressive superscripted citation numbers—and lord help us if anyone with some public credibility ever takes to the time to do a large-scale audit of our refs. ‑‑Mandruss (talk) 09:33, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Beyond the NOTNEWS policy, remember that our sourcing standards heavily restrict the use of primary sources, and a late-breaking news article is a perfect example of a primary source. Nyttend (talk) 15:16, 22 August 2014 (UTC)


New superprotect protection level, coming to your wiki soon

It appears as though the Wikimedia Foundation is planning to add a new protection level to the configuration of Wikimedia wikis so as to prevent every single user—including local administrators—from editing certain wiki pages.

My understanding of the change is that, once deployed to Wikimedia servers, it will require a new superprotect user right to be able to edit pages protected at the superprotect level. The user right is not assigned to any user group yet, but there is little doubt that it might be assigned to some group in the future.

The description of the patchset is as follows:

Add a new protection level called "superprotect"

Assigned to nobody by default. Requested by Erik Möller for the purposes
of protecting pages such that sysop permissions are not sufficient to
edit them.
Change-Id: Idfa211257dbacc7623d42393257de1525ff01e9e

Comments, including those from @Eloquence, are welcome and, indeed, encouraged. odder (talk) 13:28, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Additional details here.--Eloquence* 13:30, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
How nice, another way to force things on the community when we don't want them. Intentionally designed to be used to fight off a recalcitrant community! Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Media Viewer RfC/Proposed decision has a header saying that the proposed decision is due tomorrow; let us hope for a decision enforcing the distance between the community and WMF members who put themselves above it. Nyttend (talk) 13:36, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
When the community manipulates the software in an irresponsible method, then it is logical that at some point those responsible for it's health will intervene. That was actually known and explained many times before, but not required before to exercise. BTW. No one is happy with this.... certainly not the devs. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 14:09, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
When the community manipulates the software in an irresponsible method - The only body who should decide what is "responsible" and "irresponsible" in this respect is the community itself.--cyclopiaspeak! 14:52, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
While I'm not completely happy with this, I support the concept behind it, especially as some sort of code review will be introduced. Yes, we have some admins experienced with js here, but I feel allowing all of them, including those who no nothing about js (or CSS) to edit site-wide .js and .CSS pages is just asking for trouble. Far far better to leave it to the devs, who (apparently) know what they're doing to deal with the technical side, and for us to worry about content. Of course, of this was introduced under different circumstances (ie. after vandalism of common.js) no one would bat an eyelid. --Mdann52talk to me! 14:25, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
It should be noted that as far as I know, there is no immediate reason to use this protection level on English Wikipedia right now.... —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 14:31, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
@TheDJ: What happens when the devs manipulate the software in an irresponsible method? Mdann52 expresses an opinion not shared by many of us. --NeilN talk to me 14:43, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
What happens? Appeal to the WMF to reverse, per WP:CONEXCEPT. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:15, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
"Irresponsible" admin changes can be reversed in minutes. Irresponsible dev changes (done for the "good of the community") can take weeks to reverse and sometimes only by an admin forcing their hand. --NeilN talk to me 15:38, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, work on a privately owned domain has its little ups and downs, no doubt -- no use pretending one is not on a privately owned domain. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:02, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
The site belongs to the WMF - legally speaking, they can run it any way they want to. (See also Wikipedia:Free speech.) You can always create a fork if you want (but you would need a big server farm to do that properly). Personally, I'd like to hear more about the kind of situations that the WMF would use this protection level in. The thing that springs to mind immediately is the JavaScript code that blocked VisualEditor, but I'm wondering if the WMF would use this protection level in other situations as well. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 15:34, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
In that case, the ED should cut the crap about "working for the users". --NeilN talk to me 15:41, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
@NeilN: I'm guessing that ED stands for Executive Director? — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 15:53, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
@Mr. Stradivarius: Yes. I'll have to look for a transcript if you want but in her early days Tretikov emphasized the WMF should be working for the users. --NeilN talk to me 16:03, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) :I can sort of see why this might be justified, per Mdann52, but the timing is awful. Have some egos been bruised? TheDJ, what was "actually known and explained many times before"? The specific superprotect proposal? Where? When? And if it was "not required before to exercise" and apparently "there is no immediate reason to use this protection level on English Wikipedia" then surely it is still not required, so what has changed? Unless your point is that something has happened on a non-English WP. - Sitush (talk) 15:40, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Sitush:, it has: de:MediaWiki:Common.js, in the grips of a wheel war over Media Viewer was just super-protected. Writ Keeper  16:01, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Writ, I can understand most of the code but I'm not a German reader - far too structured a language for someone used to dealing with Indian English ;) Has de-WP had a similar clash over scripts with the WMF over MediaViewer as was happening here? Does this mean that the WMF have managed yet again to upset members in two of its largest projects with the same "improvement"? - Sitush (talk) 16:57, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm no better at German than you are; I only know of this because it was mentioned in the comments for this feature at gerrit. It would certainly seem so, though. It's the same code change to disable the Media Viewer that Peteforsyth tried here. Writ Keeper  17:03, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
A dewp sysop, per the results of the RfC added the code to disable MediaViewer to Common.js and it was reverted and led to a wheel-war and Common.js is now super-protected there. --Glaisher (talk) 17:08, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, both. It strikes me that the WMF developers need to explain better and probably listen more. It won't be much good having snazzy bells and whistles if you've got no core users. Equally, there are probably some people among the users who need to listen a bit more. - Sitush (talk) 17:12, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Since apparently the WMF has decided we shouldn't talk about this at WP:AN, I'll duplicate my comment here: So much for trying to build trust between the devs and the community. Monty845 15:51, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
    • I'm just trying to keep the discussion centralised. I'm just as happy to have the discussion happen on WP:AN as here, but it was started here first and it's good to have all the comments collected in one place. :-) --Dan Garry, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 19:01, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I can't say this surprises me; when the community goes so far as to implement flawed code that breaks things on the site just to spite the WMF's deployment of a feature, it's understandable that the WMF would implement something that keeps people from doing that again. Can this be misused by the WMF? Yep, and I'd like to see actual policy made by the WMF to govern when its employees can use it. But given past history of the communities' responses to software rollouts, is it unreasonable for this feature to exist and be occasionally used? Nope. Though I must say that I suspect 90% of these clashes could be prevented much more easily by a small set of certain people both community-side and WMF-side being topic-banned from software rollout discussions. But I suppose that would be too confrontational when we can just mess back and forth with software instead. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 16:06, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

I see nothing wrong with the feature in itself, it could be legitimately used to enforce an OFFICE action on an article that needs to be locked down as a stub until legal issues are resolved.

However if it is used to prevent consensus from being enforced I will likely find a project that is serious about the concept of consensus based editing. I don't want to see the community coming to an agreement that a page should change only to find that someone with "superrights" has prevented it by fiat. Chillum 17:15, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

I don't think this is about articles. It's about forcing software. - Sitush (talk) 17:19, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
I was stretching the imagination as to how this could be used other than to override consensus. If the foundation continues the pattern of overriding consensus by technical fiat I will volunteer elsewhere. You cannot have 99.999% of the value of your project come from volunteers and then decide that their view can be disregarded with the flip of a switch. Not if they want me to stay. Chillum 17:31, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Yep. I wonder if some people at de-WP might decide to take some co-ordinated time off. I think I would if it happened here. - Sitush (talk) 17:35, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Historically when one party does all the work and the other has all the power "co-ordinated time off" has been very effective. Damn, it sure is sunny out there... Chillum 17:41, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
I suppose I am in the minority here of agreeing with most of the WMF's recent implementations. Sure, they had bugs, but so do many off-the-shelf products produced for far higher budgets. Sure, I didn't like VE or MW when they were first released, but just like changes to other sites, I've grown to see how they can be beneficial to both readers, which is a far far bigger pool old people than editors will ever be. Yes, it causes us some inconvenience (shock - 1 extra click to get onto file pages), but we need to put this into context. Using js hacks to suppress stuff appearing helps nobody; However, without greater reader participation in RfC's, we should be careful what we do moving forward. MW had an opt-out button; don't like it? That's what the button was there for. However, I do feel the foundation needs to listen to editors more, and maybe roll out software changes more gradually, taking editor and reader feedback into account. --Mdann52talk to me! 17:28, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
It took me ages before I realised that there was an opt-out button. That is part of the problem and it is one that is likely to get worse as more and more bells and whistles are added. - Sitush (talk) 17:31, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
@Sitush: I agree with the point about too many new features being added on. However, in terms of design, Wikipedia is years behind most other websites. However, the main issue of hacky js being used remains; taking the de example, specify meaning people had to do another js hack to turn it back on, and preventing logged-out users using it even if they wanted too. --Mdann52talk to me! 17:56, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
I'd argue that this should be delegated much the same as the edit-filter, requiring a special group, but available for assignment-there are some interface pages that most admins want nothing to do with, but could otherwise be very disruptive to edit without really knowing what you are doing. — xaosflux Talk 17:29, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
If the community could decide who had access to this tool then that would make sense. I would be consensus driven. If it is something for the foundation only then it is a problem. Chillum 17:32, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
That depends on what community you are thinking about. The WMF has multilingual participation that has mechanisms for user persuasion of the Foundation (even actual votes in some areas), but also a structure for organizational decision making -- an analogy, locally, is Arbcom whose decisions are also not subject to consensus, per CONEXCEPT. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:41, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  • The fact that this new protection level is coming at the behest of Engineering chief Erik Möller rather than the legal department indicates to me that this user right is going to be used as a mechanism to shove VE and Flow down our throats, not as a content-locking device. Carrite (talk) 17:54, 10 August 2014 (UTC) Last edit: Carrite (talk) 17:56, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Well, judging by recent events on de-WP (machine translation on Writ's page), the "group" who have been assigned the superprotect status there may consist of one person. - Sitush (talk) 18:32, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Not a group of one, sorry. JEissfeldt also superprotected it earlier. - Sitush (talk) 18:40, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Will the superprotect right protect from vandalism when all their administrators withdraw their services in protest? –xenotalk 18:36, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Obviously not. But I'm sure the WMF have thought that through carefully. They always do. If I shake my head any harder it's likely to fall off. Wow. Begoontalk 18:41, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

arbitrary break

  • (edit conflict) I support the addition of this new protection level to be used for BLACKLOCK enforcement as it will prevent administrators from doing things they shouldn't, especially those due to some kind of edit conflict that gets overlooked or some other accidental reasoning (surely none of them would do these things intentionally no, I'm not being sarcastic). As far as them adding such a thing to force software changes on the community, they quite simply wouldn't use it for this purpose (because they should know it would never work unless they are going to lock down nearly the whole wiki to enforce it). If we play out an instance like JavaScript code that blocked VisualEditor, which I would like to point out the the code added by our administrator was flawed and poorly executed, and once reverted by the devs it ended there and there was no edit warring, so there was no need for this protection to be applied (if it had existed). For the sake of argument though, lets say they locked MW:Common.js for this, they would also have to lock all four MW:Skin.js, MW:Gadgets-definition, and every script that is imported on each of those pages. They are just not going to go through all of that trouble. Can we please assume some good faith on the part of the developers here? — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 18:44, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
er, yeah... You may not have read the discussion, "adding such a thing to force software changes on the community" is the only reason it's been used so far, at de.wp, and Erik clearly explains that is its purpose in the mailing list discussion he links. Do try and keep up, there's a good chap. Nobody has said it's foolproof, in fact, on the mailing list the very flaws you mention are pointed out. It's a poor implementation - no surprises there. Its purpose, however, is in no doubt I can see. Begoontalk 18:50, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Begoon - do try and behave in a friendly, collegial manner. Nick (talk) 19:03, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Of course, Nick. Perhaps I am too harsh sometimes in defending myself and others from accusations of assuming bad faith that could have been avoided by a little research. I'll bear your advice in mind. Thanks. Begoontalk 19:07, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
  • or perhaps I just read it differently than you. or perhaps you missed the point of my post. All that I was saying is that this new level has the potential to be used for a good purpose (when used to enforce blacklock legal issues) and has no effect when trying to be used for the wrong purpose (like trying to force something on the community) because there are just way too many ways to circumvent it (per Edokter and the admin on de that deleted and restored the page (without protection, which I'm sure WMF staff will fix)). — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 19:27, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, probably I missed your point. It's pretty hard to assume it was introduced for the good reasons you speculate, though, when it was immediately used for what you rightly say it isn't any good for, especially given Erik's clear statement of intent. Hey ho. No good will come of this - of that I remain sure. Begoontalk 19:37, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
@Technical 13: "deleted and restored the page"... FYI, now they can't: gerrit:153345 Circumventing those protections in "illegal" ways is shortsighted. Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 00:31, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Well, like I said, I expected it was something that would quickly get patched... — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 00:44, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Technical 13, please don't repeat the misstatements that were made: the JS change that disabled Visual Editor did exactly what it was intended to do. That Erik and James later made a series of false statements in an effort to pretend that there was a problem with the change doesn't mean that you should repeat the false statements. The patch prevented anyone from turning on Visual Editor prior to making at least one edit with conventional Wikitext. Given that anyone using Visual Editor needed to be intimately familiar with Wikitext in order to recognize and correct the file corruptions it made, that was a quite reasonable restriction.—Kww(talk) 19:27, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm going to emphasize the disclaimer here: what I write here are entirely my personal views and in no way represent anything at all official. Yes, the whole idea of staff-only superprotection sucks, and I'd really rather have seen more moderate elements on dewiki emergency-desysop the admin there who was wheel-warring to add a JS hack that appears to have gone well beyond what I've heard (mainly via Google Translate) is the actual vote result at that project. Instead any moderate elements seem to have been mostly silent while reactionaries pat each other on the back. But "oh noes! teh WMF is stealing our autonomiez!" won't do any good, because they're not. The purpose of the WMF isn't to simply be a hosting provider for Wikipedia or to serve the will of the editors. It's to collect, develop, and disseminate educational content effectively and globally, in particular by providing infrastructure and organizational framework for us to create that content. Maybe we disagree with some of the infrastructure (VE, MediaViewer, Flow, etc) they're providing, but it's not our right to overrule them any more than it's their right to interfere in the content of articles. But we can work with them and try to reach a consensus on what the best course might be. In truth, we're not even two separate groups, both because many of "us" are also "them" and because "us" is far from being only one group.
    I doubt this superprotection is really a step on the way to code review for site JS and gadgets, although the need for it may spur that project. Instead, I see it as a reaction to certain admins actively breaking things in the name of "consensus" among a relative handful of radical editors who can't handle unchecking a checkbox in their preferences over the silent consensus of thousands of users who enabled the beta feature and who responded to the surveys. And I'm sure this breaking of things does nothing to "force" the WMF to listen; despite claims to the contrary, I greatly doubt (no, I have no personal knowledge of this either way) that the VE-disable hack really forced the WMF to back down. Rather I believe than the actual errors that were being introduced into pages (which is something tangible, not just WP:IDONTLIKEIT and typical-mind-fallacy-based arguments) and a realization that they weren't going to be able to be fixed quickly did it and the public outcry served to bring attention to those real issues. Code review for site JS has been discussed, along with discussions of a central repository for gadgets, templates, modules, and the like (Commons-like, but not Commons), but it'll almost certainly be run mainly by volunteers rather than staff paid for that purpose.
    So what does this new ability for superprotection actually mean for us? If we can manage to work with the WMF instead of letting demagogues speak and act for us, probably absolutely nothing. Sure, some of us may not like some of the new features being rolled out—I myself will likely never use VE (I like wikitext) and I'm skeptical of Flow, but I see how both of these could be good for newbies and I know (and this is from personal knowledge) they're being developed in good faith. But we'll get nowhere by trying to assert rights that we never in fact or in theory actually ever had. We need to try to compromise, to show the WMF when they sometimes go wrong instead of constantly crowing it without evidence, and to admit that sometimes we may be wrong as well. Anomie 19:19, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
With VE the WMF/dev clearly overreach themselves. The software was not ready for beta, they should have waited a year, VE is now much closer to the state where it could be made a default. Unfortunately the handling of relations mean VE uptake is less than 1% of all edits[22] the banner appeal does not seem to have made a dint in this, and there is a good chance VE will be effectively dead on en.wikipedia for many years to come. I've no doubt the devs would have used super-protection to force VE on the community. Rather than these technical measures the WMF need to work with the community, move at the speed of the community, have senior people spend much more time on the various wiki guiding products through each wiki's processes. The reason wikipedia took off was Jimbo took the time to discus things at length with the community, this is a lesson the WMF has forgotten. Any other path will alienate the community, encourage more people to leave and actually be counter productive to its stated aims of boosting the number of editors.--Salix alba (talk): 20:25, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
If this protection level is for interface pages, maybe editinterface could be used instead, separating it from sysop and making it available to fewer users. The new protection level could then be used for something between semi and full protection, where it is more needed, making it possible to give users ability to edit protected articles such as New York Institute of Technology that are in need of improvement without also giving unnecessary access to deleted revisions and editing of protected templates and scripts. There's one thing that isn't clear from the links I've seen: "superprotect" is added as a permission, and as a protection level, but where is it specified which permissions are needed to protect at each level ("superprotect", "sysop", "autoconfirmed" or others)? Peter James (talk) 23:44, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
First off, i have no particular opinion pro or con the MediaViewer. I don't much use it, though it now becomes clear why my browser started acting up last May.
However, I think the introduction of new privileges is the worst possible solution to any given problem, especially if its use flies in the face of the opinions of the wikipedia communities. It's use over a bug-ridden piece of new software isn't just the worst possible solution, it's positively disingenious, since it adds futher strain to the relation between communities and the ones who claim to serve us, especially given the way WMF saw fit to handle the situation on (and yes, I do read German and do not rely on google's garbled version).
This is the second time WMF screwed up. It's vocal opposition to the European "Right to be forgotten" policy here and here is not just a hyperbole and, frankly, silly, it usurps the political views of contributors and speaks on behalf of the communities without consulting them.
It is WMF's job to facilitate the encyclopedia and other projects, it is not it's job to ram it's decisions down the throat of various communities, unless there are sound legal reasons to do so (i.e. a court order or clear violations of laws). ANY other reason is unacceptable. Kleuske (talk) 13:03, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
"It's the WMF's job . . ." That's an opinion, and it may or may not be valid, but anyone must realize upon reflection, the foundation will have its own opinions about doing its job. It is "its job", after all. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:56, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
They are very much entitled to that, no argument there, as I am entitled to voice another opinion. I do object to the "L'Etat? C'est moi!"-attitude. displayed in this use of technical measures to enforce a change concerning a, shall we say, not generally well-receiv'd piece of software. This does not engender a great amount of confidence in WMFs social skills. Skills i would deem fundamental, given its mission statement. Kleuske (talk) 16:13, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm assuming that the German RfC did have consensus to reject MediaViewer in some way. The much-vaunted but useless civility policy, anyone? What can be more incivil than over-riding consensus? It isn't always about naughty words. - Sitush (talk) 17:18, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
The figure being widely 'cited' is that there was a 75% majority in support of disabling Media Viewer as the default for logged-in users. Reventtalk 22:03, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
For the curious... de:Wikipedia:Meinungsbilder/Medienbetrachter, results: pro:190 (72.5%), con: 72 (27.5%). Kleuske (talk) 11:00, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
@Peter James: "superprotect" wouldn't make sense as a level between autoconfirmed and full protection, because that wouldn't really merit the "super-" prefix. But there's nothing stopping the creation of such a level with a more appropriate name besides the need for community consensus, exactly as was done to create template protection. And for what it's worth, it's already possible (and easy from a technical standpoint) to create a group that could edit fully-protected pages (but not cascade-protected pages) without them having all the rest of the admin toolkit, but that sort of idea has already been discussed and rejected several times.
As for permission to protect at a level, the 'protect' right gives the ability to apply and remove protection at any level you can edit through (e.g. it would be impossible to give a user the ability to both apply/remove semi-protection and to edit fully-protected pages without also giving them the ability to apply/remove full protection). Anomie 13:33, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Some party hack decreed that the people
    had lost the government's confidence
    and could only regain it with redoubled effort.
    If that is the case, would it not be simpler,
    If the government simply dissolved the people
    And elected another? --John (talk) 18:28, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I considered the previous controversy over Eric's actions overblown. But this really does seem to be a God complex in operation. All the best: Rich Farmbrough22:22, 11 August 2014 (UTC).

Just out of curiosity, which wrong version of the German Wikipedia was super-protected? —Neotarf (talk) 00:06, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

The WMF's. Jackmcbarn (talk) 00:15, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Moller has been blocked on btw, so that is a good start. Tarc (talk) 00:25, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
This is probably a better link for it.—Neotarf (talk) 00:36, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Wanna bet the WMF coders will pronto add a hack so one can edit while blocked if one has superprotect rights? Probably the next thing is going to be superblock rights that can't be undone by admins, so the WMF can have something to get rid of admins they don't like. JMP EAX (talk) 08:15, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I am really curious why the WMF is putting so much effort into making volunteers (especially admins) feel they are not welcome unless they agree with the party line. It seems Erik deliberately decided to use this opportunity to show who is in charge (he is too smart to do something like this accidentally).
  • Anyway, enough of my surprise and sadness. How to go forward from here isn't easy. It is clear that we need better communications channels between developers and community, but maybe we also need a less change-adverse decision process allowing the community to agree on implementing new features. Using RfCs after flawed software has been deployed and without an easy way to just revert the change (the well-proven wiki way to radical change: BOLD-REVERT-DISCUSS) isn't a very good model to build mutual trust, as has been demonstrated in the last couple of failed software roll-outs. In any case, "the community" is difficult to talk to, and perhaps we should move towards something like representative democracy so that these issues could be calmly and rationally discussed (ArbCom, our only elected group, specifically wasn't elected to decide the future of Wikipedia, but just to serve as its court). Not clear if something like this can help to restore trust between WMF and community, but the current build-up of distrust should not continue much longer. —Kusma (t·c) 12:21, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Your second paragraph is right on. If communication is the issue, our focus needs to be on better ways for the community to communicate. (Your first paragraph seems overblown, there is in fact very little admins are resisted in doing from that quarter, and it seems some admins get overly offended, when someone says, 'ah, no' to them in very limited areas). Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:01, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
After all the other Erik/Eloquence "miscommunication" about MediaViewer, he says about superprotect "If such a conflict arises, we're prepared to revoke permissions if required." Clearly, the WMF doesn't feel it needs to listen to editors anymore. Chris Troutman (talk) 14:32, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, that would be a matter of clearer communication; as for "listen", that just simply does not always lead to "agree". Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:38, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Nobody seems to have mentioned the RfC on Superprotect rights at Meta yet, so I will. --Redrose64 (talk) 15:02, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
  • If the WMF want to be wikigods, let them write the content and clean up the vandalism too.--Cube lurker (talk) 16:35, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Eloquence has actually responded to inquiries about this on his page here be aware it's all in German. I was able to translate some of it via bing, but it would be better if a native German speaker took a look . Kosh Vorlon    18:10, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

  • Absolutely shocking behavior by the WMF and this is likely to be the final nail in the coffin of me actively editing or being an admin here. I had already wound down due to previous things they've done but I see no way back now. I'm actually not against the idea of superprotect however the way it has been introduced, with no discussion and virtually no notice, is shocking and shows a complete disrespect for editors and admin. Without software and support people this site would collapse. Without volunteer admins and editors likewise. The sooner the WMF realise this and stop letting the first group so seriously annoy the second the better. I had actually started a draft RfC in my user space for withdrawing labour over the VE issue and now from what I read above it appears are considering something similar. It does now seem only a matter of time before something like that happens on one of the big sites and then maybe the WMF will finally properly appreciate us. They certainly aren't going to be happy - I can't imagine the press will be good for them. Dpmuk (talk) 23:19, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
RE Kosh Vorlorn - A few days ago, on the German Wikipedia some admin tried to execute the result of an RfC which ended 190 to 72 for making it opt-in instead of opt-out (similar to what happened here on, but there was already some sort of protection in place. So the admin hacked it and disabled it completely. This led to a wheel war with WMF employees and then the Superprotect right was created and used on the MediaViewer. The right's description says that only WMF employees can get it, nobody else is eligible. In the above linked discussion, Eloquence uses again the "silent-majority-fallacy": 260 voters can not represent 250 million readers/month. The other participants in the discussion say that Eloquence is arrogant, and uses empty politician's talk; and that the WMF developpers are unwilling to hear the community, and incapable to develop any new feature without flaws, and can not implement anything without drama. Kraxler (talk) 16:25, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
Erik Möller/Eloquence is still blocked, block is for 1 month beginning on August 11. The other WMF admin involved in the wheel war, Jan Eissfeldt has been recalled, and under the rules of must start an RfA within 30 days, or gets desysopped by default. Kraxler (talk) 16:42, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

For the curious, here's the latest developments on this issue, off-en.wikipedia:

  • As of 17:05, 19 August 2014 (UTC), an RfC about superprotection has received over 700 votes on the matter. These votes break down as follows:

With regard to 4 statements (translation possibly poor, please fix) [Note: translation is ok. Kraxler]:

  • The WMF is petitioned to remove superprotection from all pages on the German language Wikipedia, immediately.
Yes: 590, No 92, abstention 24.
  • The WMF is prompted to remove the superprotection right from the Staff group, immediately.
Yes: 457, No 73, abstention 31.
  • The WMF is prompted to reverse the software change(s) which introduced the superprotection right in short term (e.g. with the next software update).
Yes: 338, No 99, abstention 81.
  • The WMF is prompted to assign new group rights, that may applied to block elected rights-holders (i.e. administrators, bureaucrats, check users, Oversighters, stewards), only to user groups whose members were also elected by the local (or, where appropriate, international) community.
Yes: 327, No 73, abstention 79.
(Comment if you could get 700 people to express an opinion on an RfC at the English Wikipedia, it would be a record. And the German Wikipedia is smaller than the English. The Foundation would ignore this RfC only at their peril.)
  • The RfC about superprotection at Meta continues, although the discussion there has been slowing down.
  • A parallel discussion on Lila's user page on Meta. It appears to be a rather productive one, with Lila asking for suggestions in specific areas to prevent a clash like this between the communities & WMF in the future. -- llywrch (talk) 18:50, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • A "caricature". . .

File:Superprotect_caricature_image.jpg TitoDutta 06:51, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Proposal No. 1 on the German WP has already over 650 yes votes. There is now an open letter at Meta which can be signed by those who agree with it. Kraxler (talk) 17:19, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)—technical problem

I need to report what looks like a software problem on this page. It is being heavily edited given the current crisis, and today something has gone badly wrong with the Edit Page text and wikicode in section 9.5 "2014 events", in the entries after 8 August 2014. The entries appear normally in the regular text, but on the Edit Page they are all written backwards! I hope you can find someone to sort this out today, because at the present rate several entries a day are being made to this section and subsequent edits may compound the problem. --P123ct1 (talk) 14:44, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Fixed. There were some stray bi-directional override characters in the title field of one of the citation templates. I've removed them and copied the the title directly from the news site. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 15:10, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Mr. Stradivarius: Thanks very much! I don't know the first thing about software, but your reference to "bi-directional unicode" I think confirms what I suspected, that this glitch had something to do with all the Arabic script (which reads from right to left) that was in the wikitext around that point. --P123ct1 (talk) 17:12, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Yes and no: it wasn't the Arabic itself, but rather an invisible character that says "from this point, read the text from right to left". Just adding Arabic to a page won't have that effect on English text, although the Arabic itself will display from right to left. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 02:34, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Except that when deleting Arabic text (within a basic English text) there are switches back and forth in direction of movement, sometimes several, as you highlight the script to be deleted. --P123ct1 (talk) 01:11, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
@P123ct1: That's just because the text is Arabic. The original issue you brought here was different - it was an actual extra character. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 01:47, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
I see. Thanks! --P123ct1 (talk) 07:14, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Autoconfirmed flag: Change from "4 days after registration" to "4 days of activity"

After a recent report of vandalism by a sleeper account (Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Gnuuu_editor_behavior my question here is how easy could it be to change requirement for "4 days after registration" to "4 days of activity". I guess this was the intended requirement anyway. -- Magioladitis (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 09:43, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

Probably not incredibly hard from a coding standpoint, but sleeper accounts still have to make 10 edits to become autoconfirmed, so ill-meaning users will just spread their qualifying edits over four days while well-meaning users may be confused or stymied. –xenotalk 09:49, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
The first question would be... what kind of activity and are we allowed to track it.. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 09:53, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
@Xeno, TheDJ: By activity, I mean editing that expands in 4 different days. Of course there is always a way to abuse these things but at least it is a start for lazy vandals. It's only a minor improvement for starts. -- Magioladitis (talk) 11:13, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
The question is whether the improvement in vandal-stopping would be worth the added complexity of having to scan the revisions table to determine "active" days. Anomie 11:19, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Anomie I don't know how complex is. That's why I posted it here. My guess is it should not be that complex but it's really a guess. -- Magioladitis (talk) 11:26, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Not really sure either, but one doesn't need to work on a definition of "active" I assume it is meant to be any edit. So one has to review the edits created to make sure that there are four different days. If they make 10 edits on day one, then no more, they never become autoconfirmed. 10 on day one, then try something on day five, they are not yet autoconfirmed. It is wortth asking how hard this is, it doesn't sounds like it should be hard, though admittedly a bit harder than just counting elapsed days and counts.--S Philbrick(Talk) 14:56, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
if its not hard to code then its definitely worth doing, but i assume by activity you mean edits not logging in.Blethering Scot 21:51, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
The code is easy probably. It's the performance problem that would make it hard. Parsing the RC table to measure the activity on en.wp would probably 'not work'. So you would have to add a field to the database that you use to keep some sort of average and update that or something, instead of parsing the entire table on every edit. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 09:00, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Leaving aside the performance problems and the software complexity, I strongly disagree this is "definitely worth doing" - it has clear detrimental effects. "Four days and ten edits" is reasonably clear - you know that if you register on Monday lunchtime and make enough edits you'll be able to edit protected pages or move pages by Friday afternoon. But if it's "ten edits on each of four days"... well, whose days? I can imagine that trying to work out if you've made edits on four UTC calendar days is going to be a pretty convoluted task if you're in California or New Zealand. Meanwhile, it's an entirely passive right - you can't tell if you're autoconfirmed without trying to do something and seeing if it works - so no way to tell if you've passed the threshold yet.
Result: something that will specifically annoy and confuse new users... the people we're doing really bad at retaining already. Keep any editing triggers like this simple, please. Andrew Gray (talk) 18:31, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
No one has proposed "ten edits on each of four days". It would be better to state, "at least one edit on each of 4 different days, and at least 10 in total.--S Philbrick(Talk) 22:27, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Andrew Gray read the clarification given by S Philbrick. I propose that we change to "at least one edit on each of 4 different days, and at least 10 in total". -- Magioladitis (talk) 19:21, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Apologies - I understood the proposal but misphrased it when replying! The complexity of going to an edits-per-day system (regardless of the magnitudes) is something that I think will confuse and annoy new users, and is best avoided. If we wanted to just update the required number of days or edits, I'd still disagree but it would at least be easy to explain to the people affected... Andrew Gray (talk) 19:45, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I am no coding expert, but I would strongly support increasing the time served and the number of edits required before the autoconfirmed "flag" is awarded. I've seen a lot of vandalism on older, lesser patrolled articles, as well as a lot of hoaxes at AfD. Virtually all of the vandals and hoaxsters are newly created accounts that did not even both to create a rudimentary user page. So much so, in fact, that when I see edits by newly created "red link" users on certain articles, my suspicion is immediately drawn to them. Given the frequency of such occurrences on certain articles, I strongly suspect that many newly registered vandal accounts are repeat customers. Forty to 50 good edits (or at least non-vandalism edits) seems like a sensible minimum prerequisite for autoconfirmed status. Just my two cents worth. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 19:41, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

The software already has a built-in method that would allow us to change "4 days since registration" to "4 days since their first edit". Anything more complicated than that would need new code. Jackmcbarn (talk) 03:43, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Actually, one of the easiest ways to detect a sock is the burst of 10 edits happening over the course of 3 minutes followed by a long gap (sometimes years, even). I'm not sure that complicating that telltale would be worth the marginal gains.—Kww(talk) 03:58, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Kww, have you encountered many "sleeper" socks? Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 17:21, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Hundreds.—Kww(talk) 00:13, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Kww, I have often wondered about such, as I have seen repeat "red link" users return to the same or similar articles, with similar agendas. Perhaps I'm not just paranoid after all. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 00:31, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
A recent example is this which shows a single edit in February 2007, then nothing for 7 12 years! Johnuniq (talk) 06:22, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Wow. Some folks clearly have (a) a compulsion to vandalize, and (b) way too much time on their hands. Like I said above, I am immediately suspicious of any newly registered "red link" user who edits certain articles that are frequented by vandals. I wish there were an easy solution . . . . Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 18:25, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Section edit links missing

Does anyone know why all the edit section links (except the first) disappeared after I made this edit on Module talk:Sidebar? -- [[User:Edokter]] {{talk}} 19:48, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

Your signature contains bare double closing braces, which will terminate any unclosed template earlier in the page. There are two instances of {{A, B}, {C, D}...} in Module talk:Sidebar#More sophisticated default width setting?. However, the section edit links are there now. --Redrose64 (talk) 20:51, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
So technically, it's not my fault :) I fixed those openings though. -- [[User:Edokter]] {{talk}} 21:01, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Edokter Your signature still contains unmatched curly braces that may disrupt pages. Mind throwing some nowiki tags around them if you really want them? — xaosflux Talk 22:41, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Disregard, see you've thrown code tags in there. — xaosflux Talk 22:42, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
<code> doesn't disable wikicode like <pre> does. And while my sig doesn't contain opening braces, it should never be the cause of any disruption. But I'll see what I can do to prevent it. -- [[User:Edokter]] {{talk}} 22:46, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
I use &#123;{, &#124;, and &#125;} instead of {{, |, or }} in my signature to prevent double braces occurring in it. {{Nihiltres|talk|edits}} 06:42, 19 August 2014 (UTC)


I need help on adding Austrian German parameters into Template:lang-de, so I don't need to use Template:lang-de-AT, which is (nearly) useless waste of space. Since "lang-de" is locked, I need some help here on inserting "Austrian German" language into the template's sandbox. As for consensus, well... I'll be notifying related WikiProjects. --George Ho (talk) 20:15, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

If by "locked" you mean protected, then yes, Template:Lang-de is protected, but its sandbox isn't. --Redrose64 (talk) 20:53, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, we have been using Wiki-jargon nowadays, and I really do mean main template page, not "sandbox". --George Ho (talk) 20:58, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
So what you want is some sort of parameter, perhaps |variant=at or some such like that? Are there other variants of German that you should roll into this same template? Right now the sandbox is the same as the live template so there is nothing for anyone to do until you make some sort of change to the sandbox version.
Trappist the monk (talk) 22:16, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately, I don't know how to add it or change it. I'm not good right now at complex stuff. I'm waiting for somebody... A super-expert, maybe. --George Ho (talk) 23:07, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) In your opening post you say you want to do this so you don't need to use Template:lang-de-AT, which is (nearly) useless waste of space. Can you explain why {{lang-de-AT}} is (nearly) a waste of space? If there are legitimate reasons why {{lang-de-AT}} is (nearly) a waste of space, then certainly we should do something about it. There are those who might say that {{lang-de-AT}} is a fork of {{lang-de}} and on that basis alone would argue that there is sufficient reason to merge the two templates. For such simple templates, I don't see that there is much to be gained by merging them – {{lang-de}} has been stable since October 2012 and {{lang-de-AT}} has been stable since its creation in January 2013.
Trappist the monk (talk) 23:41, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
This template requires a user to search for Austrian-related articles and research a difference between Standard German and Austrian German. Well... I haven't met one German language expert yet. I haven't studied German dialects at all, and I don't think you did either. Of course, that wouldn't be the (main) reason, is it? The template itself is a waste of space ever since creation. Also, there is no "lang-de-CH" currently, and, if created, which one is Swiss? --George Ho (talk) 00:03, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
Isn't it the other way round? A user requires {{lang-de-AT}} for Austrian-related articles. The template makes no requirements on the user (except to type its name correctly etc). You're right, I'm no German scholar, though I fail to see how that is relevant to this discussion. Once again you've declared that {{lang-de-AT}} is a waste of space without giving us anything to support that assertion.
Perhaps, WP:TFD is the best solution to this problem.
Trappist the monk (talk) 00:38, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
I concur, but I've nominated "lang-en-XX" templates for deletion, and I don't want to nominate too many at this time. --George Ho (talk) 03:22, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
Are there other "lang" templates that work like this? If not, it probably does not make sense to fork this template by adding parameters to it. It's better to have one template per language unless you're going to redo the whole set of similar templates wholesale.
In other news, "de-AT" does not appear to be a valid ISO 639 language code, and Austrian German does not appear to have its own ISO 639 code, at least from my searching on the LOC's web site. It is cited elsewhere as a valid ISO code, but not at what appears to be the canonical source. All codes appear to be two or three letters (e.g. "de" for German and "gsw" for Swiss German).
In other other news, this template appears to be used in exactly one article. If you wanted to make an end run around modifying the lang-de template, you could make it so that the lang-de-AT template is not used in any articles, then take it to TFD with some of the above information. – Jonesey95 (talk) 23:21, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Not a fork as I understand Editor Goerge Ho's request; rather, it's adding functionality to {{lang-de}} so that {{lang-de-AT}} becomes excess to requirements.
Trappist the monk (talk) 23:44, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
It still wouldn't be, though. There's nothing "excess" about having a simple template with no parameters do what Ho wants to do with more parameters in a complex template. For the end-user editor the only difference will be having to abandon {{lang-de-at}} for {{lang-de}}. Since the latter is longer, has more complicated syntax, and requires more server parsing, it is the one that's excess to requirements.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:02, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
The discussions at Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Log/2014 August 13#Template:Lang-en-GB (and the next few threads) may give some insight here. --Redrose64 (talk) 10:53, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
Jonesey95, this isn't covered by the ISO 639 varients. 639 is only for saying what the two or three letter codes will be. This is actually covered by RFC 5646. This link from does the best explanation. Skip down to the "The region subtag" section, about 60% the way down the article. They give an example of how these codes are constructed and mention AT. German Wikipedia also uses these tags... they have six lang type templates for German. Vorlage:DeS (German), Vorlage:GswS-ch (German-Swiss), Vorlage:BarS (Bavarian) and three for old versions of German. No Austrian (that I could tell). Bgwhite (talk) 00:54, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

I did it; I managed to add variety. However, it probably still needs a little work. I could add Standard German, Swiss German, and other examples of German varieties. --George Ho (talk) 19:27, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

  • There isn't anything "wrong" with {{lang-xx}} parameters supporting a |variety= parameter (other than "variety" is a Wikipedianism and not a linguistic term); I support the idea, if it's done very carefully, with a switch test. Even if it's done right, it's still not a rationale for deleting templates than anyone familiar with language codes will expect to exist. If we don't care about the parser overhead, the {{lang-xx-YY}} versions can be replaced with calls to {{lang-xx|variety=YY}}, but only after the {{lang-xx}} has been set up to support |variety= and is doing so correctly for any plausible variety. This is a self-correcting issue with separate templates for varieties, because they'll redlink if they don't exist; by contrast, using {{lang-en}} will produce a seamless template result but no useful metadata. The main reason we have these separate templates is to force the generation of valid metadata, because what comes out of the template has to be valid language code; we cannot trust editors to input whatever they think a code is or should be into such a template, because they will frequently guess wrong. Note also that {{lang-en}} is essentially a shell, a placeholder for technical reasons, so this proposition won't work at all for migrating {{lang-en-GB}}, etc., to {{lang-en}}; the latter does not use {{Language with name}}, so it does not generate any language metadata at all (on Those must therefore remain separate templates, or {{lang-en}} has to get very complicated, to use completely different code depending on whether it has a |variety= specified or not, which defeats the purpose of all this "let's simply thing" stuff. Which really hasn't been simplifying anything but causing mess and heat.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:02, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Without the array extension it would become a crazy mess that would have to iterate possibilities (of which there are many thousands possible). Every time one needed to be added it could break all the others if not done properly. Chances of that would become more likely to the more that was added. Separating them also has the benefit that if vandalism occurs it only affects 1 language instead of all of them. Also, the bigger 1 template got the longer it would take to execute because of all the conditionals vs simply executing a simple quick template for each case. Until array extension arrives (if ever) the current method is by far the best solution. JMJimmy (talk) 13:52, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
By "array extension" I guess you mean mw:Extension:Arrays? We have Scribunto now, so extensions for complicated parser functions aren't likely to be added. Anomie 14:58, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Remember it is good to be consistent with {{Lang|de-AT}} and the {{Icon}} family of templates. Creating a new sub-structure for variety, and another for script could get complicated. It also consumes far more resource than a simple solution. I notice a massive increase in template complexity over the last couple of years, notably in templates where it actually matters. All the best: Rich Farmbrough22:18, 20 August 2014 (UTC).

See also

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussions elsewhere

George Ho has been raising related issues in a number of different forums. Participants here may wish to synch their input at these other related threads (most of which deal with {{lang-xx-YY}} templates in particular, while the one at WT:NOT is more general):

 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:02, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Special Diff

I was wondering about this one: if I link with Special:Diff to some revision and the article/revision gets deleted, if there's a possibility, that one day this Special:Diff link can link to another article (in other words: are the revision numbers unique and don't get some other targets if page/revision is deleted). And (also in deleted pages/revisions) what about the thing, when I really don't know at least which page I'm viewing (example: Special:Diff/111111111111). If one would use the old system, then I would at least know which page the discussion is going around if the page is getting deleted (form the URL) but otherwise I don't know that. Some thoughts? --Edgars2007 (talk/contribs) 05:13, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

The title is ignored—try these links:
The numbers used will never change (and are not reused if the page is deleted); you can always pipe a link:
[[Special:Diff/603606601|Wikipedia:Editnotice edit 10 April 2014]]Wikipedia:Editnotice edit 10 April 2014
Johnuniq (talk) 06:17, 16 August 2014 (UTC)
Ok, yes, but I think nobody would especially change the title for the url to mislead the other person (if we are talking about those links you gave) :) And actually I haven't seen so much normal describes for Special:Diff (usually it is like It was done with [[Special:Diff/603606601|this edit]]). And is it possible to know where the number goes (for the deleted pages), at least for admins? Then they could undelete page or tell to non-admins what was the changes. For the old system it is symple, for the Special:Diff - not (I would need to ask to undelete everything :D ). --Edgars2007 (talk/contribs) 06:34, 16 August 2014 (UTC)
I've just tested this using my admin account, and it turns out to be a little complicated. If you use the standard diff URL with the title, then you get a message saying "View or restore n deleted edits?"; the text "n deleted edits" is linked to Special:Undelete for the page that the diff belonged to. (The message is made of MediaWiki:Thisisdeleted and MediaWiki:Restorelink.) There is also another message below it that says "One revision of this difference (nnnnnnnnn) was not found. This is usually caused by following an outdated diff link to a page that has been deleted. Details can be found in the deletion log." The text "deletion log" is linked to the page's deletion log, and the "nnnnnnnnn" text is unlinked. (The message itself is provided by MediaWiki:Difference-missing-revision.)

If you use [[Special:Diff/nnnnnnnnn]], then you only get MediaWiki:Difference-missing-revision, not MediaWiki:Thisisdeleted - the link to Special:Undelete for the deleted page disappears. Also, the deletion log link becomes the deletion log of the Main Page. However, the (nnnnnnnnn) in MediaWiki:Difference-missing-revision gets linked to the deleted text of the diff (also, confusingly enough, supplied by Special:Undelete, but with some different URL parameters). So it's still possible to tell which page the diff belonged to.

If you use the standard diff URL but fake the title parameter, you only get MediaWiki:Difference-missing-revision, not MediaWiki:Thisisdeleted. The deletion log is also for the fake title that we used. And the nnnnnnnnn text is not linked, so there's no way to tell what page the diff was from.

Because MediaWiki can check that the title is fake, it must be able to tell what the correct title is. For that reason, it must also be possible to change the software so that the error message is displayed the same way for all three of these scenarios (and probably more scenarios that I haven't thought of as well). You'd have to ask one of the devs how exactly to do that, though. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 07:29, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

Bugzilla? --Edgars2007 (talk/contribs) 12:31, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

@Mr. Stradivarius: I stumbled across the amazing Special:Redirect and am wondering what it does with a deleted revision id. The docs on the special page show two examples:

Would someone please provide a pageid for a deleted page and a revid for a deleted revision so we can try it. What does it show for an admin? Johnuniq (talk) 10:53, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Deleted pages don't really have a page_id, but Special:Redirect/page/41104910 and Special:Redirect/revision/582012795 should correspond to a recent delete by User:AnomieBOT III of the former redirect Template:Misarchiving welcome here. For an admin, it shows error messages which are presumably the same as for a non-admin. Anomie 11:19, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, although it's disappointing that the magic of Special:Redirect does not extend to showing something useful, such as the "A page with this title has previously been deleted" log extract seen when visiting the title of a deleted page. Johnuniq (talk) 12:34, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

How to add image to infobox


I've tried and tried to add an image to the infobox of Takht-i-Bahi, including copying the info box of Rohtas Fort and just changing the information to fit, but no dice. What is it that I'm not seeing? Thanks, Parabolooidal (talk) 20:09, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

I have placed a placeholder image to the infobox, just replace the file name to the image you want. Mlpearc (open channel) 20:17, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
hummm, I did that and it didn't work exactly. I put File:Takht-i-Bahi3.jpg in File:Example.jpg and it turned out huge. If I take it out of the brackets [[ ]], like usually infoboxes do, it doesn't show up. Could you stick an image in there for me? Once one is in there, then I could switch if it doesn't look right. Thanks, Parabolooidal (talk) 20:42, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
I've added it with "220px" for the size. -- John of Reading (talk) 21:09, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks so much! I've learned something new. Best, Parabolooidal (talk) 21:36, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Citations with title parameter in rtl language, beginning with numbers: Display issue and workaround

Citations with a title parameter in a right-to-left language such as Hebrew, that begin (on the right) with a number (which itself is left-to-right) have trouble displaying the foreign and English-translated titles correctly. In this example, the Hebrew number 12 is intentionally translated as 13 to make the errors clearer. In the markup, the Hebrew title begins (on the right) with the number 12, but it incorrectly displays in the editing screen, and here shown literally with <nowiki>, with the number on the left. (This problem is not confined to citations, but exists throughout Wikipedia, and is beyond the scope of this issue.) {{cite web}} is used here, but the same problem appears with other cite templates including {{cite news}}.

The two citation bugs are:

  • Without the English title protected by <span dir="ltr">, the English number moves into the Hebrew title.
  • Without the Hebrew title protected by <span lang="he" dir="rtl">, the Hebrew title displays with the number on the left instead of the right.
Markup text Displays as
{{cite web |author=Tova Green |date=6 May 2010 |title=12 ימים|language=he |trans_title=13 days |publisher=Maybe So |url= |accessdate=15 May 2010}} Tova Green (6 May 2010). "12 ימים" [13 days] (in Hebrew). Maybe So. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
{{cite web |author=Tova Green |date=6 May 2010 |title=<span lang="he" dir="rtl">12 ימים</span> |language=he |trans_title=13 days |publisher=Maybe So |url= |accessdate=15 May 2010}} Tova Green (6 May 2010). "12 ימים" [13 days] (in Hebrew). Maybe So. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
{{cite web |author=Tova Green |date=6 May 2010 |title=12 ימים |language=he |trans_title=<span dir="ltr">13 days</span> |publisher=Maybe So |url= |accessdate=15 May 2010}} Tova Green (6 May 2010). "12 ימים" [13 days] (in Hebrew). Maybe So. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
{{cite web |author=Tova Green |date=6 May 2010 |title=<span lang="he" dir="rtl">12 ימים</span> |language=he |trans_title=<span dir=ltr>13 days</span> |publisher=Maybe So |url= |accessdate=15 May 2010}} Tova Green (6 May 2010). "12 ימים" [13 days] (in Hebrew). Maybe So. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 

Anomalocaris (talk) 01:42, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Is the fourth example the one that is displayed correctly? It looks like adding a span dir="ltr" declaration automatically for |title= parameters when ltr languages are declared in |language= might do the trick. I have paged the folks who know the details of the Lua code that underlies most of the cite/citation templates. – Jonesey95 (talk) 16:38, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Jonesey95: Yes, the fourth example is the one that is displayed correctly. As I say, the workaround involves mucking with both the |title= and the |trans_title= parameter. Whatever the difficulties in handling rtl languages in the title parameter (or anywhere else), the |trans_title= parameter shouldn't need additional script for ordinary English to display correctly. —Anomalocaris (talk) 06:41, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm not thinking that this is a CS1 problem. I think I can duplicate the problem outside of a CS1 template by simply copying the Hebrew characters from one of these citations and pasting them into this edit window:
If I then put the cursor at the right end of the Hebrew string and type any letter on my keyboard ('a' in this case)
then the character is placed to the right of the Hebrew string. This is how it should work, correct? If I repeat the above experiment but instead type a number ('9'), the number is placed at the left of the Hebrew string:
From this I think that I can conclude that the problem lies elsewhere than in CS1.
Trappist the monk (talk) 19:01, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Trappist the monk: You are right that the behavior in my second bullet point is not confined to |title= parameters of {{cite}} templates. It's a problem throughout Wikipedia, and it's actually the behavior you would expect. If you have Hebrew embedded in an English stream, and the Hebrew begins with a number, the displaying software has no way of knowing that the number is part of the Hebrew (and therefore has to be on the right of it) unless some additional markup brackets the number together with the Hebrew. So my second bullet is not really a bug. One could argue with the |language= parameter set to a rtl language the |title= parameter should be assumed to be rtl. Unfortunately Wikipedians do not strictly follow this rule. There are many instances where the |title= parameter is the English-translated title even when the |language= parameter is set to an rtl language such as Hebrew. So I would advise against any special treatment for the |title= parameter to fix the second bullet "bug". But the first bullet really is a bug. Plain English shouldn't need additional markup to display correctly.—Anomalocaris (talk) 06:41, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Module:Citation/CS1 simply concatenates |title=, |trans-title=, and appropriate punctuation into an internal variable Title. This variable is used either as-is, or as the display text for |url= when the code renders the citation:
[ "12 ימים" [13 days]]
If an editor wraps the content of |title= in <bdi>...</bdi>, the concatenated result is correct.
[ "<bdi lang="he" dir="rtl">12 ימים</bdi>" [13 days]]
It occurs to me that the module could automatically wrap every |title= with <bdi>...</bdi> tags regardless of language. This problem isn't limited to digit-initial |trans-title=. This:
{{cite book |title=ימים |volume=2}}
produces this:
ימים 2. 
with <bdi>...</bdi> we get
ימים 2. 
I'll experiment with having the module wrap |title= values after I make a currently pending update to the live module code. I will post my results at Help talk:Citation Style 1.
Trappist the monk (talk) 12:04, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I think <bdi> should fix it; see Help:HTML in wikitext#bdi. Have to check browser support though.
Markup Renders as
{{cite web |author=Tova Green |date=6 May 2010 |title=12 ימים|language=he |trans_title=13 days |publisher=Maybe So |url= |accessdate=15 May 2010}}
Tova Green (6 May 2010). "12 ימים" [13 days] (in Hebrew). Maybe So. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
{{cite web |author=Tova Green |date=6 May 2010 |title=<bdi lang="he" dir="rtl">12 ימים</bdi> |language=he |trans_title=13 days |publisher=Maybe So |url= |accessdate=15 May 2010}}
Tova Green (6 May 2010). "12 ימים" [13 days] (in Hebrew). Maybe So. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
{{cite web |author=Tova Green |date=6 May 2010 |title=12 ימים |language=he |trans_title=<bdi dir="ltr">13 days</bdi> |publisher=Maybe So |url= |accessdate=15 May 2010}}
Tova Green (6 May 2010). "12 ימים" [13 days] (in Hebrew). Maybe So. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
{{cite web |author=Tova Green |date=6 May 2010 |title=<bdi lang="he" dir="rtl">12 ימים</bdi> |language=he |trans_title=<bdi dir=ltr>13 days</bdi> |publisher=Maybe So |url= |accessdate=15 May 2010}}
Tova Green (6 May 2010). "12 ימים" [13 days] (in Hebrew). Maybe So. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 

--  Gadget850 talk 01:00, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Gadget850: Yes, it appears that <bdi> works better than <span>. If the rtl |title= parameter is tagged with bdi, the English |trans_title= parameter displays correctly without additional markup. But still, protecting the rtl |title= parameter with <span> should also work, and the second bullet is still a bug in my opinion. —Anomalocaris (talk) 06:41, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Either of these solutions will bugger up the COinS metadata. Here's the COinS title when it's wrapped with <bdi>...</bdi>:
Trappist the monk (talk) 12:04, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I knew that would happen, but it does show a route to the solution. I logged a feature request some time ago for better language support, including RTL support. <bdi> was whitelisted since that request. We should not need to do anything to 'trans_title' as it should be English. --  Gadget850 talk 12:52, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Incorrect category total

Category:All Wikipedia level-3 vital articles states that it contains 879 articles, but by navigating through the 5 pages in the category, I count 200 + 200 + 200 + 200 + 89 = 889 articles. Am I missing something incredibly obvious, or is there a bug in the page counting algorithm? Malerisch (talk) 03:31, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

It almost certainly means that the process that calculates the total number hasn't been chached in the time that ten article were added to the category. A lot of calculations on Wikipedia lag current statistics (e.g. ages in BLP infoboxes) by up to two months. Without knowing exactly how category populations are tabulated, I would suggest purging the cache on the category page and see if that doesn't work. VanIsaacWScont 04:40, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
I tried making a null edit, but that didn't fix the count. I also don't think it's a cache issue: I temporarily removed {{Vital article}} from Talk:History of East Asia, and the category now states that it contains 878 articles, which is still 10 off. I'm certain that my count is correct though (it's not hard to check either), so I'm not sure where the discrepancy comes from. Malerisch (talk) 05:54, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Hmm, if it's responding to removal of a member, that doesn't look like a cache issue. So I thought it might be a human counting issue: I went in and copied the whole category list to notepad++ and had it count the number of items, and there are definitely 10 more articles than the category page says there are. I will not make a similar assessment of the 8700+ level-4 vital articles category, but both levels 1 and 2 have correct counts. I honestly have absolutely no clue what the hell is going on here. VanIsaacWScont 06:43, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
I think this is the same problem as Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)/Archive 128#Negative category membership counts. SiBr4 (talk) 08:19, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
It seems this is a very old bug. VanIsaacWScont 08:57, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Good to know that it's been documented, at least. Thanks for finding the bug report! For the record, I counted up the number of articles in Category:All Wikipedia level-4 vital articles using API:Categorymembers and got a total of 8,759 articles, which is 12 more than the category says it contains (8,747). Malerisch (talk) 14:47, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
FWIW, This problem happened to me as I was clearing out the error tracking category Category:Pages with archiveurl citation errors‎ a few months ago. There was a persistently high count displayed, about 100 articles higher than the actual number, for many months until I reduced the article count to under 200 (a single screen). Once I got the count under 200, the count was fixed and has remained so. I suspect that there is some sort of different math that happens when there is more than one screen's worth of articles in the category. It would be nice to have a way to purge the category count. – Jonesey95 (talk) 16:42, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Yes. Looking through some of the bug reports, it looks like they changed the behavior several years ago to updated the count automatically with every edit when it was under 200, since the overhead was small enough that the table lookup wasn't much of a savings of just doing the count itself. But it still does a full count only occasionally for categories with over 200 population, and normally just gets the value from the table, while additions or removals of the category just increments or decrements the table value (which is where the errors get introduced). VanIsaacWScont 23:23, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Tech News: 2014-34

07:17, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Text link to image

Is there markup to create a text link to an image on Commons, where the text is some arbitrary word or phrase? In other words, the equivalent of a piped wikilink to a page, but for an image?   Mandruss |talk  11:10, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

[[c:File:Example.jpg|Click here]] gives Click here. If you want such a link to be created to a local file, you could use [[:File:Example.jpg]].--Glaisher (talk) 11:16, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Got it, thanks!   Mandruss |talk  11:19, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Apostrophe in italic words?

I am told I need to put foreign language words in italics, and I should use two single quotes to do this. So how do I enter "Luftwaffe's" as in "the Luftwaffe's latest fighter design"? Maury Markowitz (talk) 15:58, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

@Maury Markowitz: the ''Luftwaffe'''s latest fighter design should do it. If that clashes with other apostrophes on the page you can use the <i>Luftwaffe</i>'s latest fighter design. — Mr. Stradivarius on tour ♪ talk ♪ 16:06, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
The former does not work, it causes bolding across the entire section. Is <i> really the solution here? Maury Markowitz (talk) 16:11, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
@Maury Markowitz: The former doesn't work? Luftwaffe's latest fighter design. <-- That used the same markup, but it doesn't cause the whole section to be in bold. --Glaisher (talk) 16:34, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
I think he meant that it italicizes the apostrophe. That's why WP:MOS asks for {{'}} or {{'s}}, which is a pain to type, so yes, it would be great if someone could fix this. - Dank (push to talk) 16:36, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
the ''Luftwaffe''{{'}}s latest fighter design is the MOS-recommended way to do this, I believe. It results in: the Luftwaffe's latest fighter design. – Jonesey95 (talk) 16:46, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Perfect, thanks! Perhaps I am confused, but I seem to recall the "natural" format used to work just fine, after an upgrade circa 2006? Maury Markowitz (talk) 16:57, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
@Maury Markowitz: I'm guessing other apostrophes on the same line interfered with the first syntax that I posted. Could you give a diff that shows the unwanted bolding that you mention? The other apostrophes can be added by templates, so they might not be immediately obvious. We will need an example to see exactly what is going on. Also, Dank, the apostrophe doesn't appear italicised to me when I type Luftwaffe's - are you sure that's what you're seeing? — Mr. Stradivarius on tour ♪ talk ♪ 00:01, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Compare that apostrophe with the ones produced by {{'}} above ... it slants, they don't. - Dank (push to talk) 00:11, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
@Dank: Ah, you're right. In the HTML output, ''Luftwaffe'''s expands to <i>Luftwaffe'</i>s, and ''Luftwaffe''{{'}}s expands to <i>Luftwaffe</i><span style="padding-left:0.1em;">'</span>s. The apostrophe must appear straight to me because of my font. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 02:16, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

@Mr. Stradivarius: I think I may have cause some unnecessary confusion originally, because the non-working version of the string I originally posted had the non-italic "S" at the end. So it was double-quote at the front and triple at the back, which doesn't work. Dank's solution does work, but to be honest, I punted and just put the whole thing italics - after 20000 words I figured I could let that slide :-) Maury Markowitz (talk) 14:22, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

@Maury Markowitz: From your description of the whole paragraph becoming bold it still sounds like there is an unresolved template issue somewhere, though. Could you let us know where you noticed this? A diff would be most helpful, but just the article and paragraph would be a good start. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 22:59, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
@Mr. Stradivarius: Sure, it was in the AI Mk. IV radar article. Go back to any version just after the initial creation and you'll see some variation. Maury Markowitz (talk) 21:17, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
You can also use ''Luftwaffe''<nowiki />'s → 'Luftwaffe's; You could also insert an empty HTML comment or a zero-width space. Personally I prefer {{'}} because I believe we should avoid tag mark-up and HTML as much as possible, also it adds a tiny bit of leading (using style attributes, a hair space might be better).
All the best: Rich Farmbrough11:13, 22 August 2014 (UTC).
Or if it really causes problems avoid the apostophe altogether and reword the sentence "the lastest fighter design of the Luftwaffe". That was the solution for problems with apostrophes taught to me in grammar lessons many years ago. Nthep (talk) 11:20, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
The problem with a hair space is that it will be included in a copy-paste, which can be annoying for the person copying-and-pasting. Anomie 11:22, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Stray brackets

Can anyone figure out why stray brackets are appearing at the top of Interstate_94_in_Michigan#Exit_list? Ten Pound Hammer(What did I screw up now?) 17:08, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

I found that {{ occurs in 219 places, and }} occurs in 220 places.
Wavelength (talk) 17:30, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, captain obvious. I want to know why it's showing up. Ten Pound Hammer(What did I screw up now?) 17:43, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Removed. Was added in this edit: line 623. --Glaisher (talk) 17:53, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Coordinates issue in infoboxes

I am in correspondence with a representative of Microsoft regarding information in Wikipedia:Database download. I am not familiar with those dumps, but assume someone in this forum is familiar with them.

Microsoft uses data from the database dumps in connections with Bing maps.

The challenge is that Wikipedia editors have created several versions of infobox templates, which handle coordinate data in different ways.

Some templates use the convention that longitude values west of Greenwich should be entered with a negative sign in front of the degrees. Other templates use the convention that such location should use a positive value for degrees, but include a parameter such as longEW which should be used with an entry of "E". (Mutatis mutandes for latitude)

I believe that this, so far, is not an issue. It is merely a need to establish two cases, with case one between a templates with a directional indicator set to either E or S or both, and case two, where degrees are entered with a negative sign.

However, we have some less well-designed templates.

For example, there is a template for South African towns {{infobox South African town}}

(The issue also applies to at least one template for Australia.)

The problem is that the template uses the directional parameter, but has hard-coded it within the template, on the not unreasonable assumption that all towns in South Africa should have latNS=S and longEW=E

Note that this does not cause a problem in the template or the article. The coordinates are rendered correctly.

However, what has been told to me is that when the data is dumped to the database dumps, it does not always include the directional parameter (when it is hard-coded). This means that someone using the data from the database will not come up with the right coordinates if they simply use the data.

One option is to identify all infobox templates and find out which ones have hard-coded directional values. With this information, a case 3 could be cleanly identified. I have no idea how many there are or how to find them.

The meta-question is who has the responsibility for "fixing" the issue. One argument is that there is not a problem in Wikipedia, and therefore there is no problem to fix.

Another argument is that the datadumps are a Wikipedia "product" and if they are not usable as is, we have some interest in addressing problems.

I see two paths for fixing the dumps:

  1. Identify a list of all templates with hard-coded directional parameters so that a third party user can made necessary adjustments
  2. Identify a coherent paradigm for template design, and ask someone to change templates not in conformance.

Option 1 is easier in the short term, I think, but I do not know how to do it. Option 2 is a better long-term solution, in my opinion, but maybe one that will be vetoed by the community.--S Philbrick(Talk) 21:52, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Yes, one of our 'wonderful' hacks, that has served us well and others not so much :) Luckily, we have most of this data parsed into a separate database now, using the {{#coordinates}} function of the GeoData extension. I think that is a better way forward. I'm pinging some engineers that might be able to help, and otherwise I'll forward to wikitech-l mailing list. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 22:58, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Indeed, GeoData/Wikidata is the way to move forward in this situation. I don't think that we should care about uses of dumps for things other than loading them into MediaWiki. Instead, we should refer people to the proper ways to access our data. Max Semenik (talk) 00:20, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
In other words, can you forward it to Max Semenik (talk) 00:34, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
@MaxSem: I forwarded it. I'm not sure you will get the whole stream, but it is Ticket:2014080510001771 if you want all the back and forth.--S Philbrick(Talk) 01:52, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Yet another reason to replace overly-specific infoboxes with more generic examples; in this case {{Infobox settlement}}. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 13:31, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
It would be good sense to sign-check the data on import anyway. And certainly there are many other ways to get the coordinates to confirm. Wikipedia, especially a snapshot thereof is not a great source for coordinates where accuracy is important. For statistical work its pretty good though. Face-smile.svg All the best: Rich Farmbrough22:39, 20 August 2014 (UTC).

Coordinate map issues

Hey there - through OTRS, I've been talking to a user who has had issues with the coordinate map that appears in the infobox of city articles, specifically McClure, Illinois. The map and its red coordinate point appear fine in the article, but when the user goes to print it (through both the Windows 8 printing interface and Wikipedia's own page printing option), the coordinate is located up in the middle of the map. Tried searching for previous bugs, but I'm not too familiar. Any idea what could be going on? Known bug? Compatibility issue? Thanks! ~SuperHamster Talk Contribs 23:06, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

I can't reproduce this in Firefox or Chrome. Perhaps this is an Internet Explorer issue? Seeing as it's working for me, I also doubt it's an issue with Module:Location map, although Jackmcbarn may still be interested in this report. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 13:22, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
@SuperHamster: Perhaps you could ask the user what browser they were using at the time? That would help us narrow things down. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 13:24, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
@SuperHamster: This is probably not it, but I note that the template has more than one set of coords, one filled in, one blank. Any chance the print option is picking up the wrong set, and trying to locate at zeros, which might default to the middle?--S Philbrick(Talk) 13:31, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
@Mr. Stradivarius: @Sphilbrick: Thanks for commenting, guys. I asked the user what browser they're using, and if it's IE whether it's in desktop mode or metro mode (in case the user still happens to be using Windows 8 and not 8.1). ~SuperHamster Talk Contribs 15:43, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
@Mr. Stradivarius: @Sphilbrick: User is using the desktop version of IE in Windows 8. I re-downloaded the browser myself (bleh) and tested it, and experienced the same issue the user was having when doing a print-preview. I uploaded a screenshot at File:Map printing glitch.png showing the glitch. The same thing appears to happen for East Cape Girardeau, Illinois and Tamms, Illinois, both of which displayed the dot much farther up than it should be. Park Forest, Illinois also showed a bit of variation by a few pixels, with the dot appearing lower than it should have. No idea what's going on beyond that; I'll try experimenting some more. ~SuperHamster Talk Contribs 18:00, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Surely it cannot be coincidence that all of those examples are using the template Geobox|Settlement. Can you look at one with a different template, to confirm or reject that it is a combination of that template and browser combination?--S Philbrick(Talk) 18:08, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
@Sphilbrick: Hah, just did that - Cleveland appears just fine. To summarize, looks like the issue is variation in the vertical placement of coordinates when using Geobox|Settlement. ~SuperHamster Talk Contribs 18:32, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
@Mr. Stradivarius: @SuperHamster: @Sphilbrick: The problem is that Template:Geobox doesn't use Module:Location map to draw its maps. It uses its own (buggy) code. Converting it to use Module:Location map will fix it. I'll try to do that myself at some point, but anyone else can feel free to try if they want it fixed sooner. Jackmcbarn (talk) 03:37, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Protection level selection


Does anybody know why the list of protection levels at the "protect" tab was altered? It used to be "Allow all users"; "Allow only autoconfirmed users"; "Allow only template editors and admins"; "Allow only administrators" - an ascending sequence. Now, "Allow only template editors and admins" appears first, with the others following in the traditional order. Quite apart from the fact that the sequence is illogical, it used to be possible to quickly check the prot level of a page by clicking the "change protection" tab and glancing at the lists - any list where the bar was not at the top meant that a protection was in force. Now, I have to stop and read what it says. It also means that if I want to lower the prot level from semi-prot to unprotected, it's all too easy to raise it to template-protected by accident. --Redrose64 (talk) 00:10, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Because the superprotection deployment was slightly botched (bug 69640 This has a patch pending: gerrit:154376 – reading the discussion on it, especially the opposing votes, provides valuable insight into the dealing of our community. Matma Rex talk 00:16, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Aha, so the bug actually came in with gerrit:153302. --Redrose64 (talk) 11:56, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Making a template

On my userpage I have a set of instructions that I drew up—see [33]—which I would like to turn into a template that I can use in text generally. How do I do this? --P123ct1 (talk) 10:15, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Put just the text you want on a separate page, for example User:P123ct1/My template. To use that page as a template, type in {{User:P123ct1/My template}} on any page. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 12:57, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I did that, but when I typed it in, all that came up was "User:P123ct/My template", in faint red. Have I missed out some code somewhere? --P123ct1 (talk) 13:41, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
You've put it on User talk:P123ct1/My template rather than User:P123ct1/My template -- WOSlinker (talk) 13:46, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't know how I managed that! Works perfectly now. Thanks. If I wanted to make a second template, where else could I put the text? You can't use the user "my template" page again, can you? --P123ct1 (talk) 14:18, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
You can call the page whatever you want. Create at User:P123ct1/anything and use with {{User:P123ct1/anything}} -- WOSlinker (talk) 14:25, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Better to use descriptive names for each template you create, for example by moving the first template to User:P123ct1/Footnotes or something similar. SiBr4 (talk) 14:55, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I've got the hang of it now. Thanks for everyone's help. --P123ct1 (talk) 15:22, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Unable to view a video on Mac!

I am using Safari 6.0.2. When i view a video it will say that i must install a new version of Java to do so. After i install it, when i view the video it will say that the site is not on the "whitelist" and the video cannot be viewed. When i found and edit the "whitelist" it will say that the video comes from and you need to whitelist this too. But, after i add to the whitelist, it will still say " is not on the 'whitelist'." After i exit the browser and open it again, when i view the same video it will say "You must install a new version of Java" again. I am using version 7 update 67 after my last update(It still says "version 7 update 67 is the most recent version of Java.") Please notify me on my talk page when you answer.S/s/a/z-1/2 (talk) 11:00, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

@Ssaz 12: I don't think that this is a VPT matter, have you tried WP:RD/C? --Redrose64 (talk) 11:47, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
This post is about viewing a video on Wikipedia.S/s/a/z-1/2 (talk) 12:00, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
This is probably about the Cortado applet which is the fallback for older systems. Does the "whitelist" refer to your browser settings as covered in ? Wondering if the error "You must install a new version of Java" is triggered by the Cortado applet or the Safari browser. --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 12:09, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Video on Safari is a mess. Might be better to use Firefox or Chrome. It seems that applet is now starting again (I think for a while we skipped the plugin altogether and just made the user download the file in Safari). I'm hoping that is in preparation of signing it so that it becomes at least a bit usable again on Safari, but i'm not sure. Bawolff might know. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 12:36, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Our cortado applet is pretty broken currently. is wrong, the applet isn't signed, etc. At this point I would recommend just downloading the video from the image description page, and viewing in an external program (like VLC). Or using chrome. Sorry for the suckiness :S. Bawolff (talk) 17:36, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Hedonil's new search history tool

I have left a message on Hedonil's Talk page about his new search history tool, and from the date of his last message, it looks as if he may be away. So can anyone else help, please? This is the message I left:

"I am having trouble with your new gadget. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and quite often it comes up with a message saying "Internal error", "The URI you have requested, /xtools/blame/?, appears to be non-functional at this time." What is happening? Hope you can fix it soon, as it is such a good tool and I rely on it!"

--P123ct1 (talk) 16:20, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Replied on talk page. In short: Preparations for an repository update, so that OpenSource isn't just claimed but proven. btw. X! Edit Counter is now fully restored and better than ever since 2008 (and it's hard to beat a legend). All other modules should also be alive and kicking again. Cheers --Hedonil (talk) 02:41, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Animated gifs and "thumb"

In some articles like Parallel curve an animated gif plays automatically even though it's in a "thumb" disposition, but in others like Osculating_circle#Lissajous_curve I had to remove "thumb" for it to play automatically. Can someone explain what the reason/rule is? JMP EAX (talk) 17:15, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Big GIF images (where width*height*number of frames > 6*10^7) won't be animated, small ones will be. It has nothing to do with thumb disposition. If a GIF image is too big to be animated, there should be a warning on its image page. Bawolff (talk) 17:38, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
That's not my experience. Using Google Chrome, this old version of the Osculating circle, which uses "thumb", is not animated. Simply removing "thumb" resulted in the animation being played in the article. JMP EAX (talk) 14:33, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Oh. If you don't use thumb, and don't specify a width (e.g just do [[File:Foo.gif]]), then MediaWiki won't try to shrink the file, and just use the original version, which is animated. This particular image is somewhat of a special case, it appears it was uploaded when the limit for animating the thumbs was much lower, so sizes that were first viewed before the limit was increased are still, but sizes that were first viewed after the limit was increased are animated. I purged the image, which should now make it animated in all sizes (May have to ctrl+r refresh the page to clear your browser cache). Bawolff (talk) 17:57, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. Than explains it then. JMP EAX (talk) 18:28, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Wikibreak broken

My attempt at an enforced wikibreak here is not working. Previewing changes logs me out, while actually saving has no effect beyond changing the text. And neither prevents me from logging back in. I'm using Safari 7.0, which is little funny about various issues. Hairhorn (talk) 17:58, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Going to give wastenotime a try. Hairhorn (talk) 16:17, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

"Unused" list defined reference error is unnecessary and obnoxious

Someone made a half-hearted attempt to split off part of Shooting of Michael Brown into 2014 Ferguson unrest and the "list-defined references" someone imposed are -- as always -- a pain in the ass. I have little sympathy for using them at all, let alone those who go in and make a page of edits like at Shooting of Michael Brown as they convert, laboriously, everything into their favorite arcane format... seemingly deleting references they don't like as they go along -- or is it just reorganization? can I even tell? But I don't want to argue all that right now. I just want to complain about the way that 2014 Ferguson unrest looked as of [34] with a page of bold red errors because someone committed the heinous crime of having some data in the article that isn't actually being displayed.

One recommended fix for which, according to the Help:Footnotes or Help:Cite errors/Cite error references missing key, is to comment out the unused references, which simply makes the unused information in the article text slightly longer. (Here is what someone actually did: [35])

I'm not saying it wouldn't be "kind of useful" to have a debug option where you can preview an article and see the unused refs highlighted this way, but as a matter of routine article development, as seen here in the field, it is just a needless obstacle. Wnt (talk) 18:50, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

It was a conscious design decision by the developer who implemented List-defined references. The reasoning was that you should not have references that were unused. If there is consensus, we do have the capability to suppress the error entirely. If you with to pursue this, start a RFC. --  Gadget850 talk 21:21, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
And List-defined references were a request on Bugzilla, as were the Automatically generated reference lists. When the developers operate without input, they give what is asked for, which is not necessarily what we really want. --  Gadget850 talk 22:30, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
"you should not have references that were unused" means "you should not have WP:General references". WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:57, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
The fundamental problem is not the "list defining" feature, nor the feature to report unused references, but the used of the "named" refs (in the form of "<ref name= ...>"). Named refs supposedly solve the problem of how to reuse a reference, but tend to create problems where slave refs are dependent on master refs in other sections. It is the use of named refs that are obnoxious. And unnecessary. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:48, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Is there an anti-ITALICTITLE?


Congress on Research in Dance displays with an italic article title to me for some reason, whereas it shouldn't, according to MOS (it's the name of a group, not of a scholarly journal). Is there a way to stop articles from having italic titles? Thanks. It Is Me Here t / c 18:55, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Never mind, it turns out it was coming from {{Infobox journal}}. It Is Me Here t / c 18:59, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Make all redirects soft using JS

If I wanted to make all redirects soft (i.e. they don't redirect), how could I go about doing that with JavaScript? I'm looking to do this in order to repair or refine redirects en masse. Thanks. 23W 21:39, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

A link to a redirect has the class .mw-redirect. Look for links with that class and append ?redirect=no to the link. You may also want to look at User:Anomie/linkclassifier; it may already suit your needs. -- [[User:Edokter]] {{talk}} 21:53, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
@Edokter: I can't seem to get it to work. Am I supposed to do var redirect = document.getElementsByClassName("mw-redirect"); redirect.href += "?redirect=no"; or something entirely different? I've already customized my CSS to show redirects as green. 23W 22:41, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
@23W: Probably the best way to do this is though JQuery. $("").attr("href", function(count, value){return value + "?redirect=no";}) should do it. Writ Keeper  23:05, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
@Writ Keeper: This works perfectly. Thank you! 23W 23:12, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

What's up with Firefox and security certificates?

A couple of hours ago I had no problem editing with Firefox, my preferred browser for that purpose. I got back on, opened it up and clicked the bookmark. Instead of the Main Page, I got a message telling me it had an untrusted security certificate. I jumped through all the hoops it held up to get there, only to get the lower-tech, early 2000s version of the Main Page that sometimes comes through when there are technical problems on our end (usually cleared up pretty quickly). I have not been able to get it back yet and this seems to be affecting all Foundation sites.

I suspect the problem is with Firefox (version 31.0, the newest), as the same problem has affected Twitter as well, and I highly doubt they let their certificates lapse. Anyone know anything about this? Daniel Case (talk) 16:09, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

  • I'm using 31.0 as well and have had no problems. Black Kite (talk) 17:04, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Do the certificates look legit? Max Semenik (talk) 17:18, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
If you go into more information/details in firefox about the certificate, what are the fingerprints? For reference, the sha1 fingerpint for wikipedia should be 87:A6:CC:C9:08:A0:0B:4F:B0:66:31:B2:4B:24:3F:39:82:FA:E0:30 . Bawolff (talk) 18:12, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
This is what it's telling me is there as the SHA1 fingerprint: 4E:E3:0C:BB:9D:21:E1:00:C1:06:1C:86:00:59:5A:0F:71:C1:52:81 Daniel Case (talk) 22:52, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Seeing they doesn't match, you may be a victim of the Man-in-the-middle attack where a peer tries to intercept your traffic. It happens commonly in workplaces. Try to use another connection or check your computer for viruses. Do not use the connection for online banking. See also: Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 18:46, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
Well that's interesting... Who's the certificate issued by, issued to, etc? Somebody is certainly spying on your connection, maybe looking at who the cert is issued by will give you a hint if its some web filter sort of thing, or if its actually somebody malicious. Bawolff (talk) 18:58, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
  • The "2001 version" is what happens when the CSS files don't load. Did you try it with other browsers? Other internet connections? It could be a restriction placed on your network. KonveyorBelt 18:27, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
It's fine with other browsers. I'm using Chrome to edit right now. And IE has checked out fine. But Firefox is still screwing me over. Daniel Case (talk) 19:21, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
From the menu bar, try Tools → Options → Advanced → Network. In that, go for: Cached Web Content → Clear Now (this may take several minutes) and then: Offline Web Content and User Data → Clear Now (this also may take several minutes). Then go back to the problem page and Ctrl+F5. --Redrose64 (talk) 20:56, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Did all that ... no change. Daniel Case (talk) 22:58, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

I guess everyone lost interest in this one? I'm still having the issue. Daniel Case (talk) 16:24, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Not necessarily lost interest... I'm out of ideas, and I suspect other people may be too. --Redrose64 (talk) 18:14, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
Its probably because firefox is detecting someone is intercepting the connection (aka MITM attack), and is refusing to load stylistic information as a security precaution. Bawolff (talk) 18:58, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I use Firefox (version 31.0) and haven't had a bit of trouble with anything. In fact, some bothersome kinks in the prior version (after the massive redesign that made me unhappy) have been remedied. So I'm back to my old happiness level with it. Maybe something about your security settings? (Just a guess as I'm no Firefox guru.) Or uninstall and reinstall? Parabolooidal (talk) 18:28, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

"Old templates"

Those naughty Wikipedians have created a bunch of templates that are not ready for Visual Editor! Maybe the Foundation should clear out some of the "old templates"...

See this brief conversation with Lila on Meta for some curious perspective.

All the best: Rich Farmbrough22:32, 20 August 2014 (UTC).

Images do not load

Hello! Since yesterday I'm unable to load any images from Wikipedia, their loading simply times out. Of course, I've tried different browsers and such standard "debugging" stuff, unfortunately with no results. Additionally, loading of JavaScript files seems to be much slower than usual, but that might be the result of troubles with loading images. Any help would be appreciated, and of course please let me know which further information is needed from my side. — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 05:42, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

It sounds like a problem between you and Wikipedia. Have you tried with a different computer (or mobile device) on the same network ? Tried restarting your modem ? If that's the same, then the problem probably lies at your ISP or something. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 08:41, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
I've already tried a few things, including restarting my ADSL box, unfortunately to no avail. It could be something up to my ISP (and most probably it is), but the strange thing is that I see no such issues when accessing other web sites. — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 09:16, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
That doesn't say much. The Internet is a web of webs, one part can break without affecting others. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 10:06, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm very well aware of that. :) Anyway, the images work now. — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 04:39, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Google showing wrong title in search results

If I google "Leader of ISIS," Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (expelled) is the third result. Similarly Saint Charles Preparatory School, Columbus is a result for "Saint Charles Preparatory School." The words "expelled" and "Columbus" do occur in each respective article. Maybe there isn't much we can do but let Google know. Mark Schierbecker (talk) 07:04, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Probably a Google indexing problem, which presumably will be fixed when Google next reindexes the pages. Not sure what caused it though as the titles displayed in the Google results appear never to have been the titles of Wikipedia articles.--ukexpat (talk) 19:59, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

I just created "This article ranked 1609 in traffic on "

I just created Promod, an article on a notable but not very remarkable major fashion chain (1,000 stores, gross sales of 1 billion euros, blablabla). The article fills a major need though, considering that it is "ranked 1609 in traffic on"[36]!

Now, I'm more than aware of the problems with page views, and the very improbable hits some pages get, but this one doesn't seem to match any of the usual patterns, and gets an extremely constant number of views per day (I guess the variation is caused by real people actually looking for this article). Any guesses on where the page views are coming from in this case? In any case, it vastly increases the total number of page views on articles I created :-) Fram (talk) 10:17, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

(What Links Here has too few links to be the cause?)
Maybe people who checked fr:Promod and replaced "fr" with "en" in the title? --Enric Naval (talk) 10:50, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
It does not look like the came from fr:Promod, that has only been looked at 1816 times in the last 90 days[37]. GB fan 11:02, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
The page has had (almost exactly) 5400 views per day every day since February 27, 2014. This is a sure indication that the views are coming from a bot, and I will guess it is looking for Call of Duty 4 Promod, whose new major version was released the same day as the views started (Feb 28). Or (very unlikely) just a lot of gamers wondering why their favorite mod isn't on Wikipedia. 2Flows (talk) 19:19, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

My bad

Today I unintentionally damaged an article with this edit. I take responsibility for the error, for not reviewing my edit properly, yet I wonder if a technical bug exists as well. Currently I have been experiencing issues with my internet connection. In this example the page never fully loaded yet it allowed me to change and save the half loaded page as if I had removed the missing portions. It seems to me that the system shouldn't accept a request to save changes until the page, or section, has fully loaded. I will appreciate seeing any replies. Thank you.—John Cline (talk) 15:39, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

It shouldn't. Incoming, there will be a field missing then, causing an error. On save there should also be checks. Pondering. do you perhaps have wikEd or a live preview/edit script enabled ? —TheDJ (Not WMF) (talkcontribs) 19:16, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
I have pop-ups enabled if that is a factor.—John Cline (talk) 09:20, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Letter petitioning WMF to reverse recent decisions

The Wikimedia Foundation recently created a new feature, "superprotect" status. The purpose is to prevent pages from being edited by elected administrators -- but permitting WMF staff to edit them. It has been put to use in only one case: to protect the deployment of the Media Viewer software on German Wikipedia, in defiance of a clear decision of that community to disable the feature by default, unless users decide to enable it.

If you oppose these actions, please add your name to this letter. If you know non-Wikimedians who support our vision for the free sharing of knowledge, and would like to add their names to the list, please ask them to sign an identical version of the letter on

-- JurgenNL (talk) 17:35, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

In the interest of NPOV, where can we sign a petition supporting the Foundation if we have an opposite point of view from German chapter? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 07:14, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Process ideas for software development


I am notifying you that a brainstorming session has been started on Meta to help the Wikimedia Foundation increase and better affect community participation in software development across all wiki projects. Basically, how can you be more involved in helping to create features on Wikimedia projects? We are inviting all interested users to voice their ideas on how communities can be more involved and informed in the product development process at the Wikimedia Foundation.

I and the rest of my team welcome you to participate. We hope to see you on Meta.

Kind regards, -- Rdicerb (WMF) talk 22:15, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

--This message was sent using MassMessage. Was there an error? Report it!

MAC anons

So what's up with those MAC anon's I see every now and then (ex. 2602:306:CD54:C180:A849:3C3F:EDB9:5E6 (talk · contribs))? Is there some kind of IP-alt way to edit with a MAC instead of an IP address showing? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 07:10, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Those are actually IPv6 addresses. They're simply the next iteration of IP addresses that are slowly becoming the norm, with IPv4 being the one you and I are used to right now. ~SuperHamster Talk Contribs 07:18, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
Also, MAC addresses are six bytes, such as 01:23:45:67:89:ab (and you don't need to have an Apple to have a MAC address); IPv6 are much longer, at 16 bytes. By comparison, the old IPv4 addresses are only 4 bytes. --Redrose64 (talk) 10:27, 22 August 2014 (UTC)


Satpal Maharaj/ Devine Light Mission

Details mentioned regarding Devine Light Mission should not be the part of Satpal Maharaj.

In any of the record in Govt. of Indian Department , This organization was not headed by Satpal Maharaj.

Satpal Mahraj is founder of Manav Utthan Sewa Samiti - A Non-profitable organization registered as per Society Registration act of India, 1961.

Manav Utthan Sewa Samiti's registration no is S/7341/1974

Devine Light Mission was headed by Prem Rawat.

Mentioning of Devine light Mission under this article is again to vandalize the image of a person.

This should be on the article or project talk page, not here. (Signing so as perhaps this can be archived.) — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:16, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

RfC: Should Persondata template be removed from articles?

Background (Persondata)

The question keeps arising on Wikipedia talk:Persondata and other forums on whether we should drop persondata now that Wikidata provides the same or similar information. I usually state eventually that is the goal, but I haven't heard anything else about it. I decided this time to be more proactive about it.

From Wikipedia:Persondata, "Persondata is a special set of metadata that can and should be added to biographical articles only. It consists of standardized data fields with basic information about the person (name, short description, birth and death days, and places of birth and death) that, unlike conventional Wikipedia content, can be extracted automatically and processed by cataloging tools and then used for a variety of purposes, such as providing advanced search capabilities, statistical analysis, automated categorization, and birthday lists."

At this time, I'm not aware of anyone using the data. DBpedia does gather the information and offers it for download. However, I'm not aware that they use it. Wikidata did have two bots running, which copied |SHORT DESCRIPTION= from persondata and put it into Wikidata. One bot worked only on dewiki. SamoaBot did work on enwiki. SamoaBot's operator stated that he doesn't "...recall having run that task in these months. However, tons of data have already been imported, and now it is up to the English Wikipedia community to decide whether they still want those data within articles." I did ask Wikidata about persondata.

{{Persondata}} does have many drawbacks. Some of which are:

  1. It is hidden, therefore it is often out of sync with the article text or infobox, with no current mechanism to keep it in sync.
  2. If an infobox is present, persondata becomes redundant.
  3. It is currently not being used by anybody (to my knowledge).
  4. |NAME= and |ALTERNATIVE NAME= parameters have no standard format. Format should be surname, firstname, but this isn't always followed. When a person as a stage/pen name, there is not standard on which parameter parameter gets what name.


  1. If the article doesn't have an infobox, persondata can become a source of info.
  2. |SHORT DESCRIPTION= is of use to Wikidata.
  3. From Periglio's talk page, "Wikipedia has an easy accessible database of over 1 million people. It is data available for serious research projects. Why delete it?"

Question: Should the {{persondata}} template be removed from all articles and no longer be used?

Proposed by Bgwhite 21:21, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Discussion (Persondata)

  • Have a comment?
  • Before implementing this change all the gadgets and tools that create or use this template must also be changed. Otherwise we will get them being created when others are trying to get rid of them. A comparable situation where the cite gadget creates "deprecated" cite template parameters that bot(s) go around undoing. So this should be done as a proper release, where wikidata, gadgets and tools are all synchronised with the policy implementation to stop wasted effort. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 22:08, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
    Graeme Bartlett, Wikidata is currently not ingesting anything from Persondata. I'm aware of two tools that create Persondata, Persondata-o-matic and AWB. An AWB developer is aware of this proposal. Persondata-o-matic currently doesn't work. There are some scripts/gadgets that do allow for easy viewing persondata. Bgwhite (talk) 22:17, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
    So I think that Wikidata should ingest this. It will be harder to harvest from history as it may not be possible to tell the "correct" version. AFC reviewer tool currently adds persondata. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 06:02, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
  • If this goes ahead, someone (I'm willing to help) will need to close up the Persondata and WikiProject Persondata and related pages. Also maybe notify members of the project (and places like WP:BIOG) that persondata is going to be removed. Is there a way of setting up an ongoing bot to send messages to users who add new persondata?—Msmarmalade (talk) 08:09, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
  • User:Rjwilmsi's bot occasionally adds/updates Persondata using AWB but it should be very easy to diactivate AWB's after we agree to stop adding/remove Persondata. -- Magioladitis (talk) 08:24, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
  • My main concern is Category:Biography articles without infoboxes. This means we have 20,000+ that may have Persondata and not an infobox. -- Magioladitis (talk) 08:40, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    Maybe it would be a good idea to add infoboxes to most of these pages so that we reserve the information in the article and in a visible place? -- Magioladitis (talk) 16:40, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
    @Magioladitis: do you mean automatically create infoboxes and transfer Persondata to them? One consideration in that case then, is articles where there isn't enough information to justify an infobox (Although I'd like to see almost every page with an infobox anyway, I think the general consensus is that infoboxes without enough info are an eyesore). For example, if only |NAME= is available, the infobox is unnecessary as you can (usually) get that info from the article title. Perhaps these sorts of persondata can be deleted early on.—Msmarmalade (talk) 02:34, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
    @Msmarmalade: we can select some rules (size of page, at least 3 fields are filled, etc.) and create infoboxes using a bot only for these cases. Still much better than now. -- Magioladitis (talk) 05:02, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
  • How reliable is Persondata anyway? in this edit a malformed article title was used to create a malformed NAME, and DATE OF BIRTH was copied from the completely unsourced infobox (it's not present in the body of the article). Where does that leave Persondata - or Wikidata if it scrapes up "information" using the same rules? PamD 10:40, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Questions - Perhaps it's just me, but there seems to be a failure of communications at work here. Even now, many WP editors remain in the dark about what Wikidata is doing, and how it will affect WP articles. In this example, for instance, would the supplantation of persondata by corresponding wikidata yield better WP articles? Will it, for instance, automatically populate WP infoboxes? What would the differences look like? How would they be made compliant with BLP, V, and other WP policies? Would WP editors still be able to correct errors, without having to learn their way around Wikidata? Are there some examples in place to show how these things will operate? LeadSongDog come howl! 20:40, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    @LeadSongDog:. Some data in the infoboxes could be fetched from Wikidata, but that does not seeem to be the matter at hand here. {{Persondata}} is not meant to be used to populate infoboxes. -Superzoulou
    Thanks, but that really doesn't clear much up. The content of {{Persondata}}, {{Infobox person}}, etc should reasonably be automagically verifiable against the categories the article is put into. References supporting the assertions that cause those categories to be applied must be maintained if we are to avoid finding Koffi Annan in Category:Bollywood stars or something equally absurd. Will/does wikidata support checks to see that the categories are supported in the article, with references? Does it have a mechanism to support variances in sourcing policies between the different WP languages, or at least to attribute the sourcing to the WP language and article where the assertion originates? Vandalism isn't going to be disappearing anytime soon, after all. LeadSongDog come howl! 21:53, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    I do not really understand what you are talking about. This proposal is not about deleting {{Infobox person}} and afaik, there is no consistency check between persondata and categories. Actually, I do not see how a bot could use Persondata in their current form to know that Koffi Annan should not be categorized as a Bollywood star.
    Many bots have added from which Wikipedia the data originated in the source part of the statement. One has added the actual reference that was used in the article (but this is more difficult so less widely implemented at the moment). --07:16, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment There actually appears to be actually two issues:
    1. should we work toward removing Persondata now ?
    2. should we delete data from Persondata wtihout checkign with have their data in Wikidata first ?~
I am certainly in favour of 1), not of 2): if data in persondata match those in Wikidata, they can be deleted. It is a bit pointless that when we want to correct some data, we need to do it in two pages instead of one. But when there are gaps in Wikidata/mismatch with persondata, it should be checked before deleting anything. --Superzoulou (talk) 07:16, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
  • In that case, perhaps we should have a {{persondata moved to Wikdiata}} which can be applied (by humans or bots) once the data is verified as being in Wikidata. It should prevent further addition of Persondata, and enable us to check progress statistics. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 10:27, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
    Once the data is in Wikidata, I think we can simply delete it, so we would rather need {{Persondata inconsistent with Wikidata}}. At the same time, we should obviously stop creating new persondata here. That means, among other things, updating scripts like User talk:Dr pda/persondata.js by user:Dr pda so that they add the data to Wikidata instead of Wikipedia. -Superzoulou (talk) 13:23, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
    The major source of new Persondata templates, in my experience, is the Articles for Creation process, where reviewers are encouraged by the script to fill out a template. This should be fixed before any attempt at removing Persondata is made. APerson (talk!) 02:34, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
  • The one question that no one is answering is how Wikidata is being maintained? Another example I have just come across is Ed Vokes. Someone updated his birth and death dates on Wikipedia two months ago (16 May 2014). Although the editor updated Persondata but Wikidata still shows the old information. Periglio (talk) 17:21, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
    Have to agree with above comment to which there has been no answer as yet. There are numerous wiki's interfacing into wikidata and there need to be some means of ensuring that they are all kept in step for this to be useful information. Having had experience of the out of date information on wikidata for simple things such as Commons links, there need to be some rigorous system available before we can rely on wikidata information. Keith D (talk) 12:37, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Has this RfC actually achieved anything? The anti-persondata lobby argument argument seems to be based on fact that they don't use it, so lets delete it. As someone who has invested time in playing with the birth and death data, I'm worried that Wikidata will actually be maintained. Although not normally visible, from my experience PersonData normally gets updated when someone changes a date. At the moment, there is nothing in place to update Wikidata.
I would like to use WikiData but I need to convince myself that Wikidata is just as reliable as Persondata. I am working on a Wikidata extract and in the next few days will be generating some meaningful statistics comparing Persondata and Wikidata to see if there is a problem. All I ask is for Persondata to carry on, business as usual, until we have some actual facts in front of us. Periglio (talk) 13:11, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
This RFC hasn't achieved anything because we are going to be removing something beneficial for something that has significantly more problems and the fact that AWB and users are actively updating, maintaining and working on a monumental task while a more "meta" problem is still being worked through. If users don't use or need it, they don't have to, but I see no need to remove it when an equal or better alternative does not exist. ChrisGualtieri (talk) 04:44, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
Update: I have done an analysis (link here) on over 4000 records comparing Persondata and Wikidata. My first conclusion is that both databases have the same level of coverage, which is around 95% of the total population of notable people. My other conclusion is that Wikidata appears to have the edge on accuracy. The bulk of corrections I am making appear to be updating Persondata to match changes in the Wikipedia article. In short, I am switching my personal project to Wikidata and no longer extracting from Persondata. However, I still remain opposed to the removal of Persondata until SHORT DESCRIPTION is moved across to Wikidata. Periglio (talk) 19:40, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Support (Persondata removal)

  1. Support, unless anyone shows a temporary need to retain the data while it is copied to Wikidata. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 21:55, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
  2. Support as redundant, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 22:07, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
  3. Support as redundant. I've never added it to an article, never understood why. Sometimes have to fix work of others who insert inconsistent data. Montanabw(talk) 02:48, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
  4. Support per others. --AmaryllisGardener talk 03:27, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
  5. Support as long as it is implemented cleanly, (see discussion above) and the information therein is not lost. This sort of data should appear in Wikidata instead, and is not really "encyclopedic" in itself. But it could be a tool to populate indexes, categories, or add to author records - more the thing for Wikidata. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 06:05, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
  6. Support methodical transfer and removal as per others. Perhaps afterwards, focus should move to cleaning up infoboxes, and standardizing the dates, data, etc within them.—Msmarmalade (talk) 07:47, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    Expanding on that. The examples of people using Persondata that i've read in this ongoing discussion, seem to be personal. It doesn't seem to be used by the main body of Wikipedia users so I think it's not really appropriate to put in the article, albeit hidden. It would be more appropriate to outsource the data, or embed it in the actual article, rather than adding an extra step for editors to complete and maintain, for negligible useage.—Msmarmalade (talk) 07:04, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
  7. Support as redundant. The use to which this data is potentially put is dubious, and the fact that it isn't sync'd seems to make the whole thing pointless. I'd like to see the automated insertion by AWB switched off immediately, and its complete reversal (into 'systematically remove' mode and not just neutral) if the RfC goes through. -- Ohc ¡digame! 09:10, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
  8. Qualified support remove data that are identical on to those on Wikidata so that we do not need to maintain them at two places. Check and then remove the other ones. --Superzoulou (talk) 10:11, 21 July 2014 (UTC) + Superzoulou (talk) 11:01, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
  9. Support Finally the time has come. You always had the highlights and details in infobox, there was no need of persondata like others may have thought as well. OccultZone (TalkContributionsLog) 10:44, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
  10. Support as redundant, and an annoyance to maintain. These can also be a pain to fix when disambiguating links because the link is there, but invisible. bd2412 T 13:33, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
  11. Support I like the idea of using a tool designed to keep track of this sort of data to keep track of this sort of data. Zell Faze (talk) 14:04, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
  12. Support, though make sure that the data we are removing already exists in Wikidata first. Cbrown1023 talk 17:45, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
  13. Support eventual removal - as and when we are confident it's been migrated to Wikidata. Removal on a case-by-case basis when migrated would be reasonable, and then deprecating the system. Andrew Gray (talk) 19:53, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    Andrew Gray, Wikidata will not import anything but |SHORT DESCRIPTION=. A bot has already imported this data and will run again before Persondata's removal. Bgwhite (talk) 19:59, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
  14. Support The only reason I include persondata in my new stubs is because they otherwise got inserted with incorrect or incomplete data. I have never used the persondata and I believe it is redundant now with Wikidata - maybe someone could run some numbers on the accuracy of persondata vs Wikidata for 100 random biographies? depending on the results we could just rip them all out. Alternatively, we could agree to no longer insert persondata and manually delete whenever we check Wikidata and see the data exists on Wikidata. Jane (talk) 09:10, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
    Comment: I first create a stub on English Wikipedia, then I create the Wikidata item (if it doesn't already exist). When I create a new Wikidata item it imports the persondata so I don't need to type it over. I would not want to see persondata disappear before my workflow changes (i.e. first make improve WD item, then create stub from that). Now WD lets me import the stub, but so far I can't import the WD item to WP. Jane (talk) 13:04, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
  15. Support as redundant, Since I don't use WikiData I find PersonalData to be absolutely useless anyway. –Davey2010(talk) 18:58, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
  16. Support separating plumbing and porcelain. Metadata should be distinct from the text which generates an article as much as possible. It doesn't need to be torn down root and branch but we should not be adding responsibilities to persondata and we should be transitioning to Wikidata over time. Protonk (talk) 18:31, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
  17. Support when all appropriate persondata has been slurped by Wikidata. Until then, we should leave it to carry on its quiet existence at the bottom of our edit screens. — This, that and the other (talk) 10:51, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
  18. Support, after migration is over. The argument about persondata being easier to use is not really convincing, it is rather an argument for simplification of Wikidata APIs, but even now WD looks much better. Max Semenik (talk) 22:33, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
  19. Support per the various arguments already stated with the qualification that a decent amount of time for data migration be granted, again, per the previous comments above. Safiel (talk) 16:17, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
  20. Support - if data such as this is required, it can be maintained at wikidata. PhilKnight (talk) 13:45, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
  21. Support – with the creation of a bot to run through articles, removing Persondata from those where it matches the Infobox and tagging those with diffs for manual processing. Those without Infoboxes should be given one except when only the name is present in the Persondata and it matches the article title. I'm assuming there is nothing inherently harder about scraping from Infobox vs. Persondata for use in Wikidata, etc. Not having to worry about checking the Persondata for agreement with the article all the time will be a nice little improvement to the editing experience. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 21:11, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
  22. Support removal, but not urgently. I've never much liked having "content" that readers of the encyclopedia cannot easily see. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:01, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
  23. Support removal. It does not form part of the encyclopaedia, since it isn't visible to readers. Yes it may help with the Wikidata project further down the line but, frankly, that's that project's problem. Our project is building an encyclopaedia and PersonData does not, and never has, contributed to that. WaggersTALK 13:43, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
  24. Support removal, but delay for a limited time to allow import of short descriptions--if that process isn't complete yet. (A bot doing the removals could also do the imports where necessary, and log conflicts. This shouldn't take a good deal of time, as there has already been a bot pass to record short descriptions. PS: Nice analysis, above, Periglio! --j⚛e deckertalk 01:22, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
  25. Support after cross-check and incorporation into Wikidata. Persondata is now obsolete and redundant. Renata (talk) 00:17, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
  26. Support this appears to be redundant and therefore unnecessary. Fraulein451 (talk) 16:05, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
  27. Support. An excellent and laudable project that is now superseded by Wikidata. Ironholds (talk) 10:43, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
  28. Support I find persondata to be very rarely accurate and have often thought it should be nuked even before we had wikidata. Now that we have wikidata to take care of things and I feel would likely be much more accurate then we should deprecate persondata. -DJSasso (talk) 13:02, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  29. Support. It always was just more edit window clutter anyway. SpinningSpark 19:39, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Oppose (Persondata removal)

  1. Oppose: First of all, the claim that Persondata are currently not being used by anybody is wrong. Tools that evaluate Persondata exist and are being used. Secondly, Wikidata cannot be taken seriously at this stage as its data (beyond the interwiki links) are simply not reliable. As elaborated in this discussion, Wikidata looks like a Wikipedia from 2003 without any references. A Wikipedia article, however, combines both, literature and references that backup the data given in the Persondata template. At the current state of affairs, the Wikipedia articles and their Persondata records should be considered as a source, not as a target for Wikidata. --AFBorchert (talk) 08:32, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    And another observation: I just took a first look at one of the dumps of wikidata. They are as ugly as hell as they are embedding JSON within XML. To extract person data from Wikipedia dumps is pretty simple (and frequently done). This fun will be all gone when you have to turn to Wikidata dumps. --AFBorchert (talk) 08:43, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    Wikidata does not contain enough references, but English Persondata do not contain any, so I do not really understand what your point is. The real question would be which is more reliable between birth/death place/date in Wikidata and in English Persondata. I see no argument one way or the other.
    German Persondata appear to be more used than the English ones, but the discussion for removing them should be done in Wikipedia in German. Does any German tool use English Persondata ? --Superzoulou (talk) 09:56, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    @Superzoulou: Persondata are embedded in articles that (hopefully) provide references to backup this data. Hence, you have both, data and references in one place very close to each other. If the article is updated in this regard, the persondata can be easily adapted in one edit. At Wikidata we have mostly a heap of data without any references. This does not help us and is surely no replacement for the current Persondata. I refered to the German discussions as de-wp as this was debated there half a year ago. I think it is always worthwile to look into other similar projects and their discussions. And indeed the Persondata were introduced at de-wp and later imported to en-wp. It is surely a predecessor to Wikidata and at some time it may be envisioned to deprecate it but currently I would see it as a great tool that helps in the transition to Wikidata which is not yet sufficiently mature to replace it in my opinion. --AFBorchert (talk) 11:54, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    @AFBorchert: English Persondata are mostly meant for bots that are not smart enough to read the rest of the article, and for them references elsewhere in the page are not really useful. It is true that people who maintain the template can check the consistency between Persondata and the rest of the article, but I wonder how many people do it by hands. Bots can also check the consistency of the data between Wikidata and Wikipedia. --Superzoulou (talk) 13:17, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    @Superzoulou: I do it “by hand” at en-wp as well as de-wp. And indeed the consistency check between Wikidata and Wikipedia is an important advantage that would get lost if we would give up Persondata too early. With very few exceptions, I do not edit data records corresponding to Persondata at Wikidata as it is no fun for me to click through all the Javascript-based forms. Wikitext can be edited far more conveniently (and if necessary even by an editor of my choice like Vim), I do not want to waste my time with clicking through a myriad of forms. --AFBorchert (talk) 13:28, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    @AFBorchert: Consistency of Wikidata can also be checked against infoboxes, and even against the article's lead (Wikidata items about people are marked as such so which avoids the occasional topic mismatch between the infobox and the article proper). --Superzoulou (talk) 14:44, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    @Superzoulou: Many biographic articles do not have infoboxes but Persondata (example). --AFBorchert (talk) 20:05, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    @AFBorchert: I know, and I would suggest that we should start the removal with pages with infoboxes. But the data can also be parsed from the article's lead (admittedly, only as an occasional bot task, not like permanent check thourgh templates). Superzoulou
    @AFBorchert: concerning the ugly dumps, the new JSON version will hopefully make things easier [38]. --Superzoulou (talk) 15:28, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
  2. Oppose (from wikiproject templates): until wikidata is brought online, persondata needs to stay in order to populate wikidata with the largest source we have of data on article subjects. I know that AWB automatically copies information from infoboxes to persondata, so there is obviously significant overlap on those two, and I am absolutely convinced that persondata's usefulness will soon expire. But we need to keep this on enwiki, up until a bot goes through and copies the persondata entries to wikidata (just like they did with interwiki links), and no later; nobody else has nearly the comprehensive coverage of biographies that would facilitate that transfer. VanIsaacWScont 09:28, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    @Vanisaac: In what way is Wikidata not "online"? Are we confident that Persondata is reliable (accurate and up-to-date) enough to be copied to Wikidata? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 08:58, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
    It's not online in the same way that Obamacare is not online: Yeah, there's a lot of the substantive stuff that's there now, and the different features are getting implemented roughly when they are supposed to, but there's still more to come as time progresses, and it's going to take some effort by people to get to the level of coverage that the system was designed to have. VanIsaacWScont 10:04, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
    @Vanisaac: So you object to deprecating persondata in favour of Wikidata, even though Wikidata does everything that persondata does, and much more besides, because Wikdiata will do even yet more in the future? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 10:34, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
    Please go back and actually read what I wrote. I object to removing persondata before it's been copied over to wikidata, since enwiki's persondata is likely to be one of the most robust and comprehensive sources for wikidata. That's what "we need to keep this... until a bot goes through and copies the persondata to wikidata" means. Since that has not yet happened, I oppose deprecating persondata at this time. There might also be an argument for keeping it supported after that time, if the transfer bot remains in operation, so that it can be used as a backdoor wikidata upload. But without any details about the wikidata transfer bot, that's merely speculation. VanIsaacWScont 13:03, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
    Yes, I understood that from your original comment, but in the light of it, and of your more recent comments, I cannot make sense of your "until wikidata is brought online" clause. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 14:23, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
  3. Oppose — this seems slightly premature, and the linked discussion from Wikidata seems to indicate that they would not like to see Persondata nuked just yet. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 18:26, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    • How about nuking it as soon as Wikidata has it under control? bd2412 T 19:09, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
      • That wouldn't be too problematic, but it's a horse before the cart problem. (Wait a second...) Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 20:05, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
        • Titoxd, Wikidata is not importing any data except for |SHORT DESCRIPTION=. This has already been imported via a bot approved in May 2013. In the linked discussion, the Wikidata people were fine or don't care, only two non-wikidata people objected. One of whom uses the data for their personal amusement.
          • Would Wikidata be interested in eventually importing other Persondata fields? Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 20:39, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
  4. Oppose. The proposer has not provided any English-language documentation demonstrating that Wikidata is, or soon will be, a fit successor to Persondata. Adding to my opposition, I have become active at wikidata to try to get this matter addressed, and I find a low level of activity and only a few editors over there seem to be interested in improving quality. I believe wikidata lacks a critical mass of editors to create reliable information and should be ignored until they prove their ability to provide reasonably reliable information. The only area they seem to be doing an adequate job in is interlanguage Wikipedia links.Jc3s5h (talk) 19:47, 21 July 2014 (UTC), Remark extended 1709, 11 August 2014 (UT)
    • Jc3s5h, Nobody currently uses the data contained in Persondata. How can there be a successor to something nobody uses? People do use Wikidata and DBpedia. Bgwhite (talk) 20:26, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
      • The proposal uses Wikidata as partial justification for the removal, but there is no link to any documentation about the part of Wikidata that would cover people. As for nobody using Persondata, there seems to be some disagreement about that. Jc3s5h (talk) 20:51, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    • @Jc3s5h: Wikidata entries for people include a |label= property, which is the equivalent of |SHORTDESCRIPTION=, but also multilingual. They also have |Also known as=, |date of birth=, |date of death=, |place of birth= and |place of death=. Not to mention dozens and dozens of other properties, not available in Persondata, such as |gender= and |VIAF identifier=. See, for example d:Q17279725. Each property can be programatically displayed in Wikipedia templates such as infoboxes, succession boxes, etc. - unlike Persondata. In short, Wikidata does everything that persondata does, and much more besides. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 09:26, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
  5. Oppose. I am just using Persondata to populate some missing birth/death dates in Wikidata; there are hundreds of thousands of statements that can be used on Wikidata. And if Wikidata were fully "populated", there is no reason to run bots to sync; the template can automatically show Wikidata information if no local data is set, and even add the page to a maintenance category if both is the case, so the information can be merged on Wikidata, and the local data can be removed. Once that is done everywhere, we can think about removing Persondata. Not before. --Magnus Manske (talk) 22:44, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    1. @Magnus Manske: I fear a misunderstanding; Persondata is not displayed in this wiki. When do you anticipate finishing your bot run? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 08:42, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
      1. I am aware that it is not displayed here. I have only just started with the bot; there are many cases (e.g. "fuzzy" dates) that I am not sure how to handle yet. IMO it would be beyond strange to destroy data in the Persondata template unless we can be sure it has been properly synchronized with Wikidata. --Magnus Manske (talk) 09:13, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
        1. @Magnus Manske: Thanks for the prompt response; I was referring to your "the template can automatically show Wikidata information" comment. Are you confident that the persondata you are importing is accurate and up-to-date? Do you check it against visible values in the infobox, or lede? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 09:26, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
          1. @Pigsonthewing: Probably the wrong place to discuss my bot's internals, but I also use the Infobox, and the German Personendaten template; I import the highest precision value into Wikidata, with "source". --Magnus Manske (talk) 12:18, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
  6. Oppose People do use persondata. I am using the data extracted from Persondata on my own website to generate facts eg "Who is 50 years old today". Although my use may be regarded as trivial,it shows that Persondata is available for serious research - births and deaths of over a million notable people. A lot of people are stating that Persondata is not used, but on what evidence? Extraction tools exist, who knows what people do with the article they download?
    My second reason for opposing is that based on my own experience, Wikidata does not provide a reliable alternative for birth and death dates. Admittedly, there appears to be an editor who updates Wikidata death dates as soon as they happen, but new articles and fixes to old articles do not get onto Wikidata. Someone editing an article would not necessarily think that they need to fix Wikidata as well.
    Finally, again from my experience, Persondata is pretty accurate. I expanded my own software to validate the extract, comparing dates against categories for example. There were only two or three thousand entries, from 1.1 million articles, where persondata had vandalised or out of date data and I am currently fixing those! Periglio (talk) 23:38, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
    @Periglio: Why are the results of a "Who is 50 years old today" query on Wikidata not acceptable? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 08:39, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
    @Pigsonthewing:Because I would miss Joe Gulla who is 50 tomorrow (at time of writing in my time zone). My point is that no one has explained how Wikidata gets updated when an average editor adds a date to an article. I remain opposed until I know Wikidata is not just a snapshot at the time the original bot ran. Periglio (talk) 21:12, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
    @Periglio:. At the moment, I do not think this sort of update is done systematically. But again, is it done for Persondata ? If so, it should be possible to update the system so that it updates Wikidata instead. --Superzoulou (talk) 09:46, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
    @Superzoulou: Persondata is updated manually, but will normally be seen by editors updating the article. The editor is not necessarily aware of Wikidata so I can see a situation where Wikidata will be out of sync with Wikipedia. This is a general problem for Wikidata. There will be more people actively maintaining accuracy on Wikipedia, and there does not appear to be anything in place to keep Wikidata in sync. Periglio (talk) 15:48, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
    @Periglio: Persondata are not very visible either: you need to either edit the very last section, or the whole page and scroll all the way down to the end of the page. I doubt many users do it. With the Visual Editor, it might be even worse. Do we have any data about how many people update Persondata ? Without really looking for it, I just found an article (Otto Zdansky) with Persondata out of synch with the article's body. For the (few ?) experienced contributors, who update Persondata, I think we could advertise more Wikidata instead. --Superzoulou (talk) 20:46, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
  7. Oppose for now - This proposal seems a bit premature. Once Magnus and others are finished utilizing Persondata, then we should remove it, not before. Kaldari (talk) 21:20, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
  8. Oppose - Wikidata is not able to adequately run the data and use it in a meaningful way or respond as flexibly as Enwiki users have made it - Wikidata is not equal or better than our current system and is a very technical part of the projects that seems unable to keep pace or integrate efficiently to make Persondata truly obsolete or needlessly redundant, yet. ChrisGualtieri (talk) 04:46, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
  9. Oppose - I do not see a legitimate reason for the removal of Persondata. It is assuredly helpful for those who are collecting large amounts of data, and allows a way to index the individuals. Currently wikidata is not ready to be the single source of this information and I think we should revisit this at a later time. Jab843 (talk) 02:50, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
  10. Oppose - Persondata is a useful component for editors who wish to add data which would not always be presented in an article (especially if there is no box) including variations in the name (or spelling thereof), additional names (stage names, pen names), exact date of birth and death (rather than just the year), exact geographical locations (including any useful details of village, municipality, region, country) in addition to those specified in the article. I have no idea how I can add such information to Wikidata when writing a new biography -- or indeed how to access and update Wikidata in order to update incorrect data in existing biographies.--Ipigott (talk) 06:12, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
  11. Oppose because of Magnus' project, if nothing else; we mustn't delete persondata as redundant when it still has substantial amounts of unique information. Moreover, Ipigott makes a great point; this is useful for people who are familiar with Wikipedia but not with Wikidata. Perhaps we could deprecate its addition to articles, saying "If you want to add this type of metadata, please create a Wikidata entry", but not remove it from pages that already have it. Nyttend (talk) 18:39, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
  12. Oppose because WikiData is totally unsourced. Most death date has not any references. Christian75 (talk) 18:34, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
    This is true, but part of bigger problem. Although Wikidata largely references Wikipedia for birth and death dates, I am finding that Wikipedia rarely has a date of birth reference. I have raised the issue at the biography project Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Biography#Birth_date_citations although not many comments have been made. Periglio (talk) 20:23, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
  13. Oppose Premature. Alberto Fernández Fernández (talk) 19:01, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
  14. Oppose There are a number of en.Wikipedia-only programs which read Persondata fields, but do not read Wikidata. They probably could be rewritten to read Wikidata, but others above say it's not well-formatted. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:26, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
  15. Oppose This should not happen unless and until Wikidata is shown, and accepted to be, reliable and maintained with appropriate controls to ensure that it stays accurate. S a g a C i t y (talk) 07:16, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
  16. Oppose, not convinced that there is a problem with keeping it around for a while longer until more people are accustomed to working with Wikidata. —Kusma (t·c) 07:35, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
  17. Oppose: Premature, even WikiData doesn't want this to happen (yet), nominator's claims are false, and most of the "support" !votes either are predicated on such false assumptions or basically amount to WP:IDONTLIKEIT or WP:IDONTKNOWIT, some quite explicitly ("Since I don't use WikiData I find PersonalData to be absolutely useless anyway", which also misconstrues the difference between WikiData and this metadata). Basically a lot of people who don't actually know what's going on are saying "get rid of something I don't understand!" How about, no. At least not yet. When WikiData has sourcing standards (at least for material they get from Wikipedia) that are reliable enough for Wikipedia, then maybe we can move this metadata over there.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:57, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  18. Oppose As premature. Until Wikidata provides a stable, referenced and suitable alternative, persondata should stay where it is.  Philg88 talk 08:18, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  19. While IU think it can use some more standardization, I think it's useful to have on the page. (And by the way, it is also a good marker for biographical articles - I used it to allow me to exclude all biographical articles in stub searches a few times.) עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 12:51, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  20. Oppose for the reasons given by AFBorchert, Magnus Manske and SMcCandlish. --Atlasowa (talk) 19:53, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Wikidata person import faulty

Whatever process for importing personal data into Wikidata from Wikipedia appears to be faulty. For example, Francis Bacon says he was born born January 22, 1561, which obviously must be a Julian calendar date, since the Gregorian calendar wasn't created until 1583. But the Wikidata item (Q37388) says his birth date is January 22, 1561, and claims the date was imported from Wikipedia. So who or what is doing this importing and do they have any clue about how calendars work? Jc3s5h (talk) 20:25, 7 August 2014‎ (UTC)

I will just add that Francis Bacon is not just a one off incident. My analysis has found the same happening with the Russian calendar and a few where the bot picked up a inaccurate date that was not the date being reference. Another example Lekain where Wikidata has two dates, which may be Gregorian related. There is a lot of tidying up that needs to be done. Periglio (talk) 20:14, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Where did you report this issue? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 11:00, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
Firstly, I note that our article does not mark the date as Julian. I see that you have already raised the issue at wikidata:Wikidata:Administrators' noticeboard#KLBot2 creating incorrect birth dates, but for the benefit of others, the Wikidata edit in question was made by User:KLBot2 on 14 June 2013. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 11:00, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Should the MediaWiki software be modified to include an option for specialized (such as blacklist / whitelist) blocks?

Would a system of specialized blocks be helpful? Dustin (talk) 02:41, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

Note: This was partly discussed beforehand at Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)/Archive 14#Specialized blocks, and I have decided to bring my proposal here. Please read that page first, though. I have started this as an RfC because I consider it to be of significant importance.

(The following has been copied from the idea lab)

The following is a proposed change to the MediaWiki software.

I don't know if something like this has already been proposed, but a brief search on my part didn't turn up something like this, so I will put forth my ideas. Here is my possible proposal, but I am going to give it here first just so we can discuss it and refine the idea beforehand. I would propose that we modify the MediaWiki software as to allow for specialized blocks. Blocks currently only have two options: a block on editing all pages except for a user's own talk page, or a block on all pages, including the user's own talk page. In my new "specialized" block system, there would be many more options.

  1. An administrator could block a user for disruption from editing either a specific, individual page, or the block could apply to a selection of pages. In cases where a user cannot be trusted to follow a topic-ban or does not feel that he/she can follow his/her restrictions, then an administrator could simply block that user from editing a list of manually selected pages which are "at risk".
  2. An administrator could block a user from editing all pages (minus manually chosen exceptions) that have a certain prefix. For example, if one user was being overly disruptive on SPI pages (and I am not talking about vandalism), then an administrator could block that user from editing all pages starting with "Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/".
  3. If there were situations where it was desired that an editor requesting an unblock edit one page apart from his/her talk page similar to this recent instance (but where the user could not be yet trusted to stay on only his/her talk page and the one exception page), then the block could be modified to ignore that one page.

I do not know how we would implement this because it is necessary that someone would develop this feature, but that is something to consider at a later point. I just want to know the opinions and/or ideas of editors. Dustin (talk) 02:42, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

  • I support the general idea, though the specifics of what kind of granularity we want is up for grabs. In particular, one thing I definitely would find useful is the ability to block IP ranges (perhaps as large as /8) from specific pages. Currently the only way to do this is with an edit filter, which impairs performance. -- King of ♠ 02:50, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
    Actually, what Graeme Bartlett said makes a whole lot of sense. And it should be possible to select an IP range as the user to be restricted by the filter. -- King of ♠ 03:43, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose because it would require development support from the WMF. These are essentially topic-bans with supporting block. Robert McClenon (talk) 02:52, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose The discussions on blocks have been extensive and the community has been pretty further options are required or needed. No support from me. Sorry.--Mark Miller (talk) 02:59, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
    • You obviously have neither looked at the previous discussion like I suggested, nor at the links at that discussion. Back in 2005, nine years ago, there was another proposal like this one, and it received over 80% approval. I know that was a long time ago, but why should we not reconsider? Dustin (talk) 03:04, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
      • I don't give a crap about that as you don't give a crap about other discussions so just stop complaining and let this go to the community now. You said your piece. If that isn't enough, you failed.--Mark Miller (talk) 03:08, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Having this discussion here somewhat clouds the purpose of the discussion. If the goal is simply to come up with a technical specification of what such a system would look like, would be a better location. A discussion here will inevitably involve local policy implications and we need to have some concrete idea of what the feature's capabilities are before such a discussion could reasonably proceed. Mr.Z-man 04:20, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
I would wonder if this is actually a local issue for Wikipedia as proposed by Dustin. I may think that dragging a discussion from 9 years ago, into this discussion isn't even relevant today but hey....lets let this go its course and see what happens.--Mark Miller (talk) 04:27, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Support As I said on the idea lab this could be an edit filter just applying to one user (or IP). When optimised so that the filter only ran for 1 user there would be no performance impact on the rest. There would be plenty of fine grain here, denying uploads, moves, use of interaction banned users talk pages and so on. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 07:28, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Support However, like Graeme Bartlett I would suggest to go into the direction of edit filters that apply to individual users or IP ranges. --AFBorchert (talk) 08:41, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Not persuaded that usefulness outweighs the effort and complexity. For logged-in editors, this idea is a non-starter for me. If a particular user is subject to a topic or interaction ban, then either they stick to the terms of their editing restrictions, or they get blocked entirely. A user who lacks the maturity or restraint to adhere to an editing restriction (and, for that matter, who edited in a manner sufficiently disruptive to earn such a restriction in the first place) doesn't need additional technical constraints, they need to stop editing until they can control themselves.
    For IP addresses, I can see some argument for this as a way to reduce collateral damage (particularly when placing rangeblocks), but I suspect it will be more complicated than it's worth. Semi-protection already exists as a solution, though it does affect all IP editors of an article. (It's a bit blunt as a tool, but we already tolerate even long-term semi-protection of articles where warranted by circumstances.)
    From an admin standpoint, I can see this becoming rather complicated to manage and track. If I block an IP range from editing a particular article, does it show up in the IP's block log, or in the article's logs, or both, or neither? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:52, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose This is a solution looking for a problem. It introduces complexity where none is needed. If a user will not follow restrictions then a conventional block will work. Either a user is willing to follow community expectations or they are not. Specialized blocks would result in gaming of the system. Chillum 18:06, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
  • I wonder: Could selective whitelisting be used to keep someone blocked, but make it possible for them to clean up their own copyvios on specific, identified pages? That might be desirable. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:49, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
    This goes to the point I made above. If we can't trust someone to follow editing restrictions without building a technical wall around their editing, I can't imagine we would trust them to perform a task requiring careful judgement like cleaning up copyvios—especially where they were the ones who introduced the copyright violations or plagiarism in the first place. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 19:03, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
    It's not unusual to see a request for someone to be fully unblocked so that they can help with copyright cleanup. That requires a lot more babysitting than providing access only to specified pages would. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:16, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Support the idea, assuming it is technically possible. This would make more sense than existing practice in a number of areas. In the case of 3RR violations, for instance, if an editor is causing problems by edit warring on an article then our only option for stopping them is to prevent them from editing every single page, anywhere, even though they are only causing problems on one page. It would make more sense to prevent them from editing the one page where the edit warring is taking place. Hut 8.5 10:54, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - this would allow bans to be more-easily enforced, as well as a list of situations where it would be useful regarding blocked users (e.g {{2nd chance}}, unblock discussions in locations other than the user's own talk page). עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 19:56, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Support Seems like this would be a valuable addition to the admin toolbox. Toohool (talk) 01:18, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Support, ignoring the technical design requirements of which I know very little, but I think any idea worth implementing is worth doing the technical work. I'm a little concerned about difficulty using this for "broadly-construed" topic bans, but maybe we can implement a way to block users from editing pages in a particular category. It's a good idea, anyway. However, I also agree with what another user said above that if an editor can't play by community rules then full blocks and/or community bans are coming anyway. Ivanvector (talk) 15:41, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. I like the idea behind this, in principle. Calidum Talk To Me 01:31, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. This is not a good idea at all. Bans exist both to prevent disruptions to the community, and to give infringing editors the opportunity to remain a part of the community. They do this by abiding by the restrictions of their ban. If they are unable to do this, we gave them the WP:ROPE, and they have chosen by their actions to set themselves as being outside the community. Blocks are for those people who chose not to be a part of the community, either by contempt for the bans that the community has imposed on their editing, or by simply breaking obvious rules, eg vandalism. There is no "partial" being a part of this community. You either abide by the rules, or you don't get to participate here. Selective blocks just prevent those people who consider themselves outside of this community to demonstrate to us their decision to stand apart by violating their ban. Selective blocks open up a huge pandora's box of wikilawyering possibilities, and do nothing to promote the community. This is just plain a bad idea. VanIsaacWScont 01:46, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
    • Using the word "strong" doesn't give your !vote any more weight (I don't see why "strong support" and "strong suppose" are ever used), but that being aside from the point, I don't think you considered proposal #3. Dustin (talk) 16:31, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
      • The word "strong" indicates that it is a categorical objection or support of the proposal, rather than, say, a preferential or logistical consideration behind a person's position. And since this is a !vote, of course every !vote is weighted; that's the entire point of it being a !vote. Even though I don't understand how situation #3 can even come about - if we can't trust someone whose contribution history is logged in one place (so it's easy to revert) to have access to more than one page, how could their actions on that one page possibly instill enough trust to allow them access to any more of the project? - #3 can still be accomplished with the current permission scheme by simply copying that article content to their talk page, where they can edit away. VanIsaacWScont 18:59, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Alternate proposal

Not sure if this is a proper format for an RfC, but here we go. Admins(explicitly not EFMs) are now permitted to make an edit filter that can block a user from editing certain pages while allowing them to edit others. This is to be treated as seriously as a block(admins are explicitly not to use these for TBANs unless a user made a TBAN infraction normally warranting a block.) For example, if a user requests to have their block discussed at ANI, that user would be unblocked and the filter modified so that the appealing user is blocked from editing any page except ANI. (To avoid confusion that would otherwise arise, admins would create one or two filters that would contain the entire system for blocking edits, something like: ((user_name==appeallingeditor) & (article_prefixedtext !='Wikipedia:Administrator's noticeboard/Incidents')) | ((user_name==TBANnededitor) & (article_prefixedtext =='ContentousArticle' | ...)) then block action, which would prevent appeallingeditor from editing any page but Wikipedia:Administrator's noticeboard/Incidents, and prevent TBANnededitor from editing ContentousArticle. (I'm sure someone can come up with some better code, I was just messing around) Cheers and Thanks, L235-Talk Ping when replying 21:31, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

  • I see that you got more into the code than I ever did... at least from the way it appears, I think I would support this proposal because it would allow for stronger enforcement by administrators, and it would meet some of the goals of my main proposal above. Dustin (talk) 21:44, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support in theory, but in practice, this may end up causing more trouble than it's worth if the number of edits which hit the EF condition limit is too hig (right now, it's at 0.77%, but it occasionally gets above 5%). עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 08:19, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Well the hitting the EF limits is why I suggested getting special support for edit filter per user or IP in the code. This would make it very efficient, as it would only run for the affected user. Graeme Bartlett (talk)

RfC: Should the hidden navbar be removed from the base Stub and WikiProject banner templates?

Should the CSS-hidden navbar be removed from the base Stub (1.8 million pages) and WikiProject banner (5.5 million pages) templates? -- Netoholic @ 19:16, 30 July 2014 (UTC) (re-signing to keep from being archived early -- Netoholic @ 01:46, 15 August 2014 (UTC))


  • Remove - This {{navbar}} template call was added to the WikiProject banner back in 2008, but then immediately hidden by CSS (display:none) in {{WPBannerMeta/core}}. The same thing exists in the Stub base template {{Asbox}}. There is a CSS trick which editors can add to their custom CSS files, but this trick hasn't been publicized and is in use by only a handful of already experienced users. Even though it is hidden by CSS, it still adds a few hundred characters to every stubbed or bannered talk page download (and pages with multiple banners add it multiple times). The navbar template transclusion itself is called every time a page is saved (which for talk pages can be alot). Now, normally, we don't worry about performance, but in the template design space we do have to weigh the costs vs benefits, and since these templates are so widely used, I think every small efficiency we can do deserves consideration. The people that know about this hidden trick or would use it, are also experienced enough to get by without it on the rare occasions they need to edit a particular stub or WikiProject template. -- Netoholic @ 19:16, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Keep and add the code to view the links to MediaWiki:Group-templateeditor.css. I'm basing this on the discussions about this I found (Template talk:Asbox/Archive 2#Navbar & Template talk:Asbox/Archive 4#Why the navbar ?) which were sufficient enough to convince me it is a good idea to have the links. I'd be happy to brief over other discussions if you care to link them. Also, I'm not sure if you've notified the people involved in the previous discussions (if you even found all of the discussions, which I'm sure I haven't and don't expect you have), a quick group ping (MSGJXenoAmaltheaTheDJHappy-melonTopbananaGrutnessWOSlinker) should do it. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 14:36, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Neutral. A few facts I can throw at this discussion; firstly the hidden navbar edit links are used by 8 Wikipedians. Per WP:PERF, we should be prioritising pretty much everything over efficiency; there is some discussion here about the impact of this feature - despite the implementation being truly and absolutely awful, it's trivial in the bigger picture of Wikimedia ops. On balance, if there's a better way to do it, we should. If not, we keep it as is. - TB (talk) 09:48, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Remove. It was never really necessary to have this on stub templates in the first place. As Netoholic points out, if you're editing stub templates, chances are you've got enough nous here to know how to do that without having to resort to the embedded links. Similarly, if you're editing a wikiproject's banner, chances are you know what you're doing. I've added the necessary coding in monobook to be able to use them myself, but I can't remember the last time I've actually edited a template this way - it's only the barest fraction quicker than simply editing direct from the template's page. Having the links there, if anything, encourages people to edit the templates - and while editing article pages should be encourages, making changes to heavily-used templates is beyond the scope of "be bold", since it can have far-reaching consequences. So no real benefit, and potential for trouble = ditch it. Grutness...wha? 11:34, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment - I don't know enough about this template and its uses to opine about it specifically, but I would like to make a general comment. WP:PERF tells regular editors not to worry about performance because it's beyond their ability to do much about it, since their permissions have been deliberately limited to prevent project-wide impact. While it's true that the "IT professionals" or others with special permissions may be needed to make changes such as the one being discussed, they rely on us to decided which features are important. More and more readers are viewing Wikipedia pages on mobile devices, and I've been reading a lot of comments from editors about page load times on these devices. If a template is being called a gazillion times and is rarely used, I think that efficiency should be considered as well as utility. —Anne Delong (talk) 10:31, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Show article quality to readers?

What do people think of showing article quality measurements besides GA and FA to readers on the main article page? It's useful information for readers, as it gives them a rough estimate of how "good" the article actually is. For example, I know I would be more likely to read a B-class article than a start-class article when browsing, or I'd be more likely to trust an A-class article for accuracy than even a GA-class article. StringTheory11 (t • c) 05:41, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

The last discussion on A-class on this board is at WP:Village_pump_(proposals)/Archive_110#Restrict_A_class_usage. That has a variety of viewpoints to get us started. The thing that struck me was: no one talked with the people who work in A-class. We could ask them if you like. - Dank (push to talk) 09:52, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
I never understood why A-class articles don't get a topicon; I suppose a possible reason is that readers can surmise that FA>GA, but not necessarily that A>GA, which seems to me to be a valid but weird system. As for lower ratings, it just creates loads of work updating it, not to mention that often ratings are out of date, or some projects have (for whatever reason, whether specialised criteria or more regular reviews) different ratings.
Another issue is that some articles are A-class quality but will never get a formal review; this puts Hurricane and MILHIST articles at an unfair advantage. I don't support displaying A-class unless these issues can be worked out. BethNaught (talk) 10:21, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
If you are talking about adding the icons of B, C, Start class to the articles just like we have done for GA, FA, then I agree with this proposal. OccultZone (TalkContributionsLog) 12:09, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
In my experience, these quality tags are so randomly and carelessly assigned that they are typically all but useless. I've repeatedly had "start" class tags slammed on articles of my own that were perfectly sourced, perfectly correct and perfectly relevant, albeit relatively short, by drive-by taggers who had evidently hardly even read the article. I'd be strongly opposed to giving these tags higher visibility than they have now, unless we also introduce some measure of accountability for the taggers and an expectation that quality tags should regularly come with an explicit and testable assessment of the relevant criteria somewhere. Fut.Perf. 12:38, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
I have to agree with Future Perfect, most assessments are not worth the electrons they are printed with. In large part this is because the majority of assessments are performed by "reviewers" operating at a rate of 4 to 8 articles/minute in 50 to 200 article bursts. At these rate of speed, it is not reasonable to assume the reviewer has even loaded the article being assessed, let alone that the articles being assessed were read. --Allen3 talk 12:49, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
Also agree - most reviewers seem to judge only on the length of the article and whether it has refs etc. There is rarely any concept that some subjects only need (or, especially in history, can ever have) short articles. Johnbod (talk) 14:16, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Stub-class is noted on the page already. Start-class through B-class are essentially unstandardized and aren't helpful to display. A-class could certainly be displayed, but it's such a niche rating (product of a process used almost exclusively by a set of WikiProjects I could count on one hand) that there has never been sufficient motivation to do so. --erachima talk 12:44, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
I think this is a good idea, but only if the classes are more standardized. Specifically, for each class rating, I'd like to see at least an explanatory edit summary, stating why the article's class was changed. This could take the form of explaining issues the reviewer had with the article, for example. For controversial situations I'd like to see a quality scale assessment on the talk page, going by the criteria for each class. But for that we'd need to set down clear criteria saying what C-class is, what Start-class is, etc. Currently I don't see any list of criteria below B-class.
I also think that A-class is a bit weird honestly. There is this requirement of having a review, but that is only practical for the largest WikiProjects. And even so, you may not get a review, because you don't get the sticker of prestige. And who aims for A-class as a goal in itself, instead of as a stop on the gruelling road to FA?
I am intrigued by the B+-class label. WP Maths, WP Stats, and WP Elements use it (there may be more). But I find the part of it on WP:1.0/A stating "Possible good article nominee" very weird. It defines a class in terms of another class and kind of reduces B+ to just "ready for GA". Does it usually get independent usage?
I kind of see the point of fine distinctions like we have now, but without clear criteria they aren't going to be useful. I submit that there's really only five really important levels at the moment: Stub/Start/B/GA/FA. The first two are a mess or very short. B is the first level where you have a coherent piece that really adequately describes the topic – I don't see the point of C when the point where an article is substantial is very subjective, and the rest is similar to Start.
A has clearly defined criteria, but is rarely used. I get the impression it's not found to be useful, and its position between GA and FA is perhaps counterintuitive. Perhaps A might be useful if you have distinctions between "FA in content level" and "FA in style level" (I used to think those were A and GA), but while doing the latter alone is easy (come on, look at some obscure FAs which didn't get good peer review from TCO's infamous study), doing the former alone kind of does the latter for you because otherwise your content is incomprehensible. (OK, barring citation format, punctuation, etc. which most readers as opposed to researchers do not honestly care about.)
As for B, there is little social reward for this one, even though work to get Stub/Start to B is valuable to our readers. It's not a sticker that people like to post on their userpages, maybe because there isn't a review (although there should be IMHO). WP:Four Award has DYK/GA/FA: I don't get why new article and DYK are counted separately, because they will generally follow together because of the time limit. And's DYK is kind of odd: it's more of an editorial service than a reader's one. The hooks are not always interesting (examples can be provided upon request: thanks to R8R Gtrs by the way for pointing this out!), and it's hard to make it so for some articles: so to make every article have that chance, you sometimes have to sacrifice hook interestingness. But it's on the main page! Surely readers are important too? And it's for this reason that I've tried to make my few hooks interesting, to make readers want to click the link because they are genuinely curious.
But DYK is kind of outside the class scheme. Maybe it would serve very well as a low-class review status, to be the step before B. But I don't see this happening all the time.
This was supposed to be a one-paragraph short post. I don't know what happened: the tale must have grown in the telling. I do hope I tied all the loose ends together, though. Also note that I'm primarily a WP Elements member, which may colour my views because it works on vital articles (level 4) for the most part. Perhaps an interesting case study is WP:Chemicals with a simplified A/B/Start/Stub scheme. It says "Although the Wikiproject does acknowledge the Wikipedia status of Featured Article (FA) and Good Article (GA), these are generic qualifications only, with no specific attention for chemical completeness, and as such are not listed in our Classes." This leads me to wonder if each project should really implement more specific criteria, to supplement or replace the general ones. Double sharp (talk) 21:35, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
I definitely agree with you that C-class is really hard to nail down. In my mind a short blurb is a stub (though the assessment systems says a really bad longer article can be so classified), Start is basically a work in progress (either incomplete or poorly referenced), and then B is a basically complete article that hasn't undergone a peer review process. That leaves C as basically a better start class article. Monty845 22:47, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
The benefit of A-class, for those projects that use it, is that it notes the article is up to the standards of the associated wikiproject. Whether that should actually be how things work or not, I have no idea, but it's the functional meaning. I suspect the idea behind 'B+' is similar: it marks the article as reviewed by editors who are involved in the subject. (Whereas GA-class requires external review.) Thanks to the at times months-long waits articles have on GAN, and then the additional delays once reviews start due to e.g. copyediting stuff, I can see the appeal of a preliminary review and associated grading. --erachima talk 23:14, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
@Erachima: I can definitely see the appeal of that, but it seems as though for all but the largest WikiProjects there is no such review process and grading. WP Elements used to have them for A and B, but after a while they became inactive. That seems to be the problem. For the average WikiProject, I submit that you really only need A/B/Start/Stub, with FA and GA as external general ratings. Maybe even a detailed review isn't necessary for all WikiProjects: just an edit summary explaining the rerating (although the detailed review should definitely be posted if it gets requested). That's what I did when I rerated the WP:ELEM articles a few days ago.
Also, if the ratings differ from project to project, does showing them as topicons really help the reader (as opposed to the editor) gauge its quality? GA and FA are general ratings, so those do help the reader, but I question if showing the rest as topicons would help if they are specific to one WikiProject or another. And what if an article is under multiple WikiProjects and is rated differently by them? (Some time ago chlorine received A, B, and C ratings all at once!) Double sharp (talk) 08:34, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
B-class requires the article to meet six criteria. If an article only meets four or five of those, but is close, it's C-class. For example, if an article is very thorough and informative, but has large unreferenced sections or a confusing layout, it would be C-class. A B-class article could probably get through GAN but may need a peer review first. A C-class article would probably fail GAN right away. A start-class article is nowhere near the B-class criteria. —Designate (talk) 13:15, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree with you here: that's what C and Start generally mean right now. But I submit that defining them only in relation to what B-class criteria they fail isn't a very good a definition. They should have criteria of their own. And from a reader's point of view, C and Start are after all both kind of unsatisfactory (Start is "most readers will need more", C is "Useful to a casual reader" only), especially for more technical topics when C wouldn't be very good at helping people understand the content!
Also, I think that if the layout is confusing, then an average reader wouldn't find it "very thorough and informative", simply because the info is hard to find. Double sharp (talk) 19:50, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
It's possible and acceptable for a WikiProject to write their own standards. Most don't bother. Even when they're supposedly working from the same standard, we find wide variation—and that's before you consider the problem of outdated assessments. User:Nettrom and User:EpochFail just screened WP:MED's stubs for me, and their list suggests that about one in 12 are improperly assessed. Just imagine what the numbers will be for a smaller and less organized project. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:51, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. We can fix that by doing similar screenings for all projects. (Although you are right that it'll be problematic for smaller and less organized projects.) Double sharp (talk) 12:17, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Also thinking a little about B-class. On the one hand, it has clear criteria and gives the reader good (but not great) content. And getting a lower-class article to B does a great service to the reader, especially since many important articles are not of this quality (e.g. gold is C-class, mostly because it is kind of a mess.) But this is not rewarded. TCO wrote here "Still a little worried at the low social rewards for B and probably the lower stability of B class articles to [degradation]. I would like to see the top 1000 Vital at GA+ and also all the elements because of the benefits of review."

Given this, I think that we should have B-class review available for WikiProjects large enough to cope with it, just like A-class review, and that ideally those classes get topicons as well. B+, I don't know. It is not a standard class, and many large WikiProjects have shown that they don't need it. Nevertheless three WikiProjects (IIRC, Mathematics, Statistics, Elements) have implemented it (Elements as late as 2011). If it gets reviewed as well, I think it could also work.

But there would need to be a caveat for the reader for A, B+, and B stating the existence of different standards among different WikiProjects. Double sharp (talk) 12:33, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Pretty much the only reason I don't use B+ myself is that it breaks the tables like the one at Wikipedia:WikiProject Astronomy/Article ratings. If support for the class was implemented in these tables, I would probably start using it, since I see it as a class that basically says: "this article is at the point where a GAN alone could address the problems necessary to bring it to GA". StringTheory11 (t • c) 18:44, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

I don't think there is value to our users in hat-noting B-class articles, because the B-class assessment covers so little that is not obvious to the casual reader. Consider the B-class criteria for a moment, which essentially read

  1. Page offers some basic attempt at sourcing.
  2. Page does not have glaring omissions.
  3. Page is not a disorganized infodump.
  4. Page is not grammatically incomprehensible.
  5. Page has appropriate organizational templates.
  6. Page is not a mass of jargon.

Now, of these criteria, how many convey "hidden information" of some sort to our readers? Generally only the first, though in some technical subjects the second may also require a bit of expertise to judge. The remaining criteria are simply a checklist of ways an article may very obviously suck. As a result, telling a reader that they are reading a B-class page communicates almost nothing to them that will not be immediately apparent on reading the article itself.
Where B-class is useful is almost wholly on the metadata side, where it can tell editors interested in a broad subject which articles are and are not at a level of basic presentability.
As to the "social reward" aspect of giving reader-visible announcements, I believe this is a red herring. There are two main routes to B, in my observation. The first is when a page rockets straight from non-existent or stub to B, and most of our writers who can crank out pages like that are perfectly capable of self-assessing when a page is B-grade. Many don't necessarily even bother with having it checked for B before putting it in the GAN queue, and I'm not considering that a flaw. In this context, you'd basically just be giving the writers an extra no-prize for having a draft of the article they're trying to write finished.
The other is when a page has grown organically via the traditional method of everyone who read the page for the last 8 years chipping in a couple sentences, which tends to create pages that have all the necessary factual content for B-grade but are a disorganized mess. In these cases, the reward aspect should already be satisfied: intrinsically speaking, the editor gets to enjoy knowing that it's by their efforts that the page is now essentially readable, and extrinsically, their work was acknowledged by another editor.
In conclusion, publicly visible announcements of article quality are useful to readers only to the extent that they convey hidden information about the page's quality. This is true for the FA process and true for the GA process. It is also in most cases true for A-class, though I suspect that for political and practical reasons a rebranding of A (EA? HA?) with a clearer and more unified associated process may be necessary before it attains community consensus as a recognized category. B/C/Start, however, lack this trait and should therefore be considered purely metadata. --erachima talk 15:08, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Just a reminder to everyone — while of course this isn't relevant for unloggedin readers, you can get the article quality to appear for you on the top of the article by toggling a gadget. It's the gadget beginning with "Display an assessment"; see User:Pyrospirit/metadata for details. Nyttend (talk) 03:41, 15 August 2014 (UTC)


I was reading this revision of Opinion polling for the Scottish independence referendum, 2014, and I noticed that the ‘School, college and university surveys’ section contained 31 citations for one sentence in a way that was at odds with Wikipedia:Citation overkill. I did not want to spend the time going through the many citations in that section to see which ones were necessary for that particular statement and which ones weren't, so I thought I would flag the section with a template saying that the section contained an excessive number of citations and that disreputable or unnecessary references should be removed. To my surprise, however, there was no such template, so I decided to make one. I did so, added it to the article, and then added it to Wikipedia:Template messages/Cleanup/Verifiability and sources. A user, however, found some aspects of it ‘highly questionable’, and so removed it from the template messages page. He also asked whether there was a consensus behind it, and since there was none, I decided to attempt to establish one. What do you guys think of Template:ExcessiveCitations? We have message templates for virtually every other problem with references or citations (e.g. none, unreliable, more needed, not properly formatted, broken, not used properly), so why not include this one? Esszet (talk) 22:42, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

I dunno. Seems legit to me. I might use it, but I'm more likely to just cull the unnecessary or unreliable citations. In pop culture articles, they're usually very obvious. Discogs, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, and AllRovi seem to be the worst offenders. It's a simple matter to move them to the external links, where they belong. For offline sources, this template would be useful. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 00:46, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Sounds like a good idea as I suspect many editors have never heard of WP:CITEKILL. That said, I think it should be an inline template only–putting a big box at the top of the page saying "This article may contain an excessive number of citations" is potentially dangerous (e.g. the claim "But it said at the top of the article that I had to remove the citations ...") Instead, we should take a rifle (as opposed to a shotgun) approach with the flag at the end of the "offending" sentence/paragraph. By using a dated category, those so inclined can go through the backlog as and when. I created a similar template, which doesn't get used much(!) but it does the same thing - see {{Chinese script needed-inline}}.  Philg88 talk 16:12, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Hey, we already have a template for that:

Or maybe you just want moar templates? --Atlasowa (talk) 16:39, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Granted I may be working in some fairly specialized areas of the project, but I'm hard-pressed to imagine a single instance where I thought citation overkill was even remotely a problem. DonIago (talk) 16:57, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
I've seen instances of this. Usually, though, the problem isn't solely the number of citations. The problem was having a dozen biased primary sources rather than a couple of good sources. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:05, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
It's definitely a problem. It's bad enough in an academic paper: when you cite more than one thing at once, it's not easy to tell what came from where. However, in such a context, you're typically instructed to be engaging in original research, interpreting what's said. In a context like Wikipedia, where we must say only what's in a source, there's almost never a good reason to cite more than one source for a specific sentence, and the exceptions are situations where we're discussing the sources themselves, e.g. "Alice and Bob say X"<ref>Alice's book</ref><ref>Bob's article</ref>. Whenever we're simply talking about the subject, a single source will pretty much always be sufficient, so in pretty much every situation of this sort, we can simply chop all the other sources, although of course we might have to examine the process of adding the sources in case there really is original research. That's why I'll cut additional sources; if one WP:RS for a statement says everything (especially online, so I can check it), I'll chop everything else, since there's already sufficient sourcing. That being said I don't think another template would help. Just use {{cleanup}} with a parameter saying something like "excessive citations for specific statements". Nyttend (talk) 02:23, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
I've frequently found use for multiple sources on a sentence simply for prosifying reasons. For a simple example, when source A says "X is true of T" and source B says "Y is true of T", so the article says "X and Y are true of T" in one sentence instead of two. Anomie 13:08, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Commons admins with viewdelete

Some time back, there was a proposal to give Commons admins the right to view deleted content across all WMF wikis; I can't find it, or I'd link it. It gained broad support, but WMF vetoed it on technical grounds, as (if I remember rightly) it wasn't possible to get the software to grant rights to a user on one wiki just because the same user had been granted a different set of rights on another wiki. As far as I remember, WMF wasn't objecting to the idea; I got the impression that it would have been accepted had it been possible to implement.

With this in mind, I wonder what people would think about a request to developers for a new userright that admins here could grant: the right would be called "Commons admin", with just the ability to view deleted revisions of files (both the log entries from the history page, and the actual contents of text revisions and uploads), i.e. vaguely comparable to WP:Researcher in that viewing is the only additional ability, but more viewing ability than Researcher in filespace and no viewing ability in all other namespaces. Upon creation of this userright, we would grant it to any Commons admin who requested it, but under no circumstances would it be granted to anyone else, and (aside from gross abuse) the only reason for removing it would be that the user was no longer a Commons admin. As the biggest WMF project, we're probably the biggest source of images that get transwikied to Commons, so if creating this userright is practical, we'd be able to resolve a big portion of the difficulty that prompted the proposal. I understand that we currently don't have any admin-grantable userrights that involve deletion, basically because admin-type rights are typically granted only after a substantial community discussion, but this is different: we'd simply be allowing our admins to implement what our software would do if it were possible, and anyway people don't become admins at Commons without a substantial community discussion. Nyttend (talk) 14:58, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

  • As long as Foundation Legal is ok with it. (there are legal reasons why view deleted needs to be restricted to a limit number of people, but past discussions haven't given much guidance on how limited, a handful of commons admins who request it should probably be fine) I don't see any reason not to do it. That said, I've very rarely come across requests for that sort of info, do commons admins need it often? Monty845 16:00, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I would personally not have any objections, on the other hand, I am a Commons admin, and I needed this right only a couple of times in my life. Those who transfer a lot of files or those who are superactive on FFD may need the right more often.--Ymblanter (talk) 16:53, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
    • Monty, I suspect that this wouldn't be a Legal concern, since Commons admins already have viewdeleted over there; my proposal, if successful, wouldn't expand the number of trusted users WMF-wide. Both of you address the "how many people" issue, so I've left an announcement at Commons:COM:AN — hopefully we'll hear from more Commons admins. Nyttend (talk) 19:23, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Sounds like a good idea. Having done almost 170000 deletions and 1400 undeletions on Commons, there've been plenty of times when I could have used this to determine whether to restore/delete/DR an image, but instead had to wait for an admin to check a file and reply back with the needed info (except for the 6 months when I was an admin myself of course). There aren't many admins regularly involved in deletions/undeletions/DR/CSD at Commons, so the right would only likely be given to a small number of Commons admins. INeverCry 20:08, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • User:Jalexander knows a lot about what's possible with user rights as well as what's likely to wash with the legal team, so let's see if he's got any suggestions. Nyttend, how many years ago was "some time back"? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 22:34, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
  • If I knew, I'd tell you; I'm sorry. I don't think I participated in the discussion; if I did participate, I've thoroughly forgotten. If I remember rightly, I first became aware of it upon reading that the technical staff had declared it impossible. Nyttend (talk) 22:37, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Just a guess, but I wouldn't be entirely surprised if the technical problems were no longer so difficult. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 02:17, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, INeverCry, for finding that! Having seen that date, I was able to find Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-06-26/Global groups. I've checked every Signpost through the end of September without finding further coverage, so I'm guessing that they didn't cover what happened at the end of the poll. Nyttend (talk) 04:00, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - English Wikipedia is just one part of the Wikimedia project; to the degree that we can help other parts of the project, we should. This proposal would cause little harm to us (presumably, any user capable of becoming a Commons admin should be trusted to merely view our deleted media and its descriptions), and significant benifit to the Commons, an other part of the project. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 03:50, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Seems reasonable. I am sure they don't let just anyone be a commons admin. Chillum 04:28, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, they let me be an admin there...but, then again, they let me be an admin here for a while too... INeverCry 07:00, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
  • No opposition from my side, but how is a local group any different from a global group, from a technical point of view? Note that there is also some information at m:Global deleted image review. --Stefan2 (talk) 17:25, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
  • The commonadmin name is too confusing, as they won't be common nor an en-admin; could be fine, under "imagehistory" right, or the like. Those who want it and will use it should apply individually, like "reveiwer" right. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:03, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
    I said "Commons admin", so your comments aren't quite accurate, although it was a vague suggestion and I expected someone to propose a different name. Perhaps "imagehistory" as you suggest, or perhaps something like "fileviewer"? Nyttend (talk) 13:47, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment. This is a redundant proposal. This idea was proposed 6 years ago and was even approved in an RFC. Then a bug report was filed, which unfortunately has not been fixed yet. There are some related bugs that need to fixed before this feature can be implemented. Ruslik_Zero 19:42, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Please re-read the proposal. I'm proposing a technical workaround for manual implementation of the 2008 proposal, since it can't be implemented automatically. I'm suggesting the creation of just a local userrights group, which shouldn't be too hard; during discussions related to Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Template editor user right (I can't find the precise spot), someone observed that creating the TE userright wouldn't be that difficult for the developers. Should all aspects of my proposal be implemented, we admins will be able to grant it just as easily as we grant rollback, although of course relevant policy will place much greater restrictions on who gets it; requests from "hat collectors" will automatically be declined. Nyttend (talk) 13:47, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Umm, how does that work around the technical problems exactly? We'd still need to create a "viewdeletedfile" to add to the enwp group, and at that point we might as well just put it in a global group. Legoktm (talk) 17:37, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support either a local user right "viewdeletedfile" or similar, to be given to commons admins at their request. Or some other magic that allows them to view deleted files here. —Kusma (t·c) 13:34, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

RFC on SPI Clerk selection

Could use some opinions here [[39]] Hell in a Bucket (talk) 06:42, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Bot to keep up to date lists of active and inactive members of WikiProjects

Members list of WikiProjects tend to grow steadily and are crippled with inactive members. The consequence is that when you add your name in the list, you don't really feel like you are getting involved in anything significant, because it means next to nothing to be in the list.

It is not a very rewarding job to clean these lists by hand but that's how it's done in many WikiProjects. Some tools such as Dispenser's can help but they are not very convenient when it comes to performing the edit itself: lines containing inactive users are simply commented out, which is not suitable if your members list is actually a table, or if you want to store inactive members in another list.

I propose to write a bot to do this task. Actually, most of the code is written. It can update the participants list of your WikiProject (but will not unless you request it for your own WikiProject). The update consists in moving inactive participants listed in the "active list" to the "inactive list" of your WikiProject. You can define what an "inactive participant" is. It supports both lists and tables.

For instance, it can mark participants as inactive when:

  • their last contribution to the English Wikipedia is older than some threshold (typically one year)
  • their last contribution to a page (or its talk page) falling in the scope of your WikiProject is too old
  • their last edit to a page inside the WikiProject itself is too old (discussions about the project itself, the portal, and so on)

You choose what is relevant for your project. It can also sort the two lists of members (active and inactive) by user name if it is told so. And it can move inactive users who are actually active again to the list of active users.

Would you find it useful? I can also propose this code as an external tool, but I think it would be simpler for everyone to run it as a bot. Your feature requests are welcome. If there is a consensus here, I will post a request for bot approval. − Pintoch (talk) 11:57, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

This would be very useful I think. These lists are now mostly cemeteries of former editors (or user names). Johnbod (talk) 12:02, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I think if you supported a config script, like they have for archiving bots, and had the bot limit itself to the section in which the script is found, that would make it a lot more user-friendly. I also think it would be good to check for users that are blocked, in addition to simply inactive. VanIsaacWScont 19:48, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
Checking for blocked users might not be such a good idea as it looked at first. A significant number of blocks are for just hours or days, some of the longer ones are reversed and some are succesfully appealed. We'd have flurries of bot activity changing lists to and fro, and anyone looking to the lists for helpful editors might not realise that an editor listed as blocked could soon be back in action. Short-term blocks might come to be resented more if they were seen as damaging participation in projects. Maybe simply looking for inactivity would be enough. NebY (talk) 20:04, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
It's a good idea to use templates, I will do that. Concerning blocked users, it shouldn't be hard to implement, but I quite agree with NebY. Anyway, I don't think the bot has to do frequent changes to the lists. For most projects it should be fine if their members list is a few weeks old. Pintoch (talk) 20:16, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
I'd be happy to see this done. However, the participant lists involve a wide variety of locations and formats, so it's unlikely that whatever you create will work for all of them.
I'd start with the simplest case: no edits at all for at least one year. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:16, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your support! The most difficult part is to handle the different formats of lists or tables indeed. Clearly, some formats won't be handled, but I believe for some projects it might be worth changing a bit their habits to get something automated. But I will not force them to do so, of course. Pintoch (talk) 16:00, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

information related to jahanian village in narowal district Pakistan

Jahanian is a small village located on the Narowal Zafarwal road at 18 kms from narowal and 7kms from zafarwal Near the town of dhamthal just 1 km from dhamthal. The total population is approximately 5000 and majority of the locality is Mayo Rajputs. There are also some other casts like araiyen, mian, maliks,insaris. 98 percent of the population is muslims and 2 percent Christians are there. The major source of income is farming and local government jobs

Additional information will be provided soon


Muhammad Ramzan Jani

Replied on user's talk page: Noyster (talk), 11:23, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Set index articles or disambiguation for placenames

Two systems are currently used for the disambiguation of placenames. Russian placename disambiguation follows the rules for Set index articles, the rest of the world uses disambuation pages with template:geodis. Since both systems have a history in their respective geographic locations, I suggest to keep the status quo for the time being. A guideline may also be useful. Inwind (talk) 19:37, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Not sure what it is exactly you are proposing? Any set of entities of the same type by the same name can be compiled as a disambiguation page (unless the WP:DABRL guideline is in the way, but that's a whole other can of worms). A set index approach is only used when inclusion of additional metadata and references (otherwise prohibited by WP:MOSDAB) is deemed to add value and where there is a WikiProject willing to handle set index-specific maintenance. These conditions are met for ships, mountains, anthroponymic lists, chemical elements, and yes, Russian placenames, among other things. Any other WikiProject can come on board or jump overboard at any time; there really isn't anything in the guidelines to either encourage or discourage that, nor should there be, IMO.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); August 21, 2014; 19:57 (UTC)

Remove the "Please donate now" banner

The banner is so annoying! I know that logged-in users can disable it using Special:preferences, but what about IP users? It is obvious that most people will just ignore it. If someone wants to donate to Wikipedia, they can still use the "Donate to Wikipedia" which appears at the sidebar.S/s/a/z-1/2 (talk) 03:02, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

I'm sure if you agreed to personally bankroll the entire necessary endowment to keep Wikipedia running, and were to do so with no strings attached, Wikipedia may not have to run the banner anymore. However, Wikipedia does still have bills to pay, and unless and until you'd like to pay all those bills, it seems unlikely that they are going to stop running the banner asking for people to pitch in and help. --Jayron32 03:45, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
What do you mean?S/s/a/z-1/2 (talk) 05:06, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Bot to enable third-party copyright detection

A bot trial to generate a very limited sample set has begun, please see Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/EranBot. This trial is to determine what the output type of operations will be to create a reference sample. However, additional discussion as to if the task should be performed at all, and if so under what conditions, may need additional discussion. Please see the bot request and feel free to add any questions for the operator, ערן. — xaosflux Talk 15:51, 22 August 2014 (UTC)


This is not exactly a proposal, or rather, it is an already implemented proposal by the Foundation. Superprotect restricts editing to WMF staff. It was created, apparently, with the sole purpose of preventing the German Wikipedia editing community from disabling Media Viewer. Anyone opposed to this action can sign an open letter to the Wikimedia Foundation. SpinningSpark 19:48, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Idea lab

Time to revisit schools?

This was an interesting discussion to review with good points raised on both sides. The outcome is not to proceed to a Wikipedia-wide RfC about our usual practice regarding secondary schools, but Risker's point that secondary schools' articles attract defamatory remarks and other content that violates our BLP principles is well made and I think it probably deserves more attention than it has received so far. I have personally observed extremely clear and troubling BLP violations in school articles, on occasion, and these have been the cause of most of my communications with oversighters over the years. Some schoolkids are not above accusing their teachers of all kinds of things in Wikipedia articles. Enough said.

Still, secondary schools are a sacred cow on Wikipedia and it would take a Wikipedia-wide RfC to change that. I can see no consensus to begin such a RfC in the discussion below.

I hope this helps.—S Marshall T/C 11:56, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

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

I am getting seriously tired of all the, to be extremely blunt, crappy articles about this or that college, that because of the near automatic presumption of notability are littering Wikipedia. It's becoming rare for me to get through a single page of new articles on NPP without running into one or more of them. They are often completely unsourced and highly promotional. Even the one's that do have some sources, are often so poor and or obviously promotional that they would get nuked in an AfD discussion if the topic was anything other than schools. WHY ARE SCHOOLS A SACRED COW ON WIKIPEDIA?

I am considering putting up a proposal to require that all schools and colleges be subject to the exact same standards as any other topic, specifically significant coverage in multiple reliable sources to be considered notable. -Ad Orientem (talk) 16:02, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

It sounds like you need to take a break. You yourself could look for sources. For current schools there are almost always plenty of sources around, but they may be newspapers in languages that you don't know. However there could be lots of "colleges" which are just some private training company set up recently, without notability. These are the kind of article that should not have the presumption of notability. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 22:08, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
I think you are missing the point. As long as it can be established that a college exists, and that it's not a degree mill or something similar, then it is de-facto notable, extensive RS coverage or no. I also don't think it's right to attempt to shift the burden for hunting down sources on editors who are dong NPP, though I don't mind a little here and there in most cases. But there is a widespread pattern of abuse going on with way too many school related articles that would in the normal course of things, not even come close to meeting our notability standards getting what amounts to a free pass. So I will ask the question again... Why are schools a sacred cow on Wikipedia? -Ad Orientem (talk) 00:43, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Because otherwise we will spend half our time at AfD debating the intricacies of just what sources are sufficiently "substantial" and "reliable", and will probably end up debating this not just for all the secondary school and colleges, but all the primary schools. Depending on whether you want to keep them or not, it is possible to interpret the sourcing requirements of the GNG to produce any wanted result for almost all articles of this nature. The current system is not, as you seem to think, an inclusive rule only, it is equally an exclusive rule, for not giving articles to primary schools, of which there are many times the number compared to secondary schools. The probable accuracy or even repeatability of our AfD determinations back 7 years ago was about 80% at most, meaning that almost any school could be removed after 4 or 5 afds, & those who wanted to avoid school articles did just such nominations. Simultaneously, those who wanted to keep the articles spent most of their time here on finding recondite secondary sources,which in general are available for most primary as well as secondary schools if you look hard enough, though it can take hours. And what's the point of it all? If, like now, we cover about 20 or 30% of secondary schools that would have trouble passing the GNG interpreted rigidly, WP is not paper; if we merge all the primary schools into the school districts as at present, the key links for the information are still available.
What we can not accommodate is wasting the energy of all of us interested in notability, inclusionist-minded and exculsionist-minded both, at these afds, when there are so many really harmful articles, especially promotional articles and poorly sourced BLPs, that we need to remove. It's a matter of practicality, not of principle.
The real problem here , is that similar decision points would be useful for many other types of articles, particularly those subject to WP:LOCAL. where the same ambiguity of the detailed specifications of the GNG can yield any wanted result. (And again, with almost random results, except when do we have such convenient cut off points as local or state branches of national organizations.) DGG ( talk ) 02:35, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I'ld say, keep the policy for real schools and colleges, but make it clear that this policy does not apply to those wannabe commercial 'colleges' those are nothing more than fronts for paid training programs. (i.e. any organization can call itself a 'college', but only include for our policy those that fit the traditional description of a college. ) However, based on CSD criteria, we should also delete all articles that are blatant promotion and advertisement (G11. Unambiguous advertising or promotion), or are largely copied from the college's website or informational material (G12. Unambiguous copyright infringement). @Ad Orientem, perhaps that addresses your major concerns? Darx9url (talk) 00:53, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree with the sentiment behind the proposal, at least to a degree, in that a locale shouldn't be made continuously more granular by breaking out articles about other items within the locale unless there is substantial reliable material and independent notability. For schools we seem to have moved too far away from this and now presume that they all justify an independent article. Some of the school articles have no more sources available than my local bus stop does - a primary source website and a couple of minor mentions in the local press when a bus broke down there. I think WP:NSCHOOL should have a line added, based on WP:NSONG, along the lines of "Notability aside, a standalone article is only appropriate when there is enough material to warrant a reasonably detailed article; articles unlikely ever to grow beyond stubs should be merged to articles about the town or locale." QuiteUnusual (talk) 09:26, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree with Ad Orientem that this is out of control for new articles. We need to remove the exception to db-A7 to solve the initial filtering issue. Nothing else has exemption so why should schools be any different? I don't get the concept of why if a college/high school exists it is somehow automatically notable. This does not apply to any other type of building so its anomalous to say the least. That's the CSD part.
As for Afd, DGG is spot on about the wasted energy. Everytime a nomination in this category comes up (with the exception of primary schools, which are thankfully under control with the redirect concensus), the discussion seems to involve once more explaining to people how the GNG overrides essays like SCHOOLOUTCOMES and why all educational institutions are not automatically notable. IMHO we need to tighten up NSCHOOL and remove the presumption of automatic notability. However, if we institute criteria based on article size using QuiteUnusual's nifty bus stop analogy, I can see people simply falling back on WP:DEADLINE. "It might be long enough one day..." What we need are better guidelines.  Philg88 talk 10:02, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
  • It's all volunteer work and while Wikipedia attempts to be encyclopedic, the only people researching such schools are likely going to people who either already went there, are going there, or are planning on enrolling there, it's not as if the low-quality information people provide is going to be used in anything scholarly or, well, serious. If the subject matter were serious, I'd say we need to be more proactive in eliminating low-quality pages which might very well be nothing short of promotion or propaganda, but it sounds like what you're evaluating is pretty uninportant. I'd say there's no problem that needs to be addressed, just a desire for better quality which is difficult to achieve since we're all volunteers. Damotclese (talk) 16:56, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
  • You know, it's all well and good to have this "standard" to which DGG refers, and I see his point about how it would be a time sink; however, this "notability standard" put into place well before the BLP policy really took hold. Almost without exception, the high school articles are huge magnets for BLP violations, and most of them really are only notable locally. I think perhaps it's time to start considering whether it's useful to have thousands of articles nobody's really watching on (at best) borderline notable subjects that are used as attack vectors against individual high school students, teachers and principals. Risker (talk) 00:20, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Risker risker, I understand your argument, but the more notable they are, the more of a magnet, because they;ll be the larger schools with the more students, and thus the more prospective potential abusive editors. We should be able to deal with this in other ways, like an edit filter. DGG ( talk ) 01:11, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
One might think, DGG, but my experience is that it is the high schools with under 1200 students, often in small communities/suburbs or rural areas, that experience the greatest level of vandalism, sometimes to the level that suppression is needed. (As a matter of course, if I need to suppress edits to a school article, I automatically apply a one-year semi-protection, since by the time the oversighters are called in, there is usually months worth of nastiness.) A lot of these schools would barely pass GNG, if that; all of their coverage is local (and usually sports-related), they usually have no notable alumni, and most of their information comes from the school website, schoolboard website, and the results of statewide tests if applicable. This is the reality for the majority of high schools in North America: they're no more notable than grade schools. But they get a lot more vandalism and revenge editing, almost all of it BLP-related. Risker (talk) 03:44, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
  • For what it's worth, my personal view is that the great majority of schools covered by Wikipedia are not in any way notable. Please note that I am in the UK and will choose my examples accordingly; it should be obvious that the same concepts can be applied elsewhere.
My reasoning is this: (to a first approximation) we regard a person as notable if they have accomplished something that makes them stand out from the crowd; in the same way, we might therefore regard a school as notable if it has accomplished something that makes it significantly different from the vast mass of schools. Thus, we might regard a school as notable if it educates a disproportionately large number of UK cabinet ministers or has produced an astonishing number of child/teenage entertainers and self-publicists in a short time. There's clearly something going on with these schools that make them different from the norm. We would not, however, regard a school as notable if it has done nothing of any significance other than be rated poorly in government assessments. It's not difficult to find serious references - books, newspaper articles, and so on - that ask questions like "Is Eton too influential in British society?" and "Why does the Harrodian School produce so many YouTubers?" (Answer: a drama club that aims at the Edinburgh Fringe, apparently!), but the references for what we might, in a better Wikipedia, call non-notable schools are generally restricted to local newspapers and government lists ("a comprehensive list of comprehensives"!).
The problem is driven by several factors, none easy to change. First, there are always going to be people who don't like the idea that their school wasn't notable. Second, there is the general problem of Wiki-notability, which is prepared to accept very poor references, most of which prove existence rather than notability. Third, I took the liberty of reviewing some schools AfD debates from the archives. It's easy to see that there was/is a clear clique of Wikipedians who took the general view that all schools are notable, and a rather larger clique who took the somewhat less extreme position that all secondary schools are notable. From what I can work out, this view was taken for two main reasons, which, paraphrased, are: one, that schools are notable in their own communities, and, two, that it was judgmental, unfair, or otherwise invidious to ascribe notability to some schools but not to others. It's not obvious to me that these contributors formed a majority of Wikipedia's editors, but they certainly formed a majority in AfD debates, which in any case are biased towards retention. It's a cliché that a small determined group can accomplish its aim when it is opposed by a larger but less generally determined one, and this appears to be what has happened with schools: enough precedents have been set that secondary schools, at least, are now automatically notable.
I feel that in a perfect world we would not have so many schools in Wikipedia, but I find it useful to think in terms of a heresy: Wikipedia isn't a real encyclopedia. It's an immensely useful resource, and if I need information about a particular manga character or disused railway station it's ideal, but it certainly isn't definitive. A "real" encyclopedia aspires to reliable coverage of significant matters, but this isn't what happens here. Although I haven't any idea of the statistics, I'd guess we have many more editors fascinated by pokemons, Star Wars and the Hunger Games than by point-set topology, monocotyledons and Akkadians. We do not apply any judgment about what matters and what does not. In this, we are not like a "real" (or, if you prefer, "traditional") encyclopedia. We are inclusive and non-judgmental. In this, we are simply reflecting the way our society behaves. Similarly, again like larger society, we do not distinguish between verifiable truth and matters of opinion. (I recently found an edit to an article that mentioned cheese-eating etiquette; its source was a blog, but I quickly found that journalists and bloggers had copied the Wikipedia article, sometimes word-for-word, so it's only a matter of time before we have a "reliable source" for this nonsense!) Further, I'm not a particularly hard-core editor, but even I've seen plenty of articles that have been swamped by biased contributors, or deleted because this or that claque disapproved, or (worse) not deleted because nobody has assessed the article. The vastness of Wikipedia makes it inevitable that individual articles will contain errors, and the best we can do is to fight the continual battle against those. And, as has been remarked above, it's probably better to focus on improving the important articles, and leave the articles on non-notable topics to those who care about them.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that whilst I feel you're right, it's a battle that's already been lost. The schools articles are here, they're mostly out of date and they're mostly about non-notable subjects, but they're here and we have to live with it. From time to time I amuse myself by going through a school article, updating the name of the head teacher, and correcting the spelling mistakes, but there's not much else that can be done.
On the plus side, it's nice to know that there are other people who share my reservations about our schools articles. On the minus side, the precedent is clear, and I think we just have to live with it. I think we probably help Wikipedia most by working on the areas where we can make a positive contribution. RomanSpa (talk) 12:00, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
@RomanSpa... That is a very good and thoughtful post that touches on some of the concerns I have had. One possible, and admittedly imperfect, solution to the question of all the already existing articles is to just give them some sort of limited pass if we decide to tighten the standards. For instance, we might say that any articles about a high school or secondary school created before the revised guidelines come into effect are exempt, provided they cite at least one reliable source. -Ad Orientem (talk) 14:29, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
I see your reasoning, I think, but I'm not comfortable with the arbitrariness. It seems odd that of two otherwise almost identical schools, one might have a Wikipedia article and the other not, just because one was started before some arbitrary date while the other was started later. It also doesn't solve the problem of all the existing non-notable schools. One option that I've pondered in the past would imitate the real world like this: in my parents' house there are a huge number of books, more or less arranged by subject, including two book-cases that together form what might be called the "reference section". There is, of course, a full set of the Encyclopedia Britannica, but next to it there are a whole lot of other reference works, including the usual dictionaries and atlases and what-have-you. There are also a large number of directories, including a large and tastefully-bound directory of all the private schools in the UK (dated back several decades!), and assorted directories of specialist institutions, including university and college guides. Of course, such a directory would be impossible to compile and physically publish these days, as there are so many schools, and a satisfactory directory would have to cover both state-run and private schools, at all levels, and (in an international context) all countries. Ideally such a directory would compile all kinds of information about every school in the world, and would be readily searchable. Such a project is obviously much better suited to the web than to physical publication, and the creation of a single point of information on schools would clearly benefit students, parents and teachers. By making it possible to explore and compare schools, the subjects they teach, and their relative successes both academic and pastoral, it might even make a positive contribution to education generally. It's obvious that the commercial case for such a directory is not particularly strong, so a volunteer-based approach might be useful. We might therefore imagine the "Wiki-schools directory". Its core would be our existing schools articles (we would retain information on clearly notable schools in Wikipedia, but "locally notable" schools would move), but with suitable support it would be possible to supply the directory with mirrors of regular Wikipedia articles on the practical aspects of education. The directory would focus on applicable information, so articles on educational theories and research would not be mirrored, or would be mirrored in précis form only. It should also be possible to mirror schools-related news from Wikinews. The directory would apply the same standards of verifiability and lack of bias as Wikipedia, which we could guarantee by making a commitment that any disgreements in these areas would be adjudicated through normal Wikipedia processing, probably by the same administrators. This would give the directory the imprimatur of Wikipedia, and give confidence to its readers. The same basic look and software would of course be used. What do you think? RomanSpa (talk) 06:54, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately I think your suggestion would run afoul of WP:NOTDIRECTORY. Trying to fix a major flaw in the notability guidelines would be tough enough. Trying also to change WP:NOT, which is an actual policy, I think would be on the same level as trying to pass a constitutional amendment. As for granting a limited pass to the bad articles already existing, there is precedent for this. When the RS requirement was added to WP:BLP already existing articles were grandfathered. As much as I would prefer to be able to slowly get rid of the plethora of bad articles, I think that from both a practical and, to be crass, a political perspective, it is unlikely we would get any consensus in favor of tightening standards that left open the possibility of flooding AfD with all of the old articles. Again it's not ideal. But it may be the best we can hope for given the strong retentionist sentiment. And alas I see no perfect solution that doesn't involve a time machine. -Ad Orientem (talk) 12:53, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
I think you may have slightly misunderstood my suggestion: I'm not suggesting that we create a directory within Wikipedia, and I would have no intention of trying to change WP:NOTDIRECTORY. Rather, I'm suggesting an entirely separate project under the Wikimedia Foundation. For example, we well as our "not a directory" policy we also have WP:NOTDICTIONARY. And yet we have Wiktionary. In the same way, I see no reason why we shouldn't have "WikiSchools". As it happens, one of the arguments that's historically been used in AfD debates about schools is WP:NOTDIRECTORY. Current policy on primary schools has the effect of often making the page about the city in which the primary school is located into a directory of local primary schools anyway! My key point, though, is that the majority of school articles would no longer be part of Wikipedia. We would "boldly" put them all in the new project. No existing work would be lost, but it would be moved to a project explicitly dedicated to schools. RomanSpa (talk) 15:28, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
There's a lot of good points here. For some time I've had it in the back of my mind that a new project was needed to absorb items like this. Perhaps something along the lines of WikiGazetteer? Matt Deres (talk) 14:16, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
It might well be possible to apply similar thinking to other aspects of Wikipedia. RomanSpa (talk) 16:54, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
@RomanSpa. I'm not sure there is sufficient interest in a new WMF-backed entity. The gain that would be achieved — inclusion of elementary schools, removal of the weakest high school articles from En-WP — would be offset by the loss of good high school articles and the lack of ability to integrate high school articles into biographies, which is actually one of the main rationales for the status quo at AfD. A truly comprehensive biography will include the name of a high school, but not names of elementary schools, and these links should be blue, not red. This totally dodges the issue of where one is going to find sufficient volunteers to police one of the highest vandalism topics out there... I don't see any huge problem with the current system, as I noted above it amounts to two simple rules that every New Page Patroller could learn in about 60 seconds and would never forget, and it saves AfD from a monstrous mess of never-ending notability challenges and defenses. Things could be worse than the current system, for sure. I think in a huge RFC the status quo would be sustained. I support it. Carrite (talk) 15:23, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Lots of food for thought in the last few comments. I think the next question is where do we go from here? -Ad Orientem (talk) 17:07, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
I agree that we do need some threshold for inclusion of schools. I'm tired of the logic "most secondary schools have notable alumni, so they're notable, but now since most secondary schools are notable, all of them should be, and we need to keep every article on every school ever". Jackmcbarn (talk) 18:10, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Time to start working on a concrete proposal? May I suggest that we begin working on something we can submit as an actual proposal. Bearing in mind that there will likely be vigorous resistance from retentionist quarters to any attempt to tighten standards, I will start the ball rolling with this...

Draft Proposal

  1. Effective thirty days from the adoption of this proposal, all new articles relating to schools, including High Schools and Secondary Schools shall be subject to the notability guidelines contained in the GNG.
  2. Articles about High Schools and Secondary Schools created prior to the effective date of the above amendment to notability guidelines shall be exempt, provided that on the effective date of the new guidelines the article cites at least one reliable source. Articles about schools that fail to cite any reliable sources on the effective date shall be subject to the provisions of the GNG and may be nominated for deletion via PROD and or AfD.
  3. Articles about schools created after the effective date may be nominated for speedy deletion if they meet the criteria in CSD A-7.
  4. With due regard for the provisions of Not a Directory, active consideration be given to the creation of a directory for educational institutions, separate and independent of Wikipedia, to which articles that do not meet GNG but which may nonetheless be of interest to some readers, may be migrated.
Note: The above is off the top of my head. Feel free to amend, comment, rant, praise, throw flowers or rotten vegetables in my direction etc... -Ad Orientem (talk) 18:47, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
@Ad Orientem: I like 1 and 3, I think 4 should go, and I think 2 should be changed to this: "Articles about High Schools and Secondary Schools created prior to the effective date of the above amendment to notability guidelines shall be exempt, provided that the article cites at least one reliable source independent of the school. Articles about schools that fail to cite any independent reliable sources shall be subject to the provisions of the GNG and may be nominated for deletion via PROD and or AfD." (so lose the stuff about effective date, and require the source to be independent). Jackmcbarn (talk) 18:58, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
Comment: I expect that anything with a deadline will lead to the creation of a vast number of schools articles before the deadline expires, of course. As for the draft proposal itself, I'm still thinking about it. Whatever is proposed, I'd prefer that there has been substantial nemawashi in advance. Ideally, consensus should be as broad as possible. RomanSpa (talk) 12:43, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
I concur which is why I am trying to get as much input here before I move anything over to the Proposal forum. The only thing I have a really strong conviction on, is that the current approach to notability for schools is far too permissive and we need to tighten up standards. Everything beyond that is details, and I am pretty flexible there. -Ad Orientem (talk) 13:10, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
What if the deadline were put in the past, say on June 13th, the day this thread first started? Jackmcbarn (talk) 15:49, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
I suspect there will be opposition if some sort of ex-post facto protection is not included. But again I am not stuck on details. My main objective is to tighten the standards. At the risk of sounding crassly political, where we set the "effective date" is not of great importance to me. I will go with whatever date is likely to garner the most support !votes. -Ad Orientem (talk) 15:55, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
Have there been previous attempts to do anything like this? If so, how did they do? I'd be reluctant to waste people's time if something like this comes up every six months, and always meets a substantial consensus against change. RomanSpa (talk) 16:30, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
@RomanSpa: I believe the topic has come up before, but not in quite some time. As for my opinion, I suspect that the vast majority of secondary schools and universities are notable, but I don't like the idea of giving them a free pass. I personally would support this proposal in its current form as I suspect it would lead to more high quality articles on schools. I disagree with the idea of including item #2 though. I suspect that this will cause more problems than it will solve, though it might, in the end, be needed to get something like this to garner enough support. Zell Faze (talk) 18:47, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

All you really need is verifiability and accuracy of an article. If a school only has its own website, you simply wouldn't be able to write an accurate verifiable article about it.

In my view, there is no need to waste time writing notability guidelines. Gryllida (talk) 23:19, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Notability guidelines are necessary because Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information. -Ad Orientem (talk) 02:12, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
In some cases, content is verifiable and accurate but too abstract (too separated from the world) to include it. Then there are no references supporting its connection with the world. When such references exist, I call such property of an article as realistic. Most often, if you can write a verifiable and accurate article, it is also realistic (connected to reality: contains a reception, criticisms, or awards section; or simply a fair amount of third-party references and information scattered throughout the article). People tend to say that it is "not notable" for:
  • things they can't accurately and verifiably write about (99%)
  • the minority of cases when it is accurate and verifiable but there is no relation to something from the outside (<1%)
Again, I don't think notability guidelines are necessary for either of these two cases. It is pretty simple to establish whether an article is (i) accurate/verifiable and (ii) realistic — using reading comprehension. Such guidelines may ease such routine work, but they should not be used as a rejection or deletion criteria; instead, the contributors should be told which one of the two above points is the case. --Gryllida (talk) 10:41, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps a sensible thing to do is to think about what would be useful for our readers. Do they expect to find all their local schools in Wikipedia, or just those that are "locally notable", or only those that are "notable within a country"? And what kind of information are they seeking? Are they just checking the alumni list, or are they looking for the school's sporting rivalries, or do they want information on the school's teachers and academic performance, or what? I feel that any proposal that doesn't clearly improve the existing reader experience may struggle to gain support, which is part of why I feel there's some advantage to the idea of a separate "directory of schools" (as mentioned in point 4 above). I have the sense that editors who have a genuine interest in providing a useful resource for our readers might find this a reasonable path to take, while editors who have simply adopted the position that "all schools are notable" as a sort of fixed political and philosophical principle would presumably resist any change for purely dogmatic reasons. My question, I suppose, is: Can this change be made in such a way that it helps our readers better? If there are clear, positive advantages to a proposal, it is more likely to gain support, and if it addresses concerns about "notability" along the way, that's a nice additional benefit. A proposal that simply seeks to address the "notability for schools" question on its own, but provides nothing else, seems to me to be less likely to gain broad support.
I notice that input to this discussion has been sought at Wikipedia:WikiProject_Schools. I'd particularly like to hear what experts in this area have to say. In particular, within WikiProject_Schools would there be support for a directory-like project under the aegis of the WMF?
RomanSpa (talk) 12:28, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Schools are currently subject to WP:ORG, which is more specific than the GNG. Unfortunately, editors have interpreted this as meaning that if any two newspapers write about any game(s) played by the school's sports team(s), then the school is notable (even though said articles rarely mention anything about the school itself beyond its location). These are independent WP:PRIMARYNEWS stories, but nobody enforces the requirement for true secondary sources at AFDs for organizations (or people—for people, especially in the case of academics, we're still trying to convince the AFD crowd that the person's own webpage on their employer's website is not an independent source). WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:03, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
Actually, in practice at AfD GNG trumps more restrictive Special Notability Guidelines in almost every case (one exception being Unelected Politicians, who are subjected to a SNG "high bar"). As for schools, actual practice is not documented in the guidelines. I wouldn't mind an RfC that codifies what we've already been doing for years... Carrite (talk) 16:25, 3 July 2014 (UTC) Last edit: Carrite (talk) 16:27, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
  • The Draft Proposal is bureaucratic rule creep and runs contrary to the well established consensus at AFD: That articles about high schools and colleges of confirmed existence are presumed notable per se and that articles about elementary schools are made into redirects to their school district or city unless exceptionally noteworthy. How much easier could things be at New Page Patrol than this? So you don't like bad schools starter articles? Skip them at NPP. Quite Easily Done. Carrite (talk) 16:21, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
    • I think "consensus" is not stagnant and that there are quite a few editors who are not happy with the flood of dubious school articles that have been given a pass. -Ad Orientem (talk) 16:28, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
The consensus is solidly established at AfD. Look at it this way: the consensus is a compromise between those in Project:Schools who might want an article about every school — including elementary schools — worldwide, and those whom, like yourself, seek a more restricted set of schools articles. You think school article content is bad now? Just open the door to every elementary school with three mentions in the local newspaper to a pass through GNG and get back to me on that! Just look at the article: if it's grades 10-12 or a college, flag it if necessary and pass it through; if it's lower grades, don't be afraid to make a bold redirect out of it. In the long run, shitty articles improve. Just because you see them in their first state doesn't mean that's the way things end up... The current system is simple for NPP volunteers, simple for AfD volunteers, and is a very rational compromise between inclusionists and deletionists... Carrite (talk) 16:38, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
It's not that consensus is solidly established. It's that there's a guideline that says to keep them, and nobody is willing to deviate from them in an AfD. Jackmcbarn (talk) 15:26, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

Apologies I have been somewhat distracted of late and this discussion fell off my radar. I am not sure how often this has been raised here or elsewhere. That needs to be looked into as suggested. As much as I disagree with the current guidelines, I don't want to waste everyone's time by revising a subject that may have been addressed in the recent past. -Ad Orientem (talk) 14:22, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

My position has long been that specific notability guidelines (Schools, PROF, etc.) should serve as effective heuristics for when a subject would likely meet the GNG after a concerted search. Where they are effective, we should keep the specific guideline. Where they aren't we should (I realize there's no consensus for this, but whatever) direct the specific notability guideline directly to the trash and rely on the GNG. In this case if your argument is that the de facto notability guideline for schools (which is to say that secondary and post secondary schools in anglophone countries are automatically notable) isn't a good proxy for the GNG, your proposal should simply be to implement the GNG. No additional bullet points are needed.

In a practical sense, we don't delete articles on schools for 3 reasons, 2 of which are widely admitted and one of which is a nasty secret (:P). First, schools do tend to be notable, in the main. Secondary and post-secondary schools are usually the subject of some articles somewhere, even if they aren't easily found online. We have enough articles on schools and have had enough deletion debates about schools to build strong priors about the existence of sourcing. This speaks directly to my heuristic statement above. Second, people like writing about schools. "But Protonk," you interject, "people like writing about bands and we delete them all the same! WP:OSE, BBQ, BSG, etc." While it's true that reader/editor interest doesn't speak to policy, we should all kinda be aware that readers write articles. Rejecting wholesale reader interest should be done only if we have a pretty good reason for it and shouldn't be done if we can find even one decent argument against it. Third, we have a bias toward schools, colleges and other nominally "non-profit" ventures. We don't see them as agents acting in their own interest, rather they're semi-public pieces of the civic landscape. A small high school with about as much sourcing as an equally sized silicon valley startup will not get the same negative attention because we're not on the lookout for the school's self-promotion. Your high school has bricks and teachers? Good enough for us. Your company has an office and employees? Piss off until the Times reports on it. I'm not saying we need to upend that tradition (attempting to do so would be even more fruitless than making notability sensible!), but we should be aware it exists. What I would suggest is that we start thinking about schools (especially post-secondary schools) as agents who will act in their own interest, often inflating their importance beyond what can be supported by sourcing.

All that said, I doubt this is going anywhere (no offense intended Ad Orientem), as it is fighting against years of tradition and for the most part our heuristic basically works. Protonk (talk) 14:41, 17 July 2014 (UTC

Protonk and DGG have acurately summed up what is generally acdepted for schools, so it is unlikey that any discussions in the fnear uture are going to get things changed. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 07:52, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

After some considerable thought I have reached a few conclusions. First, I remain unconvinced by the various arguments in favor of the existing guideline which I strongly disagree with. Secondly, I believe there are a not insignificant number of editors who feel similarly. Third, the numbers who want to see the guideline reformed are not sufficient to establish a consensus. In situations like this, the status quo almost always wins by default. And since I am not a fan of tilting at windmills I am disinclined to pursue this further. I will instead take the advice offered above and just decline to review or edit articles on schools. If a serious reform proposal ever makes it into an appropriate forum I would of course give it every consideration. -Ad Orientem (talk) 00:27, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

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

Automatically redirect titles with a missing parenthesis

There is a problem with disambiguation pages that have parentheses in the article titles that results from several softwares not recognizing a link that ends with ")". For example, if you copy the link to the page Georgia (country) in an instant-messaging software, it will result in the link not working due to the IM program leaving the last parenthesis out. Some editors have acknowledged this, and thus a redirect exists at Georgia (country.

Apparently Firefox browser (or Windows 7) fixes this because if I copy the article title from the browser bar it results in an ASCII link: "Georgia_%28country%29". But it still a problem with direct copy&paste, atleast I remember several times clicking a link that's not working due to that.

I think it would be a bit too excessive to create redirects like "Georgia (country" for every page. Would it be possible to somehow make Wikipedia automatically redirect to the right page? I'm pretty sure there's only a handful of articles that actually need only one parenthesis, like the article "(" itself. --Pudeo' 00:05, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

I suggested this in 2007, bugzilla:11056, but it sounds like fixing it is more complicated than we both expected. :( It might be worth discussing further, I'm not sure. (Note: There are further problems with links in IRC, where some programs will cut off the URL before the opening "(", but that's probably a separate issue.) Quiddity (talk) 19:41, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
OK, thanks for the heads up. That bugzilla report had a response: "An automatic check may sound cute, but would conflict if you actually wanted the title without the closing parenthesis." Isn't the number of pages that actually end with "(" (and thus would conflict with the automatic check) really limited though, and we could single-them out from the database? But I suppose it can be problematic indeed, then. --Pudeo' 22:26, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
Or, titles without the closing parenthesis can override the automatic redirect. Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 23:59, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
What about a routine that only kicked in if the page was not found? Then those rquesting articles with deliberately mismatched brackets would never encounter it. I have never run across this bug - I'm a Firefox user. —Anne Delong (talk) 03:39, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Add to that any article ending in punctuation to make it complete. Agathoclea (talk) 12:42, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Indeed. I've been experimenting with punctuation at my sandbox, and in test emails, and trying to determine the extent of the problem (number of affected articles) via some searches in Quarry. I'll followup at that bug, when I know more for sure. Quiddity (talk) 19:54, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Create a BOT to alphabetize and organize categories automatically

As someone who has been doing this manually for years, I hereby dutifully beg of anyone who is technically proficient and knows how to create and run a bot that will:

  1. Automatically sort all Categories on each article and category page alphabetically;
  2. Create a uniform system for where to place categories on each article and category page that commence with numbers, such as years of birth/death, centuries, and any category that starts with a number/numeral.

Please see the centralized discussion at Wikipedia:Bot requests/Archive 61#Create a BOT to alphabetize and organize categories automatically. Thank you, IZAK (talk) 09:13, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Discussion re-opened at VPP

Please see Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Create a BOT to alphabetize and organize categories automatically. Thank you, IZAK (talk) 22:50, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

Tech help required to improve categories

Please see Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#CatVisor and User:Paradoctor/CatVisor#Planned features if you are willing and able to assist this innovative WP project move along it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, IZAK (talk) 23:34, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Alternative to right to be forgotten

More essential than the right to be forgotten is the right to reply, to have your vision known. If there would be a separate space where everybody who feels the information on a page is not fair to him could have the possibility to explain his point of view, two other problems may be contained.

- Sensorship as a result of the right to be forgotten.

- People editing pages about themself.

And it could increace accuracy of the main page as authors take in to account that point of view. Controversial articles that talk about (political) issues where many people feel involved may have to be excluded.

A personnel reply could also be something like: I admid I was wrong there, but it was 10 years ago. I didn't know what I know now. Look what I did after that.

Hopefully courts would take into account the existance of that possiblilty in individual cases when somebody tries to force the right to be forgotten. And if so also the search site committee will be less inclined to approuve a request if that possibility exists. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:26, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

If you're discussing anything other than the normal Talk page process, that's a horribly unencyclopedic suggestion and you may as well consider it rejected out of hand. Wikipedia is not a collector of public apologies. --erachima talk 11:03, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

You are on such a page expressing such opinions as you edit this page, and your anonymity, at least as far as your IP number, is totally preserved. Yes we have that policy already! Obviously, however, you have some deeper concerns of a legal nature which you have not explained here. ~ R.T.G 02:37, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Cast lists

I don't know whether I need to make a proposal for this idea but I would like some feedback first before I start applying it to articles. There may be some objection that I haven't thought of, or there may be a better way to implement it. I think that cast lists for films etc. could be presented similarly to the way it's done when the credits roll up at the end of a production. It would look like this:

Character      Played by
Joseph Bloggs      Harold Axtoe
Jimmy the Spiv      Michael Tysoff
Christine Jones      Charles another actor

Any comments will be gratefully received

Jodosma (talk) 13:03, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Do i understand you correctly that the gist of your suggestion, compared to how the cast is covered in, say, Gone with the Wind or The Third Man is a change in layout? I don't see the benefit to the encyclopedia. Huon (talk) 21:17, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
I just think it looks better and is clearer to read. Also it would provide a method to make the layout of such lists consistent throughout the encyclopedia. Jodosma (talk) 07:50, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Sounds like something to propose and discuss at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Film, since the relevant guideline for this material is their WP:CASTLIST. DMacks (talk) 07:54, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
I may do that. Another point I forgot to emphasise is that there is no consistency with small lists like these; there are many different ways in which they are presented and consistency is surely something to be desired. Jodosma (talk) 08:04, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Honestly, I don't see any advantage in this. Why is this better than a normal list? Why is this better than a table without all the deprecated "align" BS? Why should cast lists follow the formatting of the credit roll? —Farix (t | c) 12:06, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
What is "normal"? I have explained, haven't I, that there is no normal (i.e. consistency) on this wiki, and that what I'm looking for is consistency, i.e., presenting similar things in the same way to the reader, not the editor. I'm getting sick and tired of people who think that Wikipedia is for it's own editors and not for the readers. Jodosma (talk) 18:25, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Is there really a need for consistency here? So long as the information is presented in an easy to read and easy to maintain list, there shouldn't be a problem. The reader isn't going to be confused by different articles using different formats to list the cast. Consistency for the sake of consistency is no virtue. And it prevents editors from experiment with formats on how best to present that information. —Farix (t | c) 22:24, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
The list based methods tend to scale to large lists, if you had a large list with this format it would not scale well to multi-columns and could lead to excessive vertical scrolling, especially on wide monitors. — xaosflux Talk 00:58, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for all the input. I'll forget about the idea for now. Incidentally I didn't realise that "align" was deprecated, seems quite useful in some situations. Jodosma (talk) 07:15, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Infoboxes, templates instead of free-form text for hatnotes, standardized font sizes for section headings, we could go on and on. All contribute to a consistent look and feel that increases the reader's comfort level. The consistency is enforced by the software rather than depending on the editors' compliance with some guideline that they might not even be aware of. I'm not prepared to speak to the overall merit of a "cast list" template, but it seems wrong to dismiss it as "consistency for the sake of consistency". As with any template, it could be designed so as to provide support for any reasonable situation or requirement. {{Reflist}} is a comparable example.   Mandruss |talk  18:28, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

It's time to discuss this...

due to two recent incidents involving the editors Bulletrajabc (see this discussion) and Gnuuu (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) (see that editor's contributions) in as many days I feel that it is time that we discuss the possibility of changing the right of an editor to move pages after 4 days and 10 edits. I feel that this is far too low, and has been seen recently, is ripe to be taken advantage of. My idea would be to make it a 30 day/500 edit restriction, OR (my preference) make it like the rollback right - "if you don't have it, you can't do it" sort of thing. I know and accept the fact that Wikipedia is an "open" wiki, but I think the time has come to put more restrictions in place for the good of the project.   ArcAngel   (talk) ) 09:25, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

I have an idea that could help achieve great things for conservation & the environment - but I need someone to help me with the proposal and technical side

Hi there

I have always been interested in animal welfare and environmental safe guards but have recently become more involved especially on facebook.

I have noticed that there are so many different groups/charities set up for animal welfare and against animal cruelty and trophy hunting etc that no cohesive action is being taken as people are so fragmented. Also many of the public have lost faith in donating to charity due to bogus charities being set up to extort money and some charities having hidden agendas (like a well known animal charity being founded by and supporting trophy hunters)

Being independent and transparent I think wiki is the ideal vehicle for my idea. It's to set up a wikiplanet. To record all the environmental groups, animals groups, charities etc - what they do, if poss the percentage of money raised that goes to cause, contact details, interested journalists, relevant news articles, interested politicians, interested Lawyers, interested ecologists, interested philanthropists etc etc.

People could then ideally be able to cross reference information to properly show global trends, contact relevant groups and hopefully by sharing information get the silent majority to see the facts and hopefully stop being silent.

Getting this information out there would mean eg people fighting trophy hunting in Zimbabwe could contact all anti-trophy hunting groups, all Zimbabwe animal groups, could contact world elephant groups, world rhino groups, world big cat groups, could maybe find a interested journalist, lawyer, donor.

You already publish lists of charitable organisations and animal rights charities etc (

I do not suggest you promote any charities but simply produce a list and add extra information in a way that people can use it to search and cross reference.

And to be fair I would suggest you produce a complete list by providing information on all animal/ eco groups eg some Animal Conservation groups are pro-hunting. So add them to the list but answer about all groups Do you support/denounce trophy hunting?

The big picture is if this information were available and provided by an independent source like Wiki it could literally help people to change the world for the better.

Yours sincerely

Helen Timson

Much of this information is already available within individual articles. If you are proposing a wiki dedicated to this purpose (i.e., as you call it "WikiPlanet") then the correct place to make his suggestion is here. QuiteUnusual (talk) 14:55, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Hello Helen Timson, this page is for discussing rules and regulations, however, if you have a specific list in mind that is noteworthy, such as a list of noteworthy anti hunting groups, please go ahead and create the page in the same style as the list of animal rights groups you referenced, or if you think that is a bit difficult, try navigating through the "Community Portal" on the left hand side of the Wikipedia page to Requested Pages/Articles and follow the instructions. (to create a page your self you will have to make an account and log in, or you'll have to request someone to do it, which I can do if you have the list to hand, just ask my talk page, but items with lesser notability will be deleted form the list at random because that's just how Wikipedia is kept in trim)
Alternatively, if what you want to do is create a website with a wiki program on it, please refer to Mediawiki, which is the home site for the software this site runs on. This software is completely free for any purpose, and though somewhat complicated, it is well documented and updated and should become intuitive for you through use. In fact, many service internet providers who host websites will offer to pre install wiki software free and it can be edited to look however and contain whatever you want. Best of luck.. ~ R.T.G 02:29, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Create "hoax investigations"

I want to create "hoax investigations". I think it will reduce the length of the lifetime of Wikipedia hoaxes.--S/s/a/z-1/2 (talk) 08:19, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

We've already got WP:NPP. If they couldn't pick up on the fakery, how are you going to? Pound random and google every article? --erachima talk08:31, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
No. We won't do this for any article unless an editor believes that the article is a hoax. --S/s/a/z-1/2 (talk) 11:09, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, not seeing the value here. If you want to watch AfD for articles with suspected WP:V issues go ahead, but the lack of any proactive aspect to your plan means that it's definitionally incapable of "reducing the lifetime of Wikipedia hoaxes." --erachima talk 11:19, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
  • A new board does absolutely nothing without a new set of policies and procedures. A wikiproject, on the other hand, has a chance at some success by at least bringing together hoax-hunting editors to share strategies and coördinate investigations. VanIsaacWScont 18:17, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Locking topics without prose that are guarunteed not to change very often

If a list isn't going to change for a very long time, or some other lengthy information, like a list of international dialling codes, the full text of a constitution etc.. that information can be written into the mainspace on a blank article, and let's say the otherwise blank article is called "X", well if you put x in brackets thus {{X}} on a page called "Y", the contents of the page "X" will appear as though it had been edited into the source of page "Y", but in fact page x could be locked elsewhere requiring a request to edit, while any required accompanying text could still be edited on page "Y" normally.

I do not know what this proposal is called in concise terms so I do not know how to search for it in existing policy or proposals, but as regards this, if those people who thought the barcode had changed found that it wasn't possible to edit, they'd have gone to the talk page where they'd have received education and no edit warring on the main space would have occurred at all, so let's do thet. Yeah it's definitely good practice and if it already exists as policy please someone tell me that policy for some reference, thankyou ~ R.T.G 02:12, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Like the list on Inclosure_Act. Couldn't that list be locked with the creative aspect remaining open? Shouldn't the list be locked with the rest of the writing remaining open? Actually, the method is called transcluding the text and the, variable?, is {{:page x}} for "Page x" content to be transcluded.
The sort of edit warring this guideline would avoid peaks at the most critical times, i.e. when a rumour floats up. There could be a template for the talk page of a page which only function is to be transcluded into another page. ~ R.T.G 19:37, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

"Read Later" Feature for the Mobile Application

I've just discoverd the Village Pump, and I believe this to be a good place to voice my idea...

I read mobile wikipedia a lot for entertainment. Since the mobile application doesn't have tabs, I can't open links to other articles without leaving the one I was reading. This can be an issue when I'm reading a large article with links to other large articles which I wish to read (or need to read to understand the content of the current article) and soon enough I'm 12 articles deep and I can't remember which one I started on.

I was wondering, would it be possible to implement the ability for a user to long-press a link, have a drop down menu open with an option to "Read Later" (And maybe even have another Save Page option for easy access, along with the option in the corner dropdown menu) which would then save the link to a list, accessable from a menu similar to the Saved Pages?

It would differ from the Save Page option by not requiring the user to be on the specific article to be saved, and not download the content itself, only the link. It would be similar to the Watch Later playlists on youtube. Smortypi (talk) 18:06, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Hi Smortypi,
Thanks for posting this idea. I need to know how you are reading Wikipedia. Are you using your normal web browser on your mobile device, or are you using the Wikipedia mobile app? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:26, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm using the Wikipedia Mobile app for Android. I hope I'm doing all of this right. If not, you have my sincerest apologies. Smortypi (talk) 00:44, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
Maybe you could add them to your watchlist in the mean time ~ R.T.G 06:25, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
Sounds like a suitable workaround for me. Thanks for the idea. Smortypi (talk) 13:27, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Community desysop process

Why, yes, I do know how many times this has been proposed. And how many times it's failed. I'ma try anyway. User:Writ_Keeper/Community_desysop_process is where it's at. Comments/concerns/feedback welcome! (preferably on the talk page) Writ Keeper  20:57, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

It is hard to read due to very long paragraphs that cover more than one idea at a time. I am reading it though. Chillum 21:14, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
I never said I was a writer. Writ Keeper  21:19, 21 August 2014 (UTC)


Create a BOT to alphabetize and organize categories automatically

As someone who has been doing this manually for years, I hereby dutifully beg of anyone who is technically proficient and knows how to create and run a bot that will:

  1. Automatically sort all Categories on each article and category page alphabetically;
  2. Create a uniform system for where to place categories on each article and category page that commence with numbers, such as years of birth/death, centuries, and any category that starts with a number/numeral.

Please see the centralized discussion at Wikipedia:Bot requests/Archive 61#Create a BOT to alphabetize and organize categories automatically. Thank you, IZAK (talk) 09:16, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Discussion re-opened at VPP

Please see Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Create a BOT to alphabetize and organize categories automatically. Thank you, IZAK (talk) 22:51, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

Tech help required to improve categories

Please see Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#CatVisor and User:Paradoctor/CatVisor#Planned features if you are willing and able to assist this innovative WP project move along it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, IZAK (talk) 23:35, 12 August 2014 (UTC)


Please determine when died Pierre Ryckmans. Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:11, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

Try posting your request at Talk:Pierre Ryckmans. Good luck! GoingBatty (talk) 03:14, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

Request for Noratelimit Rights

I often write for Wikimedia Foundation blogs about various language Wikipedia communities, e.g. Punjabi Wikipedia, Esperanto Wikipedia, Sanskrit Wikipedia, Urdu Wikipedia, etc. In this connection, I need to send Wiki-mails to a number of respondents. As expected, I get only a handful of responses from the total number of recipients. While I respect the right of individual Wikipedians to respond or not to do so, and I do not complain about non-responding persons, I request help me in overcoming the daily mail-sending limit from English Wikipedia as I AM NOT SENDING ANY SPAM. I only conduct surveys which showcase Wikipedia communities.

I am asking this help here because take the case of my writeups on Esperanto or Punjabi Wikipedia. Whatever I've written is a onetime activity. I need not be requiring send emails again to the same Wikipedia members UNLESS I'VE GOT A GOOD REASON FOR IT. English Wikipedia is unique because my work extends research across many Wikis and at least some of the Wikipedians of other languages have handful of edits on English Wikipedia in addition to their language Wikipedia. Therefore easy contacts thru Wiki-mail can be done over here. --Muzammil (talk) 12:42, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

@Hindustanilanguage: This is the wrong venue to request additional WP:RIGHTS. The "noratelimit" permission is not given alone, but normally bundled with others. These bundles are: bot (request at WP:BRFA); administrator (request at WP:RFA); bureaucrat (request at WP:RFB); account creator (request at WP:PERM/ACC); and global rollbacker (request at m:SRGP). --Redrose64 (talk) 16:36, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
@Redrose64:Isn't Mass message sender Wikipedia:Mass message senders the relevant permission?--S Philbrick(Talk) 18:58, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Hindustanilanguage asked for the noratelimit right. This is not available as a selection at Special:UserRights/Hindustanilanguage; and is not listed as included with mass message sender at either WP:RIGHTS or Special:ListGroupRights. --Redrose64 (talk) 19:08, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Sorry if I wasn't clear. OP asked for noratelimit, but explained it on the basis of wanting to send a lot of messages. Isn't that what Mass message sender allows? In other words, I'm suggesting OP asked for the wrong thing, but I know you know this place better than I do, so if I misunderstood, I'll shut up.--S Philbrick(Talk) 19:20, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't think that the mass message sender right has anything to do with sending emails. The rate at which a user can send emails is restricted, unless they have the noratelimit bit (see mw:Manual:Edit throttling). --Redrose64 (talk) 22:48, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Original research on talk pages

I was always under the assumption that WP:NOR applied just to article content but that there was freedom to discuss other stuff on talk pages. I was quite surprised when a section I had started was put in a collapsible box labled WP:FORUM, WP:NOR. I am really just curious about the rules but if you want a look the discussion is at: Talk:Antisemitism#Identity. thanks chaps Gregkaye (talk) 01:33, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

sorry to have bothered you. WP:NOR States: (This policy of no original research does not apply to talk pages.) Gregkaye (talk) 06:10, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
WP:NOTBLOG, however, definitely does. --erachima talk 06:43, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
Yes we can venture into original research on talk pages... within reason. The key is that the discussion should directly relate to editing and improving the article (which is what talk pages are for). Blueboar (talk) 12:03, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Pictures of letters at Kharosthi

The list of letters of Kharosthi shows up as nothing but boxes (this is true of all of them.) Can anyone replace the characters that show up as boxes to make them images of the letters?? Georgia guy (talk) 18:19, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

This is called tofu, and whether you see tofu or the proper characters varies greatly, influenced by: your operating system; the fonts that you have installed; the browser that you use; and personal customisation of Wikipedia. Replacing text with images is not a good idea for accessibility reasons. --Redrose64 (talk) 20:26, 20 August 2014 (UTC)